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[casi] (no subject)

I cannot fully express what it feels like to have to
>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 medireview 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
>and 19 years old.  They spoke about their lives at
SFSU and of their
>for Israel, and they sang of peace.  They wore new
Hillel t-shirts that
>"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
>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
>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
>"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
>told not to arrest anyone, and that if they did, "it
would start a riot."
>told them that it already was a riot.  Finally, the
>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
>corner of the plaza, while an angry, out
>of control mob, literally chanting for our deaths,
surrounded us.  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 student 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
>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
>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?

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