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The Cancer at UC Irvine




Gary Fouse
fousesquawk

This article first appeared in Times of Israel Blogs.


Recently, we reported on the latest BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) resolution that was passed by the student senate at UC Irvine, where I taught part-time 1998-2016. The resolution against Israel passed, and the university quickly issued a statement that they would not abide by it. The damage is that these resolutions, which go on all over the nation in our universities, only direct more negative attention to Jewish students and increase anti-Semitism. Jews are perceived as universally supporting the Jewish state of Israel, which in reality, is not true. Most American Jews support Israel, but some do not. Some even join forces with those who want to destroy the Jewish state. That is the true aim of BDS.

Richard Cravatts, former president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, has also taken note of the latest out of UCI and has written about it in Frontpage Magazine. I am cross-posting it below.

https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/02/malignant-tradition-uc-irvines-hate-israel-richard-l-cravatts/

Sadly, UCI has acquired a reputation as a hotbed of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic agitation, largely due to the annual anti-Israel week of events every May. Over the last two decades, I have attended many of those events in order to document them, videotape them, and directly question the speakers. I can tell you, I have seen and heard a lot of vicious people speak at these events. 

As I have always said, 99% of the students at UCI are not involved in this ugliness, but those who are have all but destroyed the reputation of what should otherwise be considered a great university. I blame the administrators at UCI (and the entire UC system) for their weakness in allowing this problem to fester and grow.

In 2015-16, I was active with the Amcha Initiative and others in lobbying the UC Regents to draw up a suitable statement of principles against intolerance that specifically addressed anti-Semitism, as opposed to simply condemning all forms of hate. After all, it was anti-Semitism on campus that was the reason a revised statement of principles was under consideration. In 2016, the UC Regents finalized a statement that included such language. 

https://garyfouse.blogspot.com/2017/06/jewish-organizations-to-uci-chancellor.html

Unfortunately, it has proved to be nothing more than a scrap of paper that UCI can stick in the files of their Office of Inclusive Excellence and show the public that everything is just fine. But since that paper was finalized, UCI has continued to see anti-Zionist weeks every May (at least until the Covid crisis hit), and speakers like Hussam Ayloush (CEO of CAIR in S. California), Rabab Abdulhadi, (professor at San Francisco State University) and Zahra Billoo (CEO of CAIR in No. California) come to campus to spread their poison. Some progress.

Now we have another dangerous ingredient being added to the poisonous cocktail. Thanks to the latest academic creation-intersectionality- all ills of the world can be linked to Israel including the grievances of BLM. If George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis cops, it was partially Israel's fault because they trained that department and taught them the tactic of kneeling on a black suspect's neck-or something like that. And don't think the connection hasn't been made by those who ingest this propaganda. Last May, BLM rioters rampaged through the Fairfax district of Los Angeles, attacking synagogues and yelling curses at Jews from their car windows. It was a pogrom though nobody would admit it. One would think that after such an event, activists might realize that stoking hatred against Jews was a dangerous idea. Not the pro-Palestinian crowd, however. It's full steam ahead, and if they can convince American blacks that the Jewish state of Israel is their enemy too, so what if a few American Jews get beat up?

Shame on the pro-Palestinian movement for stirring up this kind of hate toward American Jews with their lies. And shame on our universities for allowing this treatment of its Jewish students. When I first got involved in this issue at UCI back around 2007, I learned that our university campuses were the focal point for the resurgence in anti-Semitism in the US. Rather than seeing it nipped in the bud, it has metastasized to society as a whole. The only positive aspect is that the issue of anti-Semitism can no longer be denied or swept under the rug. It is there for all to see. And UCI has played a role.

Anti-Semitism: Review of Book Review



Gary Fouse
fousesquawk
http://garyfouse.blogspot.com


I am cross-posting an article by Robert Shrimsley in the Financial Times of London. It is a discussion of modern-day anti-Semitism in reviewing two books on the topic. The two books Shrismley reviews are, "Jews Don't Count" by David Baddiel and "Anti-Semitism Re-visited-How the Rabbis Made Sense of Hatred" by Delphine Horvilleur. 

I have cut and pasted the entire text, which I received from The Israel Group. If you go to the original source, the Financial Times of London, the link to the article requires a subscription to view the entire article. 

I have chosen this article because it makes a very salient point that we must recognize if we are to fight today's strain of anti-Semitism. In the United States, at least, Jews are handicapped by the perception that they are uniformly white-and privileged, in fact, more privileged than most.  In truth, Jews come in many shades of color. In addition, the reviewer correctly points out that it is the left that has chosen to turn a blind eye to the problem.

On the other hand, you will see from the below review that there is scant attention paid to the actual purveyors of today's form of anti-Semitism.

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By Robert Shrimsley | Financial Times of London

Why do people never refer to the “Y-word” in place of the offensive “yid”? Why, when the BBC recently broadcast a reading of TS Eliot’s poetry did it read out the famously and staggeringly racist lines from “Burbank with a Baedeker” when it is inconceivable that it would regurgitate similar abuse of any other minority, even in the name of art?

Why are Jews excluded from diversity or ethnic minority monitoring? Yes, Judaism is categorized as a religion but there is no anti-Semite in history who viewed atheism as grounds for exemption from persecution. How, with the Holocaust still a living memory, do so many on the left feel content to dismiss the fears of one of the most persecuted peoples in history, to regard anti-Semitism as something that matters less than other prejudice, a sort of second-degree offense?

Underlying all these questions is a simpler point and a deeper hurt. Anti-Semitism is on the rise and yet political progressives, the people who ought to be allies and who normally stress the need to listen to the experience of other minorities, seem to suspend those rules when those voices are Jewish. Why is it, as writer and comedian David Baddiel asks in his short polemic, that Jews Don’t Count?

This book is not aimed at witting anti-Semites or at those who are indifferent. It is aimed squarely at people who think of themselves as progressive but seem to have a blind spot when it comes to casual or not-so-casual anti-Semitism. It is a deceptively easy read, the underlying seriousness lightened by personal stories and regular flashes of Baddiel's wit.

Baddiel’s is one of two short new books on modern anti-Semitism. French rabbi Delphine Horvilleur has also tackled the issue and from the perspective of a country where its manifestations have been more vicious and deadly. Her ruminations, while interesting, are too rabbinical, too much like a sermon. But there is one core nugget. The prejudice, she argues in Anti-Semitism Revisited, lies in the view that “Jews are a bit too much the same and a bit too different”. Both too keen to fit in and insufficiently assimilated.

British Jews, stung especially by the rows over anti-Semitism in the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn, will read Baddiel’s book with a combination of recognition and despair. Since Labour’s issues, people have been paying more attention. But, given the upsurge of abuse and violence, the shock has been how loud Jews had to shout for the issue to be addressed and how many people were content to shrug their shoulders at the problem.

The author’s question is less about why anti-Semitism exists than why good people care less about it. And here he is in similar territory to Horvilleur’s. The key is that Jews are not seen as underprivileged or marginalised. They are caricatured as rich capitalists. They are also “too white” for campaigners. This means they are beyond the interest of social justice activists who see racism as a class construct, one in which you need to be economically or socially disadvantaged. For progressives, he writes, “no victory is claimed by championing their experience, and this leads to a subtle — and unconscious — exclusion.” The mission of fighting racism has been repurposed to suit the other political causes of campaigners rather than the needs of its victims.

To this point, Baddiel brings up the concept of “Schrodinger’s Whites”. Jews are both white and not white. Since most pass for Caucasian and are “rich”, they enjoy white privilege. If only someone had remembered to share this insight with white supremacists.

While most victims of racism are looked down upon as lesser people, Jews are both looked down upon but also portrayed as part of a sinister, wealthy, powerful force, an enemy within. This was the rhetoric that paved the way to Auschwitz. But the bias also informs the progressive blind spot. Jews are powerful; they don’t need defending. And some on the far-left even buy into the conspiracy theories.

And this is the most tone-deaf part of the issue, because the peculiar nature of anti-Semitism means that status counts for little. With the Holocaust, the key reference point for the modern fear of anti-Semitism, Jews see that the success, integration and respected place in society of many German Jews did not save them and was even used against them.

Wrapped into this, of course, is anger at Israel, a poster cause for the left. But on this Baddiel, no supporter of Israel, has a simple riposte. The issue of Palestine offers no justification for anti-Semitism in Britain and a good cause does not legitimise racism.

Not all his arguments land. He asks why many who would complain if a film does not cast a trans actor in a trans role (or a white actor in a black or Asian role) think nothing of non-Jew in a Jewish role, even if it is played as a cartoonish stereotype (something he describes as “jewface”). He admits that he does not believe Jews must always be portrayed by Jews. But you have to pick your fights and other groups do struggle harder for on-screen representation. It is the double-standard that troubles him. Likewise in the debate on Eliot’s poetry, there is an argument to be had about censoring literature but it is reasonable to wish for a level playing field.

A criticism will be that this is special pleading by a community whose concerns are far from ignored. One can also argue that recognising a hierarchy of urgency is not the same as having a hierarchy of racisms. Some issues are more pressing. In over five decades in London I have only once been stopped by the police without any reason; this is not the average black experience. But Baddiel acknowledges this, both supporting the focus on Black Lives Matter and noting that at different moments in history some struggles should and will move to the forefront. His appeal is only for equal awareness.

I am not a neutral but this pithy, wry book ought to leave one raging that the accepted nostrums of anti-racism are simply discarded for one of the most persecuted peoples in history.

The one worry is that this will be read mainly by Jews and not by those who need to read it. It should be essential reading for progressives, self-proclaimed anti-racists, and those offering diversity and awareness courses. If it is, then Baddiel will have done a sterling service. If it isn’t, he will have the grim satisfaction of having been proved right.

Jews Don’t Count, by David Baddiel, William Collins, RRP£9.99, 144 pages

Anti-Semitism Revisited: How the Rabbis Made Sense of Hatred, by Delphine Horvilleur, translated by David Bellos, MacLehose Press, RRP£12.99, 140 pages

Robert Shrimsley is the FT’s UK chief political commentator

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In the interest of full disclosure, I have read neither book, so I cannot say that the two respective authors have failed to identify the perpetrators. (As Shrimsley points out, Baddiel is no friend of Israel.) But if I have one critique of the review, it would be for what it doesn't say. Like so many discussions of anti-Semitism today, it fails to go into detail as to who the biggest perpetrators are. In my view, this new form of anti-Semitism has taken root on college campuses, thanks to the pro-Palestinian movement against Israel, which is quite well organized. From there, it has metastasized into mainstream society. While there is a reference to the anti-Israel movement, it fails to point out that most anti-Semitism today comes from Islamic quarters. That is, at least, my opinion.

Why do I say that? After all, we have the historical example of the Third Reich, and we do have a tiny percentage of people in Europe and the US who consider themselves neo-Nazis. They are certainly to be confronted and condemned, but in my view, they are not the main problem today. I still believe that today's anti-Semitism is largely, if not mostly driven by the pro-Palestinian movement, which is largely Islamic, both in the Middle East and the West.

If you look on our college campuses, the anti-Israel movement (which is huge) is mostly driven by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the various campus chapters of the Muslim Student Association (MSA). The main difference between these two organizations, which work hand-in-glove, is that SJP has some members who are non-Muslims, and that the MSA is involved in other issues, such as promoting Islam and other religious activities. However, the SJP was co-founded by Hatem Bazian, a Palestinian Muslim, who also co-founded American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), which is a funding arm of SJP.

They all deny they are anti-Semitic, but they have also been guilty of using classical anti-Jewish tropes in making their case against Israel and those who support the Jewish state.

While European universities are also hotbeds of anti-Israel activity, European Jews face another immediate problem. The wave of Muslim immigration-migration into Europe has literally made the streets unsafe for Jews-and to a slightly lesser extent, everybody else. These migrants, mostly uneducated, bring with them a hatred of Jews based on their Islamic teachings. This is not to condemn all Muslims as Jew-haters, but anti-Jewish feeling (as well as anti-Christian feeling) is deeply embedded in Islamic teaching.

Shrimsley also refers briefly to Black Lives Matter (BLM), which as an organization, supports the Palestinian cause. Just as with Muslims, the left and academia want no part of any discussion as to BLM or the fact that the African-American community- just like the white community- has its share of  anti-Semitism. Are all black Americans anti-Jewish? Hardly, but to the extent some are, it should be discussed openly just as we do with white anti-Semites.

In one sense, I am gratified that the topic of anti-Semitism is rising to the fore of public consciousness. On the other hand, what good does it do to condemn anti-Semitism if you don't name the perpetrators-or you assign the blame solely to one sub-group of the anti-Semites?