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.