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.

Views: 53

Comment by Jerry DeNuccio on March 6, 2015 at 11:18am

Thanks, Kosher: you've made me see a distinction I hadn't really considered before.  That'll be helpful in my reading of national and international news.  And this: "Nothing excuses bigotry."  Only three words, but the significance of them is incalculable.

Comment by koshersalaami on March 6, 2015 at 11:48am

Thanks for reading and commenting. If you ever have questions about these phenomena, I'm here.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on March 6, 2015 at 5:09pm

i eagerly await art james's take on this  situation, but before we are treated to it i could throw a quote from another farmer at you:

wendell berry

  • believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love.
    • "Health is Membership".

Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community (1993)

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on March 6, 2015 at 5:13pm

it sounds to me like a bunch of immature pseudoliberal students trying

to raise a controversy and then

being forced to apologize 

for their dumb

youthful indiscretion.

i know it seems indicative of something in society, and it surely is..but it's just kids! yeah they are the future leaders of tomorrow, but still

wet behind the ears.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on March 6, 2015 at 5:14pm

berry again:

''I'm not a Baptist in any formal way. I go to the Baptist church, where my wife plays the piano, on days of bad weather. On days of good weather, I ramble off into the woods somewhere. I am a person who takes the Gospel seriously, but I have had trouble conforming my thoughts to a denomination.''

Comment by koshersalaami on March 6, 2015 at 5:49pm

It probably is a bunch of immature pseudoliberal students trying to raise a controversy. However, people that age can do a lot of damage, and the fact that they were so cavalier about the background of this Jewish student when you know they would have been extra careful about the background of anyone else (being pseudoliberal) is an indicator of a wider problem in attitudes. 

As Jews, we carry canaries into our mines because we've lived through a lot of explosions, and this is definitely a dead canary. 

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on March 6, 2015 at 5:58pm

is it not incumbent upon all of us as adventurers of the spirit,
the essence of human
being, whatever that turns out to be,
down in the
or, in other parlance, the abyss,
to carry that canary, if we are truly seeking the truth of things?

''Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.''said jesus; blake said,
''as the eye sees, so it believes''
; and
nietzsche?he said
''My conception of freedom. — The value of a thing sometimes does not lie in that which one attains by it, but in what one pays for it — what it costs us''...

dropping dead in our cage can be instructive
to those that come later,
even ourselves,
if we survive our (spiritual) death
down in the bowels of 
the cave.

Comment by koshersalaami on March 6, 2015 at 6:31pm

This isn't about the philosophy of seeking truth, it's about seeing the danger of what happens when a society turns against you, in part or completely.

I'm not sure if this is a phenomenon you can relate to, finding artificial obstacles in your path, including deliberately nasty ones, based on who you are rather than what you have ever done. You have certainly experienced persecution on the basis of something you did not do, but that was not necessarily based on the identity of Your Kind. 

That's the story of who I came from. It is also the story of a lot of who I blog about, and I'm not specifying Jews here. I have a few blogging preoccupations. One is of course extreme income inequality. Another, however, is objecting to the placing of those artificial obstacles in the paths of various populations or, in a word, bigotry. I write about that a lot. A lot of the time it's about Jews, which is to say antisemitism, because I understand that phenomenon better than a lot of people at these two sites do. Sometimes it's about Black people. Sometimes it's about LGBT people, particularly those who want to get married. Several times it's been about Muslims, particularly those in the United States. 

Sometimes I talk about national or international incidents. Sometimes I talk about bigotry much closer to home, like when it happens on our own blog sites, which it actually does way more often than you'd think. The fights here get most bitter when people are called on that. 

If you look at the thread on the other site, you'll notice a pair of conversations taking place. One is about the incident I wrote about at UCLA. The other is about a post of SBA's that was deleted, I believe this morning, by OS management. 

I don't exactly know your feelings on this subject - what you perceive as bigoted, what you don't, why, and what you care about. I know you don't express outrage at this but you don't express much outrage in general, so that doesn't indicate much. What I have noticed is that I have watched you weave in and out of discussions like these, studiously avoiding touching the topics that are all around you. The most telling time I observed that was actually on a post of Keiko's on OS. Ben Sen was in some argument with her and he came out with an Asian slur, something about her eating dog I think. Keiko was so taken aback that she didn't go after him immediately - she was simply too shocked and upset, and we both know it takes a lot to throw her. Not that she had to strike back in that instance because it was a very crowded and active post and damned near everyone present went after BenSen immediately. There was, unusually, absolutely no ambiguity here, no attempt to bait with a sound-alike term (like Token baiting Bill Beck by calling him a "nagger"), no deniability at all. Just a startling and ugly display of bigotry. You spoke to her about the usual prurient subjects, being as that's what she wrote about (and I assume still does), at a time when I could not imagine her answering you about that. I wanted to ask you: Are you reading the thread? 

I almost wanted to ask you that again today. The question on the table might have been construed in general terms as being: What here is tolerable and why, what is intolerable and why? 

You might have been attempting to answer those questions but, if so, I didn't exactly understand your answer. 


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