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February 26, 2015 11:28 am

UC Berkeley Student Government Unanimously Passes Bill Condemning Antisemitism

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A swastika that was spray-painted on the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) Jewish fraternity house at University of California, Davis last month. Photo: YouTube screenshot via Sacramento Bee. – Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC), the student government at University of California (UC), Berkeley, on Wednesday passed a bill condemning antisemitism in a unanimous 20-0 vote.

The bill details a history of antisemitic incidents in the 10-school UC system over the past five years and states that the ASUC “should respect the right of the Jewish students at UC Berkeley to define, within the guidelines of the nationally recognized definition put forth by the United States State Department, what is and is not antisemitism, in the same manner in which other communities are granted that right.” The State Department says, “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions, and religious facilities.”

“As a brother of [the Jewish fraternity] AEPi, I saw the horrible antisemitic actions that occurred [last month] at our UC Davis chapter where swastikas were spray-painted on their house as well as discrimination against a Jewish student within the UCLA student government,” said ASUC Senator Ori Herschmann, the bill’s sponsor. “It’s extremely important for the ASUC and student governments alike to actively fight antisemitism and make sure all Jewish students feel safe on campus.”

Herschmann’s mention of UCLA refers to a recent incident—also described in the bill’s text—in which Jewish student Rachel Beyda, who was vying for membership on the school’s undergraduate Judicial Board, was asked by a student government member, “Given that you’re a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community… how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view in your position?”

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  • This is not surprising. Leftists have generally opposed their version of “anti-Semitism” while decrying “Zionism.” See my blog questioning the distinction:

  • Back on the East coast we have long looked at U of C, especially Berkeley as students so open minded that their brains were at risk of falling out. It’s good to see a move in the correct direction, embracing the ‘Law of the Land’.

  • Mike P.

    Unfortunately, all too often, the Berkeley community fosters an environment of anti-Semitism through the elevation of the Palestinian “narrative”, the demonization of Israel, the silencing of dissenting views, promoting of one-sided beliefs, and intolerance for respectful discussion on “litmus test” issues.

    This is directly responsible for creating animus toward Israel and toward affiliated Jews at Berkeley.

    The Berkeley community is willfully blind and willfully silent regarding their culpability in resuscitating anti-Semitism in this modern manifestation–demonization of the only place where Jews may have political autonomy, self-reliance and a refuge without depending upon non-Jews to grant them toleration to survive.

  • Julian Clovelley

    There is work to be done on all sides to rid the world of antisemitism. I firmly believe we can. But it will require changes in the Jewish and Israeli Worldview, too, to do it. Jews too need to accept that Jewishness is a religion and not a race so that the world can be invited to share the good within it, whatever their own personal religion, or secular nature. Exclusivity always invites hostility.

    What is needed is a new Talmud, but an open and ongoing one – a living expression of spirituality, morality, understanding, and love, that includes the world – rather than shuts it out

    The students of the University of California are to be applauded for restoring balance. BDS should never be allowed to become an antisemitic movement. Whether one agrees with it or not (and I do not personally support it) its validity can only be respected so long as it is a Human Rights Movement

    Thank you California, this Gentile is with you all the way. Antisemitism is a blot on the face of humanity. It is cruel, unkind, unreasoning, and a product of misinformation, backwardness and evil.

    In my personal view no person should be victimised for the environment of his birth, be he born rich or poor. We are conscious beings struggling to get out of the Stone Age, and to develop the cultures that once sustained us, but now hold us back. Racism of any kind, tribalism, caste, or class systems, are all items that now hold us back,

    We can do better. We are better than that

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    Except of course when they do it. If American Jews had any stones at all they’d boycott Berkeley.

    • Julian Clovelley

      No Wombat – rather join it. Share the good in Jewish culture – the hospitality, the concern for the Rule of Law, the ability to share, the love of children, the joy and pleasure of fellowship.

      Share the glorious music, the bright lights, the food, the comedy and even the sadness. Let’s dismantle the barriers and the architecture of misconception and misunderstanding. It can be done. But do it carefully and simply. Don’t argue politics or religion all the time – sometimes just share. Include Gentiles in your friendship circles and join theirs

      It will sound so silly – but last Chanukah, one group brought my son and his friends a tray full of doughnuts accompanied with a happy smile

      How can you hate someone who brings you a tray full of doughnuts and lets you share their fun?