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I cannot fully express what it feels like to have 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 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 >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, 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, 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 >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? > > __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? LAUNCH - Your Yahoo! Music Experience http://launch.yahoo.com _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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