Wednesday, April 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Stop whitewashing anti-Semitism

TomEliasW

By
From page A10 | December 27, 2013 | 5 Comments

Less than two years ago, Palestinian students and sympathizers on the University of California’s flagship Berkeley campus dressed up in combat fatigues, “armed” themselves with genuine-looking mock firearms and set up “checkpoints” where they demanded that students attempting to pass tell them if they were Jewish.

There was no immediate outcry on campus, nor any response from administrators or campus police, as there surely would have been if students set up similar “checkpoints” to determine whether students with dark complexions are really African-Americans or whether students conversing in Spanish are undocumented immigrants.

When Jewish groups later sought a court order against similar demonstrations in the future, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg of San Francisco said any attempt to ban them would “raise serious First Amendment issues.”

So, he implied, campuses can ban “hate speech” like the N-word and anti-gay smears, but outright physical intimidation of Jewish students and impinging on their walking space are OK.

In August of this year, both the U.S. Department of Education and the Berkeley administration exonerated the demonstrators of anti-Semitism charges, and found that two other incidents to which Jewish students objected on the UC campuses at Irvine and Santa Cruz also were just fine.

At the time, the Amcha Initiative (Amcha is Hebrew for “your people”) against campus anti-Semitism and other Jewish groups warned that these decisions might lead to an escalation. The whitewashings may not have condoned campus anti-Semitism, but they certainly promised to enable it.

This appeared to come true in November at San Francisco State University, where a student group called the General Union of Palestinian Students set up tables in Malcolm X Plaza featuring messages like this: “My heroes have always killed colonizers.”

Later, Amcha uncovered a since-removed picture on the Tumblr website allegedly posted by the president of the Palestinian student group, showing him brandishing a knife, with the caption saying, “I seriously cannot get over how much I love this blade. It is the sharpest thing I own and cuts through everything like butter and just holding it makes me want to stab an Israeli soldier …”

Palestinian student groups say they differentiate between Israelis and Jews, but most Jews are skeptical of that claim. Key Palestinian groups like Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and won the last major Palestinian election, make no such distinction. Says that group’s covenant, “Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious.”

And the mufti of the Palestinian Authority has issued a fatwa forbidding sale of land to Jews (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_the_Palestinian_territories). So it’s no wonder many Jewish students feel targeted when Palestinians refer to killing “colonizers” or knifing Israelis.

University officials who may believe Jews have little reason to feel this way and that such references are constitutionally protected free speech might want to look at some once-popular Nazi German anthems that also referred to knifing Jews.

“Sharpen the long knives on the pavement, let the knives slip into the Jew’s body,” goes the lead verse of “Blood Must Flow,” theme song of the S.A. (full name in German: Sturmabteilung, or Assault Division), Adolf Hitler’s notorious “Brownshirts.” “When Jewish blood spurts off the knife, things will be twice as good,” says the “Fighting Song of the S.A.,” another Brownshirt anthem.

To his credit, when San Francisco State’s president, Les Wong, heard of the Palestinian group’s words, he issued a statement saying, “The university is a place where dialogue, debate and the marketplace of ideas are cherished. We must also maintain a safe environment. Engaging in expressions that threaten and intimidate are counter to these goals…”

If Berkeley officials had reacted similarly to the Palestinian mock checkpoints, the San Francisco State incidents might never have occurred. But unless Wong follows through, preventing a repeat, and officials of other campuses react as strongly, there will be more intimidating demonstrations and Web postings.

And soon they may not merely target Jewish students. Example: An investigation is now underway of an alleged anti-black hate crime at San Jose State. Jews have long been like a canary in a coal mine: They are often the first targets in waves of discrimination and hate, but those waves almost always wind up washing over plenty of others.

— Reach syndicated columnist Tom Elias at tdelias@aol.com

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 5 comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Jim LeonardDecember 27, 2013 - 9:09 am

    Lumping everybody together is what non thinking people do. All blond women are bimbos, right? On the other hand, Israel is behaving horribly these days and needs to be called out for it--as many responsible Jewish people, among others, have pointed out. Love the right people, Jewish, blond women, or Palestinians and stop with lumping all members of any particular group together. Judge people by their actions, not their associations or their labels.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Noreen MazelisDecember 27, 2013 - 1:17 pm

    ISRAEL is "behaving badly"? Not Hamas or (what's left of) the PLO. Oh, never.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The observerDecember 27, 2013 - 1:30 pm

    Sadly, unlike Les Wong, most university administrators are spineless cowards, bowing down to political correctness.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • greg johnsonDecember 27, 2013 - 7:25 pm

    Sorry Tom, but it is not in vogue to stand up for Isreal anymore. I personally am rather neutral on the subject because both sides have legitimate beefs and I admittedly am no expert. However, it is clear to me that support for Isreal is passe, and not what cool people do anymore. On the other hand, sensitivity to Islamic radicals is very popular. If Christians and conservatives could get such a fair shake from the left, it would truly be a miracle.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • zabaJanuary 05, 2014 - 12:38 pm

    Good luck Greg. Perhaps they'll come for you last. muzlim aggression is 1400 years old and includes 270 million deaths. Educate yourself. thereligionofpeace.com

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    UC Davis biodigester hungers for food scraps

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
    Council votes to look at reducing water bills

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    New mosaic mural reflects Peña family history

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Penalty decision looms in Winters homicide case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Hay bales burn east of Davis

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Woman killed by train ID’d

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Pro-Russian insurgents hold journalist captive

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Bible fun featured at Parents’ Night Out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Davis businesswoman presides over conference

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Birch Lane sells garden plants, veggies

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Team Blend hosts fundraiser for Nicaragua project

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

    Davis Arts Center: See ceramics, join the Big Day of Giving

    By Erie Vitiello | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Fire damages Woodland home

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

    Register to vote by May 19

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sign up for enviro organizations during Earth Week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sunder hosts campaign event for kids

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Church hosts discussion of mental health needs, services

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    UCD to host premiere of autism documentary

    By Cory Golden | From Page: A4

    UFC hears from two local historians

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Fundraiser benefits Oakley campaign

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Fire crews gather for joint training

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Odd Fellows host culinary benefit for nonprofit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    400 bikes go up for bids at UCD auction

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    UCD professor to talk about new book

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Fly Fishers talk to focus on healthy streams, rivers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Train to become a weather spotter

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Learn survival skills at Cache Creek Preserve

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Veterans, internees may receive overdue diplomas

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    UC Davis conference showcases undergraduate research

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Conservation District celebrates its stewardship efforts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Slow Food tour showcases area’s young farmers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Forum

    Even a safe house needs boundaries

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    My votes reflect city values

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    A plea on the Bard’s birthday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    I support Sunder for board

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Will anyone notice?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Davis gets to Grant ace and rolls in DVC crucial

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Walchli is under par in another Devil victory

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Seniors send Blue Devil girls past Broncos in a lacrosse rout

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS thunders back to win an epic DVC volleyball match

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    DHS/Franklin I goes to the Blue Devil softballers

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
     
    Baseball roundup: Rangers rally to beat A’s in the ninth

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Sharks go up 3-0 with OT win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    Field to fork: El Macero’s chef offers spring tastes

    By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

     
    Five Three Oh! featured at April Performers’ Circle

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Celebrate spring at I-House on Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Music, wine flow at Fourth Friday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Biscuits ‘n Honey will play at winery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Catharine ‘Kay’ Lathrop

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6