A friend of mine sent me a link this morning. Once I read it, I realized it was worth a post.
Here's the link:
Last month an extremely qualified Jewish student by the name of Rachel Beyda was nominated for the UCLA judicial board and was interviewed by the student council. She is heavily involved in Jewish activities on campus such as Hillel and is president-elect of a Jewish sorority.
When it came time to interview her, an interview which was expected to be routine, student council members started asking her if her Jewishness would interfere with her objectivity on the judicial board. The head of the student council, also Jewish, was startled by the first question and stepped in to offer the opinion that the question wasn't relevant. Some other council members persisted, then they met alone to consider the nomination.
The first vote, after a long debate, went against her. The faculty advisor then stepped in and pointed out that affiliation with Jewish organizations was not a conflict of interest, at which point Ms. Beyda was approved unanimously.
Ms. Bayda's roomate, the current president of her Jewish sorority, witnessed the questioning. Her observation was that Israel wasn't mentioned at all, that all the questioning was specifically about Jewish affiliation.
I have observed before that antisemitism is no longer a significant factor in the United States. I may have to revise that assessment.
We know that this student council, after a bitter debate, recently voted to divest from Israel. While I understand that, I'm extremely disturbed about where such a mindset took them. I am jumping to the conclusion that these two phenomena are related because UCLA does not have a record of bigotry in general and has no recent record that's been publicized of treating other minorities this way in interviews. Only a Jewish student was considered fair game.
When I started blogging, I assumed that antizionism and antisemitism were mostly independent phenomena. What I have learned over time is that the degree of separation between them is not anything like I initially assumed and, in fact, hoped. Most of the time I have found that I can't find daylight between them.
Opposing a government's policies is one thing. I often oppose Israel's and of course those of my own country, the United States. Taking those policies out on Jews around the world is quite another. We've seen that sort of thing grow in France to the extent that thousands of French Jews are now emigrating to Israel because they no longer feel safe in France. It would be more than disappointing to see that phenomenon repeated here.
Please make sure you keep your eye on the difference. Bleeding over from antizionism to antisemitism is extremely easy. I've witnessed it online way too often. Be especially careful when you see Israel's very real offenses exaggerated.
Israel's behavior does not excuse bigotry. Nothing excuses bigotry.
That includes making excuses for the bigotry of others.