Sunday, March 29, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Stop whitewashing anti-Semitism

TomEliasW

By
From page A10 | December 27, 2013 |

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 [email protected]

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

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

  • .

    News

    Where do Davis recyclables go?

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    UCD faculty receive lowest pay in the system

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1

    Motive for murder-suicide remains a mystery

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Davis sewage to get new digs

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Human Relations Commission hosts Chávez celebration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

     
     
    Davis Flower Arrangers meet Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    ‘Music as Medicine’ is radio show topic

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Friendship the topic on radio program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Forum

    Some ‘survey’ …

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    These results were meaningless

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Survey not representative

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Answers on the green waste program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    A phone call could have fixed this

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    Milt Prigee cartoon

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Mayor’s corner: Looking ahead to spring

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: B5 | Gallery

     
    A Little Respect for Dr. Foster

    By Nicholas Kristof | From Page: B5

    Universities need more funding

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Father of the bride snubbed

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Which experiences count as ‘once in a lifetime’?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A8

     
    After a month of no TV news, I’m feeling much better

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A8

    Take a hike for your heart

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Sports

    Aggie softball splits doubleheader

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Republic stun Galaxy with repeated history

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Bad fourth quarter sinks boys lacrosse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Aggies’ walkoff win clinches series against Riverside

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Burns scores shootout winner to lift Sharks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    UCD roundup: Aggie women’s tennis dominates at home

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B10 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Millennials are changing our community

    By Rob White | From Page: A9

     
    With new owner, DAC will Get Fit

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Grant writing for non-profits workshop set

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, March 29, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8