Tuesday, March 01, 2016

3 Examples Of The Growing Trend To Label Stories Of Campus Antisemtism As "Crying Wolf"

There seems to be a new trend developing in the face of the growing incidents of antisemitism reported on college campuses -- outright denial along with claims that such reports are mere exaggeration.

Take Vassar for example, where the president of Vassar, Catharine Hill claims social media misrepresents tensions as incidents of antisemitism.

What kind of "tensions"?

Legal Insurrection has been tracking the spread and increasing appearance of antisemitism on college campuses. At Vassar, here are some examples:

  • In 2014 Jewish students were mocked and jeered by a crowd of students and faculty at a campus-wide forum

  • A class involving a trip to Israel and the West Bank was picketed, forcing a professor to cross a picket line of shouting students

  • Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) posted a Nazi cartoon on social media, and pro-Israel displays were vandalized.

  • Recently, a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign was kicked off by SJP and Jewish Voice for Peace, followed by an event sponsored by the faculty where Israel was accused of  experiments to “stunt” Palestinian bodies

  • In response to a pro-Israel post by the Vasser Jewish Student Union on Facebook, a student replied "F*ck Jews" via Yik Yak

  • SJP promoted the sale of t-shirts honoring Palestinian terrorist Leila Khalid, the first female plane hijacker:

Catalog image of shirt honoring Palestinian terrorist Leila Khalid,
the first female plane hijacker. Credit: Legal Insurrection

The New York Post reported on antisemitic attacks at another campus just a few days ago, under the headline ‘Jew haters’ spread fear at CUNY colleges, with the following list
  • At John Jay College, which specializes in criminal justice, Jewish students have been the target of so many slurs that at lease three have transferred. One John Jay administrator responded to a Jewish student’s concerns by saying, “What are these white kids complaining about?” (emphasis added)

  • On Nov. 12 at Hunter College, during a demonstration for free tuition, Jewish students were denounced as “racist sons of bitches,” “fascists” and “Nazis” and were greeted with comments such as “Jews out of CUNY.” One student tweeted at the time, “Full-blown anti-Semitism allowed at my college . . . I witnessed this and froze in fear.”

  • At Brooklyn College, the pro-Palestinian group disrupted a faculty meeting last week and called a professor wearing a yarmulka a “Zionist pig.” Brooklyn College slammed the “hateful” comments and the disruption.

  • At The College of Staten Island, a pro-Palestinian demonstrator told a Jewish student last November, “I don’t hug murderers.” Swastikas also defaced the college’s desks and walls.
ZOA President Morton Klein is quoted as commenting that CUNY was not doing enough, and that the “hateful, anti-Semitic and violence-inciting conduct” of SJP needed to be addressed in order to protect the safety of the Jewish students:
Such bigotry would never be tolerated by CUNY if it were being directed against another ethnic, racial or other targeted group,” Klein wrote. “CUNY should not be tolerating it when the bigotry is directed against Jews.
Jews are not immune at Oxford University either, contrary to the attempt to whitewash what is happening there. UK Media Watch debunks a letter in the Guardian that accuses those who complain about antisemitism as merely "crying wolf." This, in the face of these incidents at Oxford:
  • Members of the Labour Club’s committee have been known to sing the song “Rockets over Tel Aviv” and have specifically expressed support for Hamas’ tactic of launching indiscriminate attacks against Israel’s Jewish citizens.

  • One Labour Club member stated specifically that it was “not antisemitic” to allege the existence of a “New York – Tel Aviv axis” that rigs elections, and said that “we should be aware of the influence wielded over elections by high net-worth Jewish individuals”. He also stated that it was “not antisemitic” to allege the existence of an international Jewish conspiracy, even though he did not endorse the idea himself.

  • One Labour Club committee member stated that all Jews should be expected to publicly denounce Zionism and the State of Israel, and that nobody should associate with any Jew who fails to do so.

  • Several individuals, some who have been on the Labour Club committee, repeatedly used the word “Zio” (a word normally only found on neo-Nazi websites) to refer to Jewish students.

  • Several Labour Club members have alleged that US foreign policy is under the control of the “Zionist Lobby” and when asked if by “Zionist” they simply meant “Jewish” they did not answer.

  • One member of the Labour Club was formally disciplined by their College for organising a group of students to harass a Jewish student and to shout “filthy Zionist” whenever they saw her.

  • In a public discussion on the Labour Club’s Facebook group, one member argued that Hamas was justified in its policy of killing Jewish civilians and claimed that all Jews were legitimate targets. Several other members, including two former Labour Club co-chairs and one then on committee, defended the member as making “a legitimate point clumsily expressed”.

  • Two Labour Club members argued that Jenny Tonge, a peer expelled from the Liberal Democrats over antisemitism, should be encouraged to join the Labour Party.
Ignoring these very real incidents of antisemtism and incitement at Oxford, the writers of the letter go on to lecture:
Those who deliberately confuse antisemitism and anti-Zionism give comfort and aid to the real antisemites in our society. Like the boy who cried wolf, they ensure that if antisemitism does rear its ugly head, people will assume that this is just another false accusation.
And therein lies the essence of this growing trend to deflect reports of antisemitism by claiming that Jews are merely overreacting.

Thus we have another claim of overreacting -- this time by Haaretz, about Crying wolf on campus anti-Semitism: The Vassar College talk was no blood libel, claiming that
Jasbir Puar's claim that Israel harvested Palestinian body parts was irresponsible and unsubstantiated – but it wasn't anti-Semitism.
What is unclear is whether those who defend these antisemitic attacks would respond the same way if they were directed against any other group. Contrary to others on campus, who are deemed deserving of safe places from microaggressions, Jews are expected to quietly submit to macroaggressions - to all the accusations, intimidation and assaults that are thrown at them. Something heinous is brewing on college campuses, and the one thing Jews cannot and will not be is silent.

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