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March 06, 2015


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Ken Waltzer

Thoughtful observations on a situation that illustrates how BDS militancy on behalf of boycott or divestment shades over -- in the attitudes and actions of many adherents -- to blatant anti-Semitism. Also thoughtful discovery how university officials (or journalists or other commenters) cannot bring themselves to characterize the attitudes and behavior as what it is --- anti-Semitic or Judeophobic. If the chancellor cannot call it what it is, how can students learn? Block is right, this is a teaching moment. So TEACH!!!!


It should be pointed out that the four students who opposed Ms. Beyda were Fabienne Roth, from Switzerland, Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed, an Iranian-American, Manjot Singh, a Sikh, and Sofia Moreno Haq, a member of the Muslim Student Association. Whether they regard this as a teachable moment or not, only time will tell. Whether the people who appointed them onto the Judicial Board regard this as a teachable moement, only time will tell.

Eric Muller

anon123, how is your insinuation that these four voted against the Jewish student because they are Iranian, Sikh, Muslim, and, uh, "from Switzerland" any less deserving of condemnation than their questions of, and votes against, the Jewish student?


Eric, I did not say that. I presented the facts as represented in the UCLA Bruin. There is a big difference between voting to keep someone off of board based on their religion, and identifying the people voting.


It's funny, I found myself in an argument yesterday with someone who was trying to maintain that no Arab groups opposed to Israeli policies especially with respect to Palestine were anti-Semitic in their views (I may have asked the person who denied any anti-Semetic critics of Israel if they were f***ing delusional.) What caused the argument was my point that the virulent anti-Semitism of many such groups, there tendency towards Holocaust denial was fundamentally hurting the Palestinians cause because it has a "circle the wagons effect" on the Jewish diaspora, many of whom in surveys are, in fact, in the US and UK, more critical of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians than non-Jews. (Inter alia, in the UK a similar effect could be seen among the Irish.) Moreover, because there are loud anti-Semites among critics of Israeli policy, it is easy to be seen as an anti-Semite for such criticism, and to be blunt, many of Israel's defenders have been pretty willing to fling that accusation quite spuriously - and hint at it prolifically.

There may be legitimate reasons to consider whether some advocates of Israeli policy can make fair judgments - this is a particularly hot issue as efforts have been made to bar J-Street from some campus Hillel, while the Steven Salaita situation makes BDS opponents seem particularly hypocritical right now. I find the increasing conflation of Israeli policy with Jewishness a deeply worrying phenomenon and one that has the potential for a very ugly debate. There has also been a fairly unfortunate recent case where Singh at least would likely have been Sikh, which might have been a factor in Manjot Singh's concerns, something fairness dictates that anon123 should have acknowledged. Indeed that case does make difficult reading in the context of conflicts of interest - given that it happened last year and must have been on the mind of many members of the court, it would have been fair to ask someone who is vocally supportive of Israel and opposed to the BDS campaign what she might have done in such a case - it would be impermissible to ask her if her religion or ethnic identity was motivating that view.

Similarly, Netanyahu's claim in his recent speech to speak for all Jews was something I recognise as being deeply offensive to many Jews - indeed I would regard it as a perversely anti-Semitic statement in itself, to the extent that it claims that all Jews agree with Netanyahu. Indeed it would be fair to suggest that anon123's post is pretty well as appalling as suggesting that someone who is Jewish cannot be fair - indeed it pretty well couches the question in terms of their religion for which anon123 should be, anonymously, ashamed.

To put it more simply, Jewish ≠ Zionist ≠ Likud supporter

You can support the existence of Israel and question its policies, and you can ask whether AIPAC is good for Israel, or bad, but this is one of the worst areas imaginable to tread into.


Ken: "Thoughtful observations on a situation that illustrates how BDS militancy on behalf of boycott or divestment shades over -- in the attitudes and actions of many adherents -- to blatant anti-Semitism. "

Actually it doesn't, unless there was a casual link mentioned which I didn't spot.

Please note that this is just another flavor of accusing women or blacks or gays of being biased (as opposed to straight white men of acceptable religious beliefs).

Rudyard Holmbast

Claiming that the BDS movement is not anti-Semitic is absolutely hilarious. Do those making that claim really think anyone believes them? When the ONLY country you target for divestment and sanctions happens to be the world's sole Jewish state(and a liberal democracy), despite the fact that the list of countries with far worse human rights records is a mile long, your pleas that you are not anti-Semitic are ludicrous on their face. Here's a tip for the BDS bigots: no one believes you.


Re: Rudyard Holmbast

"many of Israel's defenders have been willing to fling that charge quite spuriously"


Jonathan H. Adler

Eric - I think the better question raised by anon123's post is why the four questioners did not think that they, themsleves, had conflicts of interest under their understanding of what that would mean. (Of course, this only further shows the ridiculousness and insidiousness of their position.)


Ken Waltzer

Don't know who Barry is but -- Barry -- yes, it certainly does. Identifying a Jewish student who is active in campus Jewish institutions (sorority, Hillel) and questioning her fitness for a general judicial office qualifies in my mind as anti-Semitism. Three of the four questioning students were and are BDS supporters. Walks like a duck, looks like a duck, quack like a duck -- it's a duck.

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