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Anti-Semitism at UCI?

[ 19 ] September 23, 2010 |

A commenter emailed and requested I write something about Kenneth Marcus’s article on anti-Semitism at UCI. It opens:

During the first years of the 21st century, the virus of anti-Semitism was unleashed with a vengeance in Irvine, California. There, on the campus of the University of California at Irvine, Jewish students were physically and verbally harassed, threatened, shoved, stalked, and targeted by rock-throwing groups and individuals. Jewish property was defaced with swastikas, and a Holocaust memorial was vandalized. Signs were posted on campus showing a Star of David dripping with blood. Jews were chastised for arrogance by public speakers whose appearance at the institution was subsidized by the university. They were called “dirty Jew” and “fucking Jew,” told to “go back to Russia” and “burn in hell,” and heard other students and visitors to the campus urge one another to “slaughter the Jews.” One Jewish student who wore a pin bearing the flags of the United States and Israel was told to “take off that pin or we’ll beat your ass.” Another was told, “Jewish students are the plague of mankind” and “Jews should be finished off in the ovens.”

As someone who lived and worked on campus during “the first years of the 21st century,” I find it strange that I don’t remember being “physically and verbally harassed, threatened, shoved, stalked, [or] targeted by rock-throwing groups.” I must have taken a blow to the head—that, or the “virus of anti-Semitism [that] was unleashed with a vengeance” wasn’t quite as virulent or vengeful as Marcus claims. Admittedly, I’m generally of the opinion that Orange County Jews aren’t good for the Jews, but I’m particularly irked by Hillel and Anteaters for Israel for the simple reason that they’re the Rex Kramer of student organizations:

That’s not to say the Muslim Student Union owns the moral high ground, as all involved have been hurling chum at each other for as long as I’ve been at Irvine. The key words here are “all involved,” because contrary to Marcus’s article, “all involved” refers not to “Jewish students,” but vocal members of Hillel and Anteaters for Israel who either deliberately provoke or are deliberately provoked by members of the Muslim Student Union. Of course, Marcus declines to state that the obverse is also true: “all involved” refers not to “Muslim students,” but vocal members of the Muslim Student Union who either deliberately provoke or are deliberately provoked by members of Hillel and Anteaters for Israel. The university does not “foster a hostile environment for Jewish students,” but it does allow Jewish students to stand in front of the library and create a hostile environment all on their lonesome.

For example, when I sported a beard last winter, a member of Hillel in the middle of an argument with a Muslim student pointed at me and asked if I supported the “racist statement” my “Muslim brother” had made. As I had no idea what my “Muslim brother” had said—my deafness when walking on campus is the stuff of legend—I politely informed her that I was Jewish, which prompted her to swing a finger at the Muslim student and demand I partake of her outrage. The Muslim student looked unfazed, which is when it dawned on me that these two had probably been doing this dance all day, all quarter, all academic year. The same “student mentors” bring the same Holocaust and counter-Holocaust walls to campus every year, meaning these professional provocateurs have to coordinate their plans to foment discord among an otherwise apathetic student body. I imagine it starts something like this:

ABBAS: I want to hate the last week of November.  Are you free then?

FYVUSH: Let me check calendar. (leans back in his chair) ESTHER! ESTHER! CAN WE MAKE TO HATE IN NOVEMBER?

ESTHER: (offstage left) NOVEMBER WHEN!

FYVUSH: ABBAS PREFERS THE LAST WEEK!

ESTHER: TELL ABBAS I SAY HELLO!

FYVUSH: ESTHER SAYS HELLO!

ESTHER: DID YOU TELL HIM I SAID HELLO!

FYVUSH: I DID!

Something like that.

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  • Greg

    Scott, clearly you just weren’t paying attention when I was stalking you or maybe I’m just a bad thrower when my rocks didn’t hit you. Being an anti-semite, of course, I blame this on you.

    Kidding of course! I was on the leafy lawns of Middle Earth during ’98~whenever it was that I graduated, and while I never spent all that much time on campus, I certainly didn’t feel that there was an anti-semitic wave of marauding rock thrower and stalkers. Our fine campus had/have many problems but I didn’t feel anti-semites were. That said, I am Taiwanese and of course fit in with the large swath of asians rolling around campus.

    • SEK

      Scott, clearly you just weren’t paying attention when I was stalking you or maybe I’m just a bad thrower when my rocks didn’t hit you.

      I’d be tremendously impressed had you been able to hit me in Louisiana with a rock you launched in Irvine. (I didn’t arrive until 2001.)

      • Greg

        There you go ruining my perfectly awesome fantasy with your dose of reality.

        • SEK

          After reading and writing about conservative sites for this long, ruining perfectly awesome fantasies is basically a reflex.

  • Luis

    Speaking both as a guy (a goy) who attends shul (Reform, natch) every so often and as a guy (non-Muslim) who used to hang out with the MSA on a different UC campus … it definitely takes two. One of my best worst memories involves a “Palestinian Holocaust” wall (not its actual title) and an impromptu counterdemonstration. I remember the horrified look on one of the MSA guys’ faces when he realized he had been about to strike his interlocutor. Oy gevalt.

    “CAN WE MAKE TO HATE IN NOVEMBER?” I laughed ’til I cried. That was pure beauty.

    • SEK

      One of my best worst memories involves a “Palestinian Holocaust” wall (not its actual title)

      You’re mistaken: that is its actual name. (That was the counter-Holocaust wall I mentioned in the post.)

      “CAN WE MAKE TO HATE IN NOVEMBER?” I laughed ’til I cried. That was pure beauty.

      I love writing in the voices of my paternal grandparents. There’s a beauty to their terrible command of English grammar, not to mention their lovely Yinglish. For years I thought “nextdorker” was an insult, and I still think it sounds like one.

  • Anonymous

    You must be making good on your promise not to mock the Donalde, because he linked to the Marcus and said:

    “At UCI especially, and the failure of the U.S. Civil Rights regime to protect Jewish students for genocidal discrimination.”

    I’m not sure what “genocidal discrimination” is, nor why the government needs to “protect Jewish students FOR” it, but there you go.

    • elm

      Well, clearly Donalde means that the government must protect Jewish students from minor anti-semitic attacks so that when Obama the Muslim starts the complete genocide of Jews, there will be more of us to slaughter. (I think I’m being satirical, but I do fully realize that it can be hard to satirize people like Donalde. There’s a non-zero chance that’s exactly what he means.)

    • DocAmazing

      I’m waiting for a pro-settler organization honest enough to call itself “Jewish Students for Genocidal Discrimination”.

    • SEK

      Here’s the link, if anyone’s interested in reading it but doesn’t want to spend too long on the Donalde’s Firefox-crashing, Chrome-memory-hogging site. (I honestly believe that were it 1997, the Donalde’s site would be festooned with animated Gifs of pixelated ladies twirling American flags. The man’s just damn tacky.)

  • grouchomarxist

    Extra points for the Kentucky Fried Movie clip!

  • hv

    FYVUSH: ESTHER SAYS HELLO!

    FYVUSH: Esther says hello!

    Fixed that for you. (He’s not yelling that to her, he’s saying it to Abbas.)

    • It’s actually funnier if he yells it into the phone…

      • hv

        Nah, cause then Esther’s next line doesn’t make sense. Surely she heard him say hello to Abbas if she heard the other remarks that were also yelled.

    • SEK

      Fixed that for you.

      You don’t know many old Jews, do you?

      • hv

        On the contrary, I don’t know any young Jews.

        If you are trying for old Jews, Fyvush surely has a reply to Esther’s redundant inquiry that is peevish, irascible, and a tiny bit irritated or impatient… but underneath affectionate and ultimately charming.

        In short, you forgot Fyvush’s punchline.

        • SEK

          Love you hv, mad props, etc., but I’m gonna have to pull rank here. I know how my people yell, inappropriately and/or otherwise/regularly, and I assure you, that knowledge is accurately represented in the above.

          • hv

            Oops, I got crossed up and thought I was replying to Farley about what would be funnier. I was thinking about it when I was away from the comp, always dangerous. :) Of course, I am quite willing defer to you with respect to accuracy.

  • Halloween Jack

    Reminds me of my undergraduate days. I lived in the dorm that housed the international students, among which were some Iranians, and this was the early eighties, when memory of the hostage crisis was still strong. I didn’t have anything against the students themselves, but still resented what their government had done (or their fellow students in Iran, if you prefer), because it had gotten Reagan elected, plus taking people hostage is bad, mmmkay?

    So, every year they have this international student fair, and along with samples of their national cuisine (I forget what the Iranians made, but it was good), the students from each country put out pamphlets, costumes etc. from their nation, do the whole It’s A Small World After All thing. The Iranian students’ presentation didn’t have anything to do with the recent unpleasantness, but rather about some kerfluffle that they’d been having with their next-door neighbor, Iraq, complete with gruesome pictures of civilians that had been gassed. I didn’t say anything out loud, but was inwardly skeptical, if not dismissive, because not only was the whole hostage thing still fresh in my mind, but also it was obvious that it was the product of someone other than these undergrads with their shaky English skills–an Iranian propaganda machine, if you will.

    What I didn’t realize was that I was under the sway of my own government’s propaganda machine, which was not only aiding Saddam Hussein directly (with knowledge of his use of chemical weapons) but also, of course, negotiating to sell arms to Iran under the table in order to finance their Contra operations in Central America. This eventually came out, of course, the former in the run-up to the first Gulf War, although the undergrads at another institution that I was working at at the time weren’t persuaded by my relating the above as a way of illustrating the idea that maybe they should take the whole we-have-always-been-at-war-with-Eurasia thing with a grain of salt. Nor, of course, did it work ten years after that.