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March 11, 2015


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Alexander Tsesis


Thank you for this powerful, timely, and incredibly important post. The antisemitism of the students' objections to Beyda's candidacy is undeniable. Even more deeply troubling and hypocritical than the students' overt stereotyping and two-facedness is Chancelor Block's unwillingness to call out the attack on Beyda because of her Jewishness. It is heart wrenching for me to see a growing acceptance of Jew hatred in the United States, even as it is again on the ascent in Europe.



I second all of the above.

Legal academia in particular has a duty to speak out: don't hold your breath though.

If this had been almost ANY other target, these pages would be full of self righteous indignation and outrage.

What do we hear? Silence. Worse.

Cue the haters. Let's hear the defenders: "Of course being a Jew and active in the Jewish community is suspect! We all know Jews can't be trusted to vote, as we vote, in a completely 'unbiased' manner."

You gotta love legal academia for its consistency and ethical stance toward all persons.

Ken Waltzer

Once again, excellent work. Something foul is afoot -- indeed. Time for university administrators to go to school on what is anti-Semitism and what is involved in taking advantage of teachable moments when it rears its head.


The UCLA story is particularly troubling when compared to the Oklahoma frat story.



Not sure I understand your comparison.

Is your point that UCLA should have immediately expelled any person who voted on the bases stated?


I find the anti-semitism expressed offensive.

But still "For the past year, there has been a concerted effort at UCLA to rid the student government of anyone who might be insufficiently antagonistic toward Israel" seems to be a two way street - cf Steven Salaita and several others.

When it comes to purging people for their views on Israel, Israel's supporters' hands are not clean - and when it comes to make statements that link religion and ethnicity to political views, well again several of those even in this forum who post on this topic are pretty quick to make comments about muslims, Sikhs, Arabs and Palestinians - and when these are made, one or two of the outraged here are at least remarkably silent, unless indeed they just made them. And yes, I am thinking about Steven Lubet and Alexander Tsesis. Indeed the last time this issue came up there was an example of religious and ethnic commentary that linked being muslim, arab, Palestinian, Persian and Sikh with racism, and Steve - crickets chirped in your office.


To anon 3/11 at 10:56

At UCLA, four students engaged in active discrimination -- voting against someone because of their religion. At Oklahoma, a group of apparently racist frat brothers chanted hateful speech TO THEMSELVES, a protected (if distasteful) exercise of First Amendment rights. The students who discriminated against a Jew who was present at the time are excused; the ones who engaged only in speech against people who were not even there are immediately expelled.

Alexander Tsesis

What you write is out-and-out defamation hidden by your mask of anonymity. You write: "indeed the last time this issue came up there was an example of religious and ethnic commentary that linked being muslim, arab, Palestinian, Persian and Sikh with racism," Your claim, which refers to the debated on Salaita's antisemitism, is false and a per se attack on professional integrity.




I've read your posts - and by the way the per se line, BS.

The issue is pretty simple - and I'll put it in stark terms. I used to be anti-BDS - that was before Salaita and reading some of what you have to say. You managed to convert me to at least being ambivalent leaning perhaps pro - you personally, the things you said, the things Lubet said. Think about that for a minute - someone who was anti-BDS sees you and your conduct as a reason to possibly BDS. Ironic no?

Why, because frankly if you and Lubet and the rest of your pals are going to lead efforts to ensure that anyone critical of Israel is reflexively called and anti-Semite and blocked from academic jobs, it seems to me that AIPAC and its supporters need a harsh taste of the same medicine. If you don't like that, well my heart bleeds for you. But if you want to sit spew attacks on people who criticise Israeli policies - which you do, you need to be ready to take the same lumps. Transparently you are not.

Integrity -hah!

Steve L.

Responding to Mack: I have not ever attacked people for criticizing Israeli policies, and I certainly have never advocated barring them from academic jobs. Regarding Salaita, I have repeatedly stated that it was wrong for the University of Illinois to withdraw his offer, and that his academic freedom was therefore violated.

I have criticized some of Salaita's tweets as anti-Semitic, which I believe they were. This is not inconsistent. I believe in freedom of speech, even for people who say venomous things. It is the anti-Israel crowd that has attempted to soft-pedal Salaita as merely a critic of Israel, when his actual statements went far beyond that. Does his opposition to Israel make him above reproach? I think not.

Beyond that, the idea of giving people "a harsh taste of the same medicine" is, well, out of place in a serious intellectual forum.

Even more out of place is the idea that one cannot ever address anti-Semitism without simultaneously saying something critical of Jews, or Israel, or (gasp!) AIPAC. That is a rhetorical technique most frequently seen at Fox News. "I hate racism, BUT . . . ." "Police brutality is wrong, BUT . . . ." "No one wants ethnic profiling, BUT . . . ."

I can easily endure any "lumps" that Mack cares to deliver, but let's keep the record straight on what has actually been happening.


I'm going to make some points that Steve and Alex may not like - but tough.

The sentence "In April 2014, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) brought a Judicial Board complaint against two USAC representatives, seeking to disqualify their votes on a divestment resolution because they had taken sponsored trips to Israel, " does not tell the full story.

Organisations opposed to BDS are apparently providing free trips to Israel - all expenses paid, with in addition some spending money (according to the complaint $200.) The University has a conflict of interest policy that says that elected office holders should not engage in conflicts of interest. Here is the problem, it would seem to me that to accept a free trip worth thousands of dollars to Israel from an organisation interested in the way in which the two individuals would vote on USAC, given to them because of their role, is a conflict of interest. Steve evidently thinks that accepting these free trips was non-controversial - I wonder would he think the same about say Mecca, the West Bank or Tehran if sponsored by pro-Palestinian groups? You have a Judicial Board that seems to have recoiled from addressing the issue, which on its face, is a problem.

Steve then is offended by the fact that SJP sought that those seeking election pledge not to accept free trips. Here Steve thinks it is controversial that the SJP would demand that free trips not be accepted from those who have an interest in the way a candidate votes. Again, I find this odd - that a group entitled Students for Justice in Palestine would ask that candidates for office agree not to accept the free trips would seem to me to be perfectly reasonable. Now if you were asking me if people who have already taken an open position on an issue like BDS or who are members of groups such as SJP or various loudly pro-Israeli groups should recuse themselves from Judicial Board of decisions on these matters - or if they should recuse themselves in the Judicial Board and student government when they have accepted a benefit from an interested party - here I would indeed see a point. And if pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian groups organised themselves to such a level that their constant recusal would leave the Judicial Board or other body regularly un-quorate again I could see that to be a problem.

But here Lubet is raising concerns over objections members of USAC taking free trips worth thousands of dollars from an interested party, suggesting (or at least broadly hinting) that the objection must be a result of antisemitism - and you know, I think it is a legitimate objection, and I'd say it if they were taking these trips from any interested party

So I am very troubled by Steve's post here, because it seeks to couch objections to actions, accepting a benefit from an interested party, as automatically antisemitic.


Wow. See how quickly an instance of conduct so blatantly directed to a person's religion turns into a debate about Israel? Jew has divided loyalty; Jew must not be admitted. These aren't "BDS" questions: these are the age-old memes of Jew hate the world over. Everybody knows it. Don't play us for fools.

This thread is perfect proof of the problem.

No matter how much they deny it, justifiers who perpetuate and support Jew hate always resort to a debate about Israel. As if proving Israel is evil (a perception often motivated by Jew hate, as the conduct provoking Israel is almost always ignored or quickly dismissed as irrelevant) proves that Jews are evil too.

Don't take my word for it. Google the UCLA situation and read what is being said in the LA press.


I stand corrected on Salaita - thank you Steve - your posts led me to believe that you agreed with his tenure being revoked.

I have read Salaita's posts - I I certainly regarded some of them as intemperate and ill-judged. Do I think that proves him an anti-semite, no. I regularly also find Israel's defenders, particularly in the US to be intemperate, their comments ill-judges and regularly sliding over the line to outright racism and religious bigotry. I do regard AIPAC as an organisation that is seriously overreaching to the extent that it is endangering Israel's long term future.

Personally - for various reasons I find the identification of religion with politics highly offensive (Netanyahu's claiming to speak for all jews was particularly outrageous - as many jews were quick to point out by the way.) I probably know more of he backstory of Netanyahu when he was ambassador in Washington DC, as foreign minster and in his first run as prime minister than is openly discussed - and Israelis, Europeans and people who dealt with him in DC are astonishingly hostile to him - tales of his mendacity abound.

If Israel's supporters are going to push for people like Salaita (and other critics) to be effectively boycotted, they cannot with a straight face then demand that the same result not apply to them.


anon -

You miss the big issue. Those who oppose Israel's policies have a big problem - some of those who oppose Israel (and its policies) do so for reasons that are openly antisemitic. However, surveys conducted in the US and UK pretty uniformly show that Jews are, in general, somewhat more critical of Israel's policies than the rest of the population - something that I find myself having to point out from time to time to critics of Israel.

Antisemitism is a problem for those who oppose Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, who want a two state solution, etc. because it has two effects. First, it drives a "circle the wagons" reaction among Jews outside Israel, undermining the support that Palestinians might otherwise have from a social group that historically opposed racism and backed social justice; and (b) it makes it easier for people (like you) to argue that anyone opposed to Israel's policies must be a Jew-hater.

To characterise those who object to Israeli policy as all Jew-haters is as bad as saying all Israel's supporter agreed with what Baruch Goldstein did at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron - yes there are some extremists that think he is a hero, quite a few in fact, but most of Israel's supporters were completely disgusted and remain so, or to say that to be an Israel supporter means you agree with (the odious) Pamela Geller.



I usually agree with you. But who is missing the point here?
Please read my comment again.

I asked you to consider how quickly an instance of conduct so blatantly directed to a person's religion turns into a debate about Israel. Your answer is perfect proof of the problem.

If you know so much about Jews (you seem to claim to be an expert) perhaps you can help us understand the reasoning behind claims of "Worldwide Jewry" and charges of "divided loyalty" that preceded the State of Israel by centuries, and tell us whether the same charge, for the same reasons, in the present context must ALWAYS devolve into an effort by you and others to rant about Israel, and AIPAC, etc.

I don't claim that every person who hates Israel hates all Jews (though, most do, because, as said above, they reveal THEIR bias by focusing only on the response by Israel and almost never on the provocations). Here, I claim that Jew hate exists, and that, if a person is refused admission to a board or other organization based on "[being] Jewish ... and very active in the Jewish community,” then that is PRECISELY the sort of bigotry that so many would so vigorously condemn in another context.

Instead, we need to endure lectures about Israel. What does that tell us?


It is interesting how Mack's case relies on a contention that is not just false, but false to the point of being ludicrous. To wit: "[I]f you and Lubet and the rest of your pals are going to lead efforts to ensure that anyone critical of Israel is reflexively called and [sic] anti-Semite...."

The falsehood isn't that Alex and Steve aren't "leaders" of these efforts -- though of course, being affiliated with an organization (Ameinu) which is regularly critical of Israel, it is clear that they couldn't possibly be intolerant of criticism of Israel tout court (I'd add that I too have been critical of Israel and neither Steve nor Alex has ever accused me of being anti-Semitic, "reflexively" or otherwise). Rather, the obvious falsehood is that there exists any class of persons who engages in such an effort -- who actually call "anyone critical of Israel" an anti-Semite. It should be clear upon a moment's reflection why no such people exist: Everybody who has thoughts on Israel is critical of it some of the time -- the metric "critical of Israel doesn't distinguish" the JVP from ZOA. The difference is what is criticized -- and when, why, and how. Calling *all* criticisms of Israel anti-Semitic would be a ridiculous position to take; presumably, ZOA doesn't think it's anti-Semitic when it criticized Israel for withdrawing from Gaza. Rather, ZOA, like Ameinu, and probably like the JVP, thinks that certain criticisms in certain contexts presented in certain ways are anti-Semitic (though they of course disagree substantively on which are good criticisms, which are bad, and which are outright anti-Semitic). And I may or may not agree with any individual judgment on that -- but that's the terrain the debate has to fall on: Not "is all criticism of Israel anti-Semitic" (a position nobody forwards) but "is the particular criticism in question anti-Semitic." As articulated, Mack's contention barely rises to the level of "straw man."

So why doesn't Mack just say what he means -- that people call things anti-Semitic in circumstances where Mack disagrees? Presumably, the answer lies in the comparison between the false proposition he actually forwards and the true one which he actually means:

(1) "Steve and Alex call anyone critical of Israel anti-Semitic."

(2) "Steve and Alex call certain people critical of Israel anti-Semitic in cases where I disagree with that conclusion."

The first statement suggests a serious deliberative failure on S&A's part. It posits that they are basically incapable of any sort of critical thought and suffer from a total failure of rationality. This would justify dismissing their arguments out of hand -- if it was remotely possible that the premise was true. But it isn't. The second statement, by contrast, is clearly true but doesn't warrant the hyperbolic sky-is-falling-discourse-is-forever-doomed rhetoric Mack wants to deploy. Simply put, it is not a party foul for Steve or Alex or anyone else to argue that something is anti-Semitic when Mack thinks it isn't. And Mack knows this, which is why he isn't willing to characterize the debate on such mundane terms ("How dare people disagree with me when I adjudge a person innocent of anti-Semitism!"). Now Mack, same as all of us, certainly is entitled to argue against the specific judgments made by Steve or Alex or anyone on their merits. But he resolutely refuses to engage in that on-the-merits deliberation in favor of asserting the existence of a mass communal psychopathy amongst the mainstream Jewish community that renders them impossible to reason with. And, as I've argued in my "Playing with Cards" article, that's a form of bigotry regardless of whether the alleged "card" in question is "the anti-Semitism card", "the race card", or any other form of dismissing identity-based oppression.


Alexander Tsesis:

Just to give an example of my point. We have the quite disgusting posting by anon @1:10pm - did you say anything. Nope, you sat there thinking of the cause you espouse and well - who knows, you probably went "SCORE!!!!!"

I run into someone saying something antisemitic - or holocaust denying - I call them on it. You see a post saying that critics of Israel and supporters of BDS are Jew-Haters - you stay absolutely silent. So does Steve Lubet.

Interesting that no?

Want to explain?


anon @ 2:01 and other occasions.

A little while ago you posted a statement that every BDS supporter is a jew-hater. Now you put up a post again returning to the theme.

Here is a challenge - write a critique of Benyamin Netanyahu's speech in Congress of last week, discussion how he brought the divided loyalties issue into play (quite disgracefully I would add). It is not that difficult - a good few supporters of Israel, Jewish inter alia have done so. While you are at it, write a critique of his claim to speak for all jews.

Can you do that?

Your readership wait with bated breath.


sorry for the typos, wrote those on an iPad


This is probably my final reply to Mack: It is not necessary for me to refute every comment with which I disagree, so your most recent criticism is foolish and tiresome. Anon did say above that most people who hate Israel also hate Jews. That is wrong, counterproductive, reductionist, and, in case I did not make myself clear, wrong.

But so what? You continually rail at me for allegedly saying things that I never said, or for not saying things that you want me to say. None of that has any bearing on Judeophobia at UCLA, which is the point of the original post.

Will not respond to you any further.

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