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December 5, 2014 1:01 am

Hating Jews at Berkeley

avatar by Abraham H. Miller

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The campus of the University of California, Berkeley. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The University of California, Berkeley’s graduate student labor union (UAW 2865) is voting on whether the State of Israel should continue to exist. No one is waiting with bated  breath for the  tally of a vote whose implementation would violate both California and United States law. It is one of those exercises in academic hubris laced with ignorance for which Berkeley is famous. After all, students know slightly less American history after four years at the prestigious institution than before they crossed through Sather Gate.

One of the leaders of the anti-Israel movement is Lara Kiswani, whose rhetoric reminds one of the days when leftists sat in their Marxist circle groups and talked about “mechanistic thinking” as an impediment to achieving the socialist utopia. Kiswani’s rhetoric is filled with the same clichés, but let me say that Kiswani’s ability to manifest hatred honestly and simply is as impressive as it is refreshing.

I have gone to academic panels on the Arab/Israel conflict for more than four decades, and I always find the obligatory pandering to democratic values somewhere between boring and insulting.

Now comes Kiswani like a breeze off San Francisco Bay on a hot day. Here she is in her own words: “See, part of the problem with the Palestine question, particularly on campus, is it always gets framed as this two-sided thing and liberal democracy loves to make it seem like everyone has a right to speak, including the oppressor alongside the oppressed. … I don’t think that this form of liberal democracy really has a place in terms of real struggle. … Maybe liberal Zionists here on this campus have a hard time understanding what that means. … As long as you choose to be on that side, I’m going to continue to hate you.”

It takes rare courage to stand in a lecture hall at Berkeley, the home of the vaunted Free Speech Movement, and denounce free speech.

And there is something special about acknowledging that her personal embrace of a just cause gives moral license to decide whose voices will and will not be heard, and to admit that the opposition isn’t her  adversary – with whom she might compromise, but her enemy, whom she hates and is entitled to isolate and ultimately destroy.

The concept of hatred for Kiswani is not simply that of the great unifier, as Eric Hoffer called it; it is a component of a moral passion that gives her the right to censor thought and speech and call for the destruction of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination.

Ironically, Kiswani, is the director of the  Arab Resource and Organizing Center, which is funded by the Tides Foundation, an organization that allegedly supports peaceful solutions to international conflict, and seeks to protect the Constitution from the intrusion of organizations with an authoritarian agenda. Apparently, in this case, the Tides Foundation made an exception that human rights and peace do not apply to Jews.

Kiswani’s Youth Director Sharif Zakout yearns for the day his people will return to “Palestine” and rebuild it, begging the question of what he will do with the seven million Israelis and the modern, high-tech society they have created. Perhaps, he would prefer a society that both looks and is run like Gaza or Ramallah.

Kiswani wants to silence voices and manifest hatred, but she should neither be silenced nor hated. She is an authentic, unblemished voice that should be heard loud and clear. Perhaps then some of our so called Jewish leaders, with their diaspora (galut) mentality, will ask her what they can do to solve the problem. Her answer would be telling.

It would probably be the most honest conversation they have yet had on the issue.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a contributor to the Franklin Center for Government and Political Integrity.

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  • Lynne T
  • Beverley Price

    Having an iPhone to observe the media ( not the truth) entitles owners/viewer to self-appoint as judges and pass sentence at narcissistic will. Does this critical mass of human distortions bring about a parallel virtual existence predicated on estimations of truth and drive young and old (cool) academic minds like lemmings to a spot between nihilism and isis?

  • James Staten

    Regardless what you think about it? A recorded history that spans the last 6,000 years makes it quite clear the first Deed of Land ever issued gives that Land to Israel Forever. He also made it clear that he would disperse them off the land, but in the last days he would make them return. People have a hard time with May 14th, 1948 when they became a nation again, then June 7th 1967 when they returned to Jerusalem after nearly 2,000 years. It also makes it clear that Jerusalem in the last days will become a Cup of Trembling to the whole world. The Bible it is good for your Soul!!!!

  • Mother Nature

    I remember when the left was anti-racist. To see racists like Kiswani flood campuses all over America is like living in Europe in 1933. Can racists be rehabilitated? I believe the Southern Poverty Law Center has had some success in that. Ship all these wannabe Hitlers to Alabama for treatment of their cognitive dysfunctions.

  • LN Blass

    Berkeley”s admissions department needs to be more discriminating in their selection of students. I also hope their alumni are showing an interest in what is happening on campus by holding back on contributions to their Alma Mater.

  • USA is an Institutuional Racist Country !

  • A Burton

    Is that the same Tides Foundation that funds environmental groups that want global warming skeptics silenced and or imprisoned? Another exception? Or a pattern…

  • נפתלי


  • steven L

    The Congress must take action against these hubs of fanaticism and racism supported by petro$ and the fanatical left.

  • david

    Please post her and others picture/s and a hot link to Wikipedia and or…Please report them all to discover the…!

  • Zookie

    The intelligentsia of America are working double-time to insure that true freedom will no longer ring.

    • francine

      You said it!

  • Cincinnatus

    How ironic that not only Berkeley, but other elite universities serve as incubators for the Kiswani mentality. The former beacon of the free speech movement has lost its luster. Irrational hatred never turns out well. Clearly, such hatred has turned Berkeley into a cesspool. Even if Kiswani’s utopian vision of a Palestinian state materialized, it would soon implode.


    The problem with US graduates, is that they are the future of US leadership.
    I just hope that hey do not turn out to make Obama look like a Jewish supporter of Israel.

  • Paul

    Arab hatred of Jews and Zionists (when they bother to make the distinction) is not based on the Israeli Palestinian conflict in Israel. Go read the Hamas covenant. It is based on the Koran. Hatred and slaughter of infidels, as now practised by ISIS, is the exact replica of Mohammeds behaviour, and the Jews won special attention there in their holy books (after they refused to accept Mohammed as the prophet). The Hamas do not blame the Israel-Palestinian conflict for their hatred and avowed intention to destroy Israel and kill anyone making peace with Israel – they regard the current conflict as mere justification for a pre-existing religious belief. They are a RELIGIOUS movement, and their leader is a man of the cloth.
    So here we have yet another speaker with an Arabic name, sprouting the most current rationisation for their constant, historic, religiously dictated anti-semitism. Like many other Arabs, she has moved to the West where -unlike the situation back home – she can exploit the beliefs of the Western culture (that she does not share or even apparently understand) that assure justice and human rights, to further her blind hatred and bigotry. she can use the beliefs of her audience against them, by choosing argument THEY will believe. She has nothing to say of the horrors of her own cultural heritage.
    There is a problem where there are bad guys – they are bad. But far worse is where good guys TOLERATE badness. Are Berkely students so stupid they cannot recognise opinions that contradict their own most precious values, if someone taints it with the ancient anti-semitism ? Do they have NO moral compass ? This speaker should be tarred and feathered and driven out of town, not because she is anti-israeli, but because the arguments she present to support her case are anti-western morality.
    Does she believe in the Sharia law ? In the Muslim declared aims of taking over America and Europe for merciful Allah while the “good guys” are asleep ? Or does the discussion with her only revolve around her hateful diatribe about Israel ? Could it be that the real danger is for the naive US citizens, who do not realise their democracy is under severe threat and should be protected? That the fight is already on ?
    The second problem is the ridiculously lame efforts by the Israeli Government, who thinks all battles are military, and rather than effectively fight the media battle, prefer to blame anti-semitism. The fact that anti-semitism DOES exist should not be the reason for shoulder-shrugging, it is a reason to fight more rigorously for justice and truth to be heard.
    And the third problem – we are fighting a battle for public support that CANNOT be won. We should get the hell out of the territories, whose continued occupation may cost us our very existence inside the green line of the pre-67 borders. We cannot morally justify putting Israeli civilian settlements on the West Bank, and by continuing to do so we are destroying support for what IS justified – our right to continued, secure, peaceful existence in the old borders. the settlements are a terrible burden for Israel’s security, internation support, and economy. NOBODY really gains anything from this terrible ongoing mistake.
    The argument has moved from the rights of Israelis vs Palestinians, to whether Israel has a right to even exist – this erosion is the result of Israeli Occupation of the West Bank, led by Religious Nationalist groups guided by Messianic thinking. Nobody, even Israel’s best friends, can support modern colonialism, especially when the justification is a 3000 year old promise from God.

    • tomm

      Israel has the responsibility under the Mandate to bring civil liberties to all of Palestine, for Judean and Arab Palestinians. Religious tolerance and Gender equality.
      Your suggestion that abandoning Arabs to thugs based upon a green line is foolish and condemn Israel to perpetual conflict.
      Bringing all of Palestine under Israeli protection is the only solution and will extend lifespan, improve health, increase education.
      We are now relying upon the testimony of those under constant threat and extortion.
      We have no idea of the depth of desire for freedom that exists in the Arab heart.

  • My alma mater–sigh!For the record, I got my BS before the madness started in 1964.

  • Sounds like ISIS and Nazism with this built up hatred! Unfortunately this hatred is due to the lack of a solid Education! This is called “One-Sided Education” and common core which is run by the federal government and their corporate buddies is making our children to live in servitude! Teach history without slanting or changing historical facts! EDUCATION is America’s Achilles Heel!

  • Mandrake

    Where are the other 12 comments?

    • This article is ridiculously tainted

      The comments didn’t support the rhetoric in the article.

  • Edward

    There is no license for hate speech, race baiting, blood libels, and antisemitic incitement. The problem with the liberal Jewish mentality is that it’s interest in providing an atmosphere for honest intellectual debate has trumped it’s instincts for self preservation. Make no mistake Kiswani and those of her ilk are the next wave of brown shirts. The time to stop these people is now and by any legal means possible. The idea that we need to get along with them or even tolerate their antisemetic behavior is anathema to our survival. We need to take legal action against Berkeley and the State of California for providing a platform for individuals like her. Their tacit support aids and abets hate speech that engenders prejudice and promotes the isolation of the Jewish population; a violation of our civil rights. Nothing short of this will work.

  • Paul Cerar

    Most members of the Jew-hatred movement are “Generic Fascists”, persons who are by nature fascist and given the opportunity would engage in fascism against anyone, on behalf of any cause.

    Thirty years ago, the same sort of fascist pig thugs would have been engaging in fascism on behalf of the Soviet Union, in the name of Peace.

    Paul Cerar
    Toronto, Canada

  • Richard Kirschenbaum

    While a student at Texas A&M in the late ’60s, our school paper offered to issues with those of UC Berkeley. Their curt response was that they only exchanged papers with major Universities. I have always hoped since then that UC Berkeley would one day slide into the San Andres fault.
    While I’m at it I might mention that Texas A&M had the first Hillel in America. Check it out.

  • Billy Bumps

    U listen to her ranting and raving over Israel’s
    right to exist but don’t recommend her tirade
    …….we hear enough so called “truth” which
    when rendered is found to be just more twisted
    rhetoric……in search of a paycheck……get an
    honest job….pay your taxes……honor our flag
    and respect this Nation…..or get OUT……go try
    your opinions elsewhere…..

  • blackrose

    Berkeley’s graduate student labor union (UAW 2865) should cease to exist. If Lara Kiswany and her friend Sharif Zakout “teach” there, they should be fired, since they teach hatred.

  • Mandrake

    In the Arab countries, first they expelled or killed the Jews, now they are killing Christians and other minorities, next they will try to conquer Europe and the rest of the world. The arabs in Israel live with more freedom than in any other Arab or muslim country. First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people. The civilized world is surrendering to these fanatic thugs.

  • What is happening in America? We know the US as a lighthouse in a world of evel, that stood up for human rights, freedom of speech and the guardian of democratic values.
    What I now hear from your univercities sounds more like the nazi’s before WWII, same idiology, same hate. And these people are your future leaders, and that’ scary.
    And now they will vote if Israel has the right to exist. What kind of people is this? What is their values? This can’t be the “New America”. Someone stand up aginst this.

  • yussi

    yakety yak dont go back….4yrs wasted at this school…

  • lucifer69

    Where are the comments?

  • Theodore Sternberg

    Please don’t say “begging the question” when you mean “raising the question”. To “beg the question” means to make a circular, i.e. tautological, argument.

  • Isaac Waterman

    Ms.Kiswani has to tell her Arab friends wherever they are, that what is called Palestine belongs to the Jews and to nobody else. The so called Palestinians have to choose, either recognize that and live in Peace in Israel or just leave and go to any other country they prefer. The part of world called Palestine was never possessed by any Arab population, only by Jews.
    Her hate against Jews is blinding and confusing her thoughts. Pity for her. May be a mental institute would be a better place for her to stay.

  • Manny Lapidos

    Hi Abe.

    Good response.

    I am pleased that we have, at last, found common ground.

    Keep writing.


  • Craig

    Bigotry funded by the Tides Foundation. This is why people can assert that George Soros is promoting anti-Semitism.