Skip to comments.The shame of SFSU (Anti-Semitism in Bay Area)
Posted on 05/13/2002 1:59:05 PM PDT by jalisco555
The shame of SFSU
This is a message from Laurie Zoloth, the director of the Jewish Studies program at San Francisco State University. These are her thoughts after participating in the demonstration on campus last week.
Things like this don't just make me sick. They make me afraid to be a Jew. Americans need to wake up and stop this kind of hatred.
Today, all day, I have been listening to the reactions of students, parents, and community members who were on campus yesterday. I have received email from around the country, and phone calls, worried for both my personal safety on the campus, and for the entire intellectual project of having a Jewish Studies program, and recruiting students to a campus that in the last month has become a venue for hate speech and anti-Semitism. After nearly 7 years as director of Jewish Studies, and after nearly two decades of life here as a student, faculty member and wife of the Hillel rabbi, after years of patient work and difficult civic discourse, I am saddened to see SFSU return to its notoriety as a place that teaches anti-Semitism, hatred for America, and hatred, above all else, for the Jewish State of Israel, a state that I cherish.
I cannot fully express what it feels like to walk across campus daily, past maps of the Middle East that do not include Israel, past posters of cans of soup with labels on them of drops of blood and dead babies, labeled "canned Palestinian children meat, slaughtered according to Jewish rites under American license," past poster after poster calling out "Zionism=racism, and Jews=Nazis." This is not civic discourse, this is not free speech, and this is the Weimar Republic with brown shirts it cannot control. This is the casual introduction of the medieval blood libel and virulent hatred smeared around our campus in a manner so ordinary that it hardly excites concern--except if you are a Jew, and you understand that hateful words have always led to hateful deeds.
Yesterday, the hatred coalesced in a hate mob. Yesterday's Peace In The Middle East Rally was completely organized by the Hillel students, mostly 18 and 19 years old. They spoke about their lives at SFSU and of their support for Israel, and they sang of peace. They wore new Hillel t-shirts that said "peace" in English, Hebrew and Arabic. A Russian immigrant, in his new English, spoke of loving his new country, a haven from anti-Semitism. A sophomore spoke about being here only one year, and about the support and community she found at the Hillel House. Both spoke of how hard it was to live as a Jew on this campus how isolating, how terrifying. A surfer guy, spoke of his love of Jesus, and his support for Israel, and a young freshman earnestly asked for a moment of silence, and all the Jews stood still, listening as the shouted hate of the counter demonstrators filled the air with abuse.
As soon as the community supporters left, the 50 students who remained praying in a minyan for the traditional afternoon prayers, or chatting, or cleaning up after the rally, talking -- were surrounded by a large, angry crowd of Palestinians and their supporters. But they were not calling for peace. They screamed at us to "go back to Russia" and they screamed that they would kill us all, and other terrible things.
They surrounded the praying students, and the elderly women who are our elder college participants, who survived the Shoah, who helped shape the Bay Area peace movement, only to watch as a threatening crowd shoved the Hillel students against the wall of the plaza. I had invited members of my Orthodox community to join us, members of my Board of Visitors, and we stood there in despair. Let me remind you that in building the SFSU Jewish Studies program, we asked the same people for their support and that our Jewish community, who pay for the program once as taxpayers and again as Jews, generously supports our program. Let me remind you that ours is arguably one of the Jewish Studies programs in the country most devoted to peace, justice and diversity since our inception.
As the counter demonstrators poured into the plaza, screaming at the Jews to "Get out or we will kill you" and "Hitler did not finish the job," I turned to the police and to every administrator I could find and asked them to remove the counter demonstrators from the Plaza, to maintain the separation of 100 feet that we had been promised.
The police told me that they had been told not to arrest anyone, and that if they did, "it would start a riot." I told them that it already was a riot. Finally, Fred Astren, the Northern California Hillel Director and I went up directly to speak with Dean Saffold, who was watching from her post a flight above us. She told us she would call in the SF police. But the police could do nothing more than surround the Jewish students and community members who were now trapped in a corner of the plaza, grouped under the flags of Israel, while an angry, out of control mob, literally chanting for our deaths, surrounded us. Dr. Astren and I went to stand with our students.
This was neither free speech nor discourse, but raw, physical assault.
Was I afraid? No, really more sad that I could not protect my students. Not one administrator came to stand with us. I knew that if a crowd of Palestinian or Black students had been there, surrounded by a crowd of white racists screaming racist threats, shielded by police, the faculty and staff would have no trouble deciding which side to stand on. In fact, the scene recalled for me many moments in the Civil Rights movement, or the United Farm Workers movement, when, as a student, I stood with Black and Latino colleagues, surrounded by hateful mobs. Then, as now, I sang peace songs, and then, as now, the hateful crowd screamed at me, "Go back to Russia, Jew." How ironic that it all took place under the picture of Cesar Chavez, who led the very demonstrations that I took part in as a student.
There was no safe way out of the Plaza. We had to be marched back to the Hillel House under armed SF police guard, and we had to have a police guard remain outside Hillel. I was very proud of the students, who did not flinch and who did not, even one time, resort to violence or anger in retaliation. Several community members who were swept up in the situation simply could not believe what they saw. One young student told me, "I have read about anti-Semitism in books, but this is the first time I have seen real anti-Semites, people who just hate me without knowing me, just because I am a Jew." She lives in the dorms. Her mother calls and urges her to transfer to a safer campus.
Today is advising day. For me, the question is an open one: what do I advise the Jewish students to do?
Director, Jewish Studies Program
I received an email from Laurie confirming that the above is her letter.
And she added this:
It should also always be mentioned that until the last half hour, the campus and community held the largest rally for peace and for Israel in many years, and that it was a huge success was due to the wonderful Hillel leadership and students. It was a proud moment for our campus--but the way it ended was well over the line of civic discourse.
Sad situation nevertheless.
I bet you're right. I don't understand how any Jew can be in favor of gun control today (I'm Jewish, BTW).
Laurie: Advise them that it's time to pick up their swords. The Peace Movement is dead. It't time to fight for your rights.
Not an open question in my mind.
She should advise all her students to move their credits to another university and their parents to withdraw any support of the university.
She should also advise all students, once they have gotten themselves and their possessions off the campus, to make as public a noise as possible as to why they have left, especially pointing to the university administration's casual acceptance of a race mob on its campus.
Has this story been sent to the Anti Defamation League?
I'd be ashamed. It's time to crack some skulls!
Revisit the 'Messiah' question. If, for themselves, they determine that Jesus is NOT the Messiah; then, pick up the sword, for 'an eye for an eye' is still LAW. If Jesus IS the Messiah; then, pray for the 'Peace of Jerusalem' and His return. If America were truly the 'Christian' nation she claims to be, the 'haters' of life would be tolerated, but not subsidized.
I would also hope that armed Christians would *defend* Jews attacked by jihadists, whether those Jews were liberal and anti-gun or not.
I wonder if he'll issue a statement of outrage over this?
There's a thread over here, jalisco555 - Anti-Semitic Progrom At San Francisco State
The course of action one chooses usually falls into line with what one believes.
The question pertained to what, on this advisory day, the SFSU Jewish Studies department should advocate. As each individual must account for themselves, I presume that thinking thoroughly about the question of personal faith might help in formulating a course of action.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.