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Blatant Anti-Semitism Rears Its Ugly Head—at California Universities
California universities, especially such flagships of the UC system as UC Davis and UC Berkeley, should be the last places one would expect to find an outpouring of the crudest bigotry. Nonetheless, that is what both institutions are facing following the posting of viciously anti-Semitic fliers on their campuses.
The fliers portrayed a number of prominent figures, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, professor Christine Blasey Ford, liberal philanthropist George Soros, and attorney Michael Avenatti, with a Star of David or the words “Good Goy” on their foreheads, surrounding an image of recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The caption read “Every time some anti-white, anti-American, anti-freedom event takes place, you look at it and it’s Jews behind it.”
The final phrase of this statement bears an eerie resemblance to the Nazi slogan, “Die Juden sind an allem Schuld”—“The Jews are responsible for everything,” meaning everything the Nazis regarded as unfortunate. But the notion that the Jews are a secret cabal—the very word comes from the Hebrew kabbalah,the name of the Jewish mystical tradition—who are responsible for all the world’s ills goes back much further than the Nazis. It was a staple of popular belief in Europe in the Middle Ages, when Jews were blamed for a variety of public misfortunes, including the Black Death, which was alleged to be caused by Jews poisoning wells. Such slanders of a whole people led to horrifying massacres of thousands of innocent people.
So it’s with deep concern that we at Islamic Networks Group (ING) hear of these incidents at our public universities, which are supposed to be bastions of tolerance and multiculturalism. Muslims, in particular, are all too aware of such tropes as these, since they have likewise been their targets and victims. Claims that Muslims are uncivilized, violence-prone, intolerant, and misogynistic go back at least as far as the epoch of European colonialism in the Middle East and South Asia, and, like the anti-Semitic tropes expressed in these fliers, are still very much alive and influential in the US and Europe today, as recent political events have all too clearly shown.
The leadership of these universities and their student bodies have taken strong positions against this latest outbreak of overt bigotry, but we believe that it is incumbent on all our communities to speak out and work actively not only against this incident but also against the anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and all forms of bigotry still rampant in our society both overtly and covertly.
We at ING stand in solidarity with the Jewish community against these attacks and pledge that they will serve to further energize our efforts to counter bigotry with education and interfaith and intercultural engagement. We urge all who are concerned with the future of our state and our nation to do the same.