Glenn Reynolds caught this article in the Village Voice about the SFSU incident. He's also got a lot of other great stuff; check out his site and read down a bit. Just search on SFSU; you're sure to find it. permalink
There's a new article in the SF Bulletin regarding the events on SFSU. Shelley Powers sent me an email regarding it, and also wrote a post about it. She says the event has been blown out of proportion. She writes:
I am very interested in hearing from people who were there and directly involved. That is why when I first received the letter, I immediately sent email to the other three webloggers who were carbon-copied the letter and asked them not to print it until I fact-checked the events. I subsequently contacted Laurie Zoloth and the program director for the SFSU Hillel. When I was confident the letter was not a fake, I published it.
Shelley has this to say about the part of the SF article she quoted:
Indeed. Perception is important. Interestingly, Shelley did not quote this part of the same article:
Yes, indeed, the truth is important. Absolutely, perspective matters. The perspective you're going to get from a public relations director is going to be one that completely benefits the university. The truth will not necessarily match what the PR people say. Ms. Tuchman's account certainly falls under the "heated" conversation definition, but--there's that perspective thing again. One person's "heated conversation" is another person's hate and rage.
I'm going to take a wild guess and say the PR Director was not at the rally. Ms. Tuchler was. Laurie Zoloth was. President Corrigan was not. And no, I wasn't. But I did take the time to make sure that events weren't being fabricated. You may not like to hear that hatred like this happened, but it did. Was it exaggerated? I don't believe so. I wasn't there. But I did watch the O'Reilly show Tuesday night that had student representatives from both sides of the issue, and the Palestinian student was agitated and enraged while only talking to O'Reilly, and the Hillel representative was calmly pointing out the events of the day. Funny, that.
Unfortunately, this isn't the end of my story. Anti-Semitism exists, continues, and must be fought--every time and every place it rears its ugly head. And the truth has always been important to me. Not the perception of truth: Objective truth. There is a difference. permalink
Well, that break didn't last long. I checked my email and found this letter from Sara Goldblatt, the Program Coordinator for the SFSU Hillel. It's another account of the SFSU Pro-Israel rally. And she has the President's email for us, too. Keep those cards and letters coming. It's interesting to note that the President's letter was not written until after a meeting complaining about the incident (see below).
Also, don't miss Mike Sanders' superb essay that collects the latest news on the web of the SFSU incident while also making his usual thoughtful remarks. Also, belated thanks to Kathie Heijtink for her help in publicizing (and stimulating debate) over the incident.
Perhaps I should just publish my cell phone number and you folks can contact me directly? (Insert silly ascii grin here.) Hey, tomorrow, I'm going to see at least three apartments; try not to do too much while I'm gone. permalink
Glenn Reynolds, a.k.a. Instapundit, wrote his Fox News column on the riot and aftermath.
Yeah, I agree. But the riot was against Jews, and for some reason, that made it seem less important to the world at large. I'm just saying.
Also via Glenn, an article from the Jerusalem Post. I haven't seen it yet; my friends' connection isn't the best. But the good news is that this incident is being publicized. It needs to be. We need to stop this behavior now, before blood is shed.
Another article in a San Francisco-area Jewish newspaper makes me wonder how long the reporter stayed. I'm guessing not for the whole scene.
I'm leaving for Richmond this morning, and will be staying there for about a week. I'm bringing the laptop, but I have little time for current events when Heidi and I get together. Expect a blog in the evening and morning, but not so much during the day unless I get some downtime. And as the reason I'm taking this trip is to find an apartment in Richmond, I don't expect a lot of downtime. Actually, I do expect a lot of downtime, but not that kind. My whole body relaxes as soon as I get out of New Jersey. Well, no, I hate driving through Delaware (what a ripoff!). Maryland. That's the ticket. I relax by the time I'm halfway through Maryland. I just adore the bridge over the Susquehanna, although I can never drive over it without thinking of the old Abbott & Costello routine. ("Susquehanna hat company.")
In the meantime, there are a bunch of emails that will be going unanswered until I can catch up (sorry, folks). Also, I'm suspending the new email rules because I got an earful (a good one, not a bad one) from someone who I've forgotten if I'm allowed to quote or not, so I'll just go back to what I've been doing before I made a rule. At least until I have a little time to breathe and think.
Go hang out with Josh or Joe or Kathy or Gary while I'm busy driving. Sardonic Views tipped me to the SFGate editorial, but the archives aren't quite working yet, I am assured they're going to be fixed soon. Just read the main blog, it's not far down. Or check my links page and help yourself to the smorgasbord. Dang, I never did get to write my Sexism in Blogland blog. Or my Third Watch Season Finale blog. Or my I So Predicted Willow As The Big Bad This Year blog. Maybe next week. permalink
There was an editorial in SFGate today, and a representative from the SFSU Hillel organization and one from the Palestinian counter-demonstrators were both on O'Reilly tonight.
I don't have time to dig for a transcript, but I think O'Reilly was way too soft on the Palestinian. Then again, I think she made a total ass of herself, so maybe he felt sorry for her.
Hm. Message from the Prez and The Corner (besides Instapundit) yesterday. O'Reilly and an editorial in the SFGate today.
Folks, I think you got the message out. Keep up the good work. permalink
Joe took some precious time away from sitting shiva for his grandmother and came up with a great list of things we can do in the wake of the SFSU riot. Here are some of his ideas:
The President has another letter to the community. Although I'm not pleased with his minimizing the events:
President Corrigan makes some promising statements:
I hope that the review of the videotape brings real action against those who threatened the students and their guests. In the meantime, I think a little extra push won't hurt.
Many of you have emailed me the same question regarding the post below on the anti-Semitic near-riot at SFSU: What can we do?
I'm working on the question. But in the meantime, I think publicity is our strongest weapon. Hatred grows best when it remains unchallenged, and there is nothing that a college hates more than bad publicity. So I have put Laurie Zoloth's letter in a plain text file for you to download or cut and paste. Email it to your friends. Email it to talk-radio personalities. Email it to your local newspapers and television stations. Email it to anyone you can think of who will find it an outrage and want to do something about it.
Send an email to President Corrigan thanking him for his strong response to the events of May 7th. Urge him to punish those involved in unlawful actions. But first, reread Laurie's letter. What I would like to know is why the Campus police refused to do anything when asked. Will that be part of the investigation as well?
This is a message from Laurie Zoloth, the director of the Jewish Studies program at San Francisco State University. These are her thoughts after participating in the demonstration on campus last week.
Things like this don't just make me sick. They make me afraid to be a Jew. Americans need to wake up and stop this kind of hatred.
Today, all day, I have been listening to the reactions of students, parents, and community members who were on campus yesterday. I have received email from around the country, and phone calls, worried for both my personal safety on the campus, and for the entire intellectual project of having a Jewish Studies program, and recruiting students to a campus that in the last month has become a venue for hate speech and anti-Semitism. After nearly 7 years as director of Jewish Studies, and after nearly two decades of life here as a student, faculty member and wife of the Hillel rabbi, after years of patient work and difficult civic discourse, I am saddened to see SFSU return to its notoriety as a place that teaches anti-Semitism, hatred for America, and hatred, above all else, for the Jewish State of Israel, a state that I cherish.
I cannot fully express what it feels like to walk across campus daily, past maps of the Middle East that do not include Israel, past posters of cans of soup with labels on them of drops of blood and dead babies, labeled "canned Palestinian children meat, slaughtered according to Jewish rites under American license," past poster after poster calling out "Zionism=racism, and Jews=Nazis." This is not civic discourse, this is not free speech, and this is the Weimar Republic with brown shirts it cannot control. This is the casual introduction of the medieval blood libel and virulent hatred smeared around our campus in a manner so ordinary that it hardly excites concern--except if you are a Jew, and you understand that hateful words have always led to hateful deeds.
Yesterday, the hatred coalesced in a hate mob. Yesterday's Peace In The Middle East Rally was completely organized by the Hillel students, mostly 18 and 19 years old. They spoke about their lives at SFSU and of their support for Israel, and they sang of peace. They wore new Hillel t-shirts that said "peace" in English, Hebrew and Arabic. A Russian immigrant, in his new English, spoke of loving his new country, a haven from anti-Semitism. A sophomore spoke about being here only one year, and about the support and community she found at the Hillel House. Both spoke of how hard it was to live as a Jew on this campus how isolating, how terrifying. A surfer guy, spoke of his love of Jesus, and his support for Israel, and a young freshman earnestly asked for a moment of silence, and all the Jews stood still, listening as the shouted hate of the counter demonstrators filled the air with abuse.
As soon as the community supporters left, the 50 students who remained praying in a minyan for the traditional afternoon prayers, or chatting, or cleaning up after the rally, talking -- were surrounded by a large, angry crowd of Palestinians and their supporters. But they were not calling for peace. They screamed at us to "go back to Russia" and they screamed that they would kill us all, and other terrible things.
They surrounded the praying students, and the elderly women who are our elder college participants, who survived the Shoah, who helped shape the Bay Area peace movement, only to watch as a threatening crowd shoved the Hillel students against the wall of the plaza. I had invited members of my Orthodox community to join us, members of my Board of Visitors, and we stood there in despair. Let me remind you that in building the SFSU Jewish Studies program, we asked the same people for their support and that our Jewish community, who pay for the program once as taxpayers and again as Jews, generously supports our program. Let me remind you that ours is arguably one of the Jewish Studies programs in the country most devoted to peace, justice and diversity since our inception.
As the counter demonstrators poured into the plaza, screaming at the Jews to "Get out or we will kill you" and "Hitler did not finish the job," I turned to the police and to every administrator I could find and asked them to remove the counter demonstrators from the Plaza, to maintain the separation of 100 feet that we had been promised.
The police told me that they had been told not to arrest anyone, and that if they did, "it would start a riot." I told them that it already was a riot. Finally, Fred Astren, the Northern California Hillel Director and I went up directly to speak with Dean Saffold, who was watching from her post a flight above us. She told us she would call in the SF police. But the police could do nothing more than surround the Jewish students and community members who were now trapped in a corner of the plaza, grouped under the flags of Israel, while an angry, out of control mob, literally chanting for our deaths, surrounded us. Dr. Astren and I went to stand with our students.
This was neither free speech nor discourse, but raw, physical assault.
Was I afraid? No, really more sad that I could not protect my students. Not one administrator came to stand with us. I knew that if a crowd of Palestinian or Black students had been there, surrounded by a crowd of white racists screaming racist threats, shielded by police, the faculty and staff would have no trouble deciding which side to stand on. In fact, the scene recalled for me many moments in the Civil Rights movement, or the United Farm Workers movement, when, as a student, I stood with Black and Latino colleagues, surrounded by hateful mobs. Then, as now, I sang peace songs, and then, as now, the hateful crowd screamed at me, "Go back to Russia, Jew." How ironic that it all took place under the picture of Cesar Chavez, who led the very demonstrations that I took part in as a student.
There was no safe way out of the Plaza. We had to be marched back to the Hillel House under armed SF police guard, and we had to have a police guard remain outside Hillel. I was very proud of the students, who did not flinch and who did not, even one time, resort to violence or anger in retaliation. Several community members who were swept up in the situation simply could not believe what they saw. One young student told me, "I have read about anti-Semitism in books, but this is the first time I have seen real anti-Semites, people who just hate me without knowing me, just because I am a Jew." She lives in the dorms. Her mother calls and urges her to transfer to a safer campus.
Today is advising day. For me, the question is an open one: what do I advise the Jewish students to do?
I received an email from Laurie confirming that the above is her letter.
And she added this:
It took almost no time to find these links from the SFSU website: Letters from the President of SFSU regarding the tolerance displayed after September 11th. I can find no such essay regarding the riot of last week.
Messages from President
Robert A. Corrigan
And now that you're finished, here, read this gem from the SFSU website (emphasis mine):
Guess they should have sent the Palestinian students and their supporters there first, huh?
The only news article I could find was a brief mention near the end of this, which complains only of anti-Semitic slurs yelled out.
Tell me again how this is anti-Zionism, and not anti-Semitism. I'm dying to hear an explanation. Well, no, not yet. But if it were up to these protestors, I would be. permalink