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    Hamas’ massacre of Jews in Israel boosts anti-Semitism on California campuses
    • October 17, 2023

    Everyone in academe knows anti-Semitism is the world’s oldest bigotry. But at colleges across California and the nation, this prejudice has become increasingly acceptable and visible in the days since the Oct. 7 massacre of hundreds of Israeli Jews by the terror group Hamas.

    In many campus demonstrations, students have screamed that the mass slaying of more than 1,200 men, women, children, babies, the elderly and unarmed concert goers was purely the fault of Israel. But it was not Israel that put maps showing the locations of baby nurseries and schools in the hands of killers from the Hamas terror organization.

    Meanwhile, college administrators were exposing their own weakness and timidity.

    None of this is new in California, where members of a group called Students for Justice in Palestine (SPJ) have a long history of harassing Jewish students who express sympathy or support for Israel, the world’s only country that is expressly a Jewish homeland.

    Most such on-campus episodes have been conducted or supported by SPJ, whose first chapter, at UC Berkeley, was founded by “financial patrons…connected to Islamist terror organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,” according to the Anti-Defamation League. Listed among the founders is UC Berkeley Prof. Hatem Bazian.

    SPJ has long claimed it is not anti-Semitic; merely anti-Israel. But applauding the murder of dozens of babies slain solely because they were born Jewish is a pure form of anti-Semitism.

    Among other episodes, SPJ once set up a fake checkpoint near Berkeley’s Sather Gate campus entrance, using cardboard guns to stop and frisk anyone they believed to be Jewish. No one was expelled or even reprimanded for this.

    At Stanford University, according to a federal discrimination lawsuit, a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program in the student counseling service “advanced anti-Semitic tropes concerning Jewish power, conspiracy and control, and endorsed the narrative that (most) Jews support white supremacy.” In fact, Jews were leading supporters of civil rights in America long before the Freedom Riders of the 1960s, where they made up about half of all white participants.

    After the Hamas massacre, SPJ members and supporters at Stanford hung banners on campus saying, among other things, that “The illusion of Israel is burning.” SPJ published a column in the Stanford Daily calling Hamas’ actions, including butchering of babies, “part of the ongoing struggle…”

    As on other campuses, there were also graffiti claiming “Israel was solely responsible.” This essentially accused the victims of responsibility for their own murders.

    Perhaps the most infamous October campus incident occurred in a Stanford freshman class where an instructor ordered Jewish students into a corner reserved for “colonialists.” The same instructor trivialized the murder of Jews, reportedly asking Jewish students how many died in the Holocaust. When one replied “6 million,” the instructor reportedly responded, “Oh, is that all?”

    Stanford quickly pulled the instructor from classes while it “investigates.”

    What’s been the overall response of university leaders at the most sought-after California campuses, people charged with maintaining safety for all students, including Jews and Palestinians?

    Stanford’s top officials made a brief statement saying they were “deeply saddened by the death and human suffering.” They also said pro-Hamas banners were OK, but should be relocated elsewhere on campus.

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    Lambasted for this response, Stanford’s acting president and provost later ate a Sabbath dinner in the Hillel Jewish student center to demonstrate their sympathy. Even so, the response amounted to little.

    UC officials were equally tepid. Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ said “…We decry any calls for violence in any form or support for terrorism as we continue to mourn the loss of innocent life…”

    And UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said “…We must be vigilant that we do not allow anguish over what is occurring internationally to turn into resentment or mistreatment of our fellow Bruins…”

    None mentioned possible action against perpetrators of anti-Semitic actions. This was consistent with UCLA’s never acting against students who once hounded a Jewish student into resigning an elected campus government post she had won.

    And so, as is common around the nation, there is no sign yet that any major California campus will even try slightly to prevent the further spread of anti-Semitism.

    Email Thomas Elias at [email protected].

    ​ Orange County Register