Guest opinion

By ARI POLSKY
Fourth-year, art studio major
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are rights that are supposedly God-given and also government-protected according to the Declaration of Independence. In America, we are granted a whole lot of rights, among them the freedom of speech, which the law holds is no longer guaranteed when it incites violence or prohibits the free speech of others.

Where am I going with all of this?

Based on the speech of certain members of the student body, Jewish students at UC Davis do not feel comfortable or safe. I have seen some of the comments, rhetoric and posts in the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Facebook group. On many occasions, their language strayed from relevant political conversation to flat out anti-Semitism.

I do not believe that all members of SJP are anti-Semitic, but I believe there are members of the group that ruin the reputation for the rest. However, this rhetoric, no matter how much of an outlier it may be, is nevertheless unacceptable and unforgivable.

At UC Berkeley a student sued the school for standing idly while anti-Semitism grew on campus. The student was a leader in a pro-Israel group on campus — and the head of the Berkeley’s SJP group physically attacked that student. In my four years at Davis, I have personally seen swastikas that were drawn on campus and an Occupy protester featuring a blatantly anti-Semitic placard equating Jews with the Devil.

If we look back to the on-campus Israel Soldiers Speak, we see clearly the anti-Semitism exhibited on campus. One student who was more radical than the rest (and later apologized in The Aggie) shouted phrases at the presenters such as, “Rapist! Molesters!” and other epithets. Those are reminiscent of things seen in 1940s Nazi propagandist tabloids like Der Sturmer.

Last March, another thread was started on the SJP Facebook group regarding the name of a Jewish professor who attended the StandWithUs event. Many of the comments about the last name were stereotypical, associated with bad Jewish jokes, even calling a professor “Shitstein.” Further, Jewish professors are linked to “the one percent.”

These are stereotypical Jews-running-the-world comments that are offensive and inaccurate. And now the latest — a rally yesterday that the Davis Enterprise describes as having started as a “one year since the pepper spray” event that evolved into an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic event.

In regards to a student filming and Israeli students, The Aggie reported, “Members of the crowd then confronted her and two neighboring Israeli students, yelling ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Fuck Israel’ until they left.”  The article also reports threats of violence to those dissenting with the protestors.  By chanting “Davis to Gaza long live the intifada” the protesters are inherently endorsing campaigns of violence and terror.

I wonder how the administration has continuously ignored Jewish students’ feelings of unease on campus when blatant anti-Semitism is alive on a UC campus in 2012. The motto of the University of California is “Fiat Lux,” the ancient Biblical line, “Let There Be Light,” as in Enlightenment.  It is a shame that a university these days — the university to which I paid thousands in tuition and fees every year — seems to be living in the same dark age as “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

It is time the University administration do something, and do it quickly.  This is not an atmosphere that can continue, and Chancellor Katehi and her vice chancellors need to take notice of this problem and do something about it.

The tension is there, and the hate is boiling beneath the surface.  I fear one day, without it being kept in check by cooler heads, it will rise to the surface and create a huge divide on campus. The key to this issue is education and understanding. Through education and understanding we will all be able to live together, so that we all may enjoy our life, liberty and happiness.

2 Comments

  • Arafat
    November 27, 2012

    Why are liberals so attracted to fascists and their evil causes?

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^

    ‘The only religion I respect is Islam. The only prophet I admire is the Prophet Muhammad.’ — Adolf Hitler

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