EXTRA: The Anti-Semitism at UCLA

EXTRA: The Anti-Semitism


Leonard Zwelling

         That’s enough.

         The BDS, boycott, divestments and sanctions, movements on
college campuses that aim to economically target the State of Israel for its
heavy-handed use of force against the Arabs who live in the former British
Mandate of Palestine (aka, self-titled Palestinians) is bad enough. I wonder
how these young people would feel about missiles coming into their homes and tunnels
allowing invaders to kill their families. Oh, but that wasn’t sufficiently
heuristic. Young people are supposed to have moronic ideas about the real
world, the one that contains people wishing you dead and your country pushed
into the sea.

         Now their idiocy has metastasized to their own


         Adam Nagourney in the NY Times (March 6) reported on a
deeply concerning episode on the campus of a major academic institution. Rachel
Beyda, a sophomore economics major at UCLA who is pursuing a career in law wanted to be
on the Student Council’s Judicial Board. Her nomination was blocked by this
statement from Fabienne Roth, a member of the Undergraduate Students Association

         Speaking directly to Ms. Beyda, Ms. Roth asked, “Given that
you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community, how do you
see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?”

         Hmmmm—unbiased?  Now
there’s a question!

         A debate ensued after Ms. Beyda left the room among the
members of the Council. After 40 minutes they voted to exclude Ms. Beyda from
consideration for membership on what is the equivalent of the undergraduate
Supreme Court. Fortunately, there was an adult in the room, a faculty adviser
who informed the collected geniuses of UCLA that being Jewish is not a
conflict-of-interest and a revote was taken. Ms. Beyda was unanimously

         But the damage had been done.

         Issue one is Israel. Can you be anti-Israel and not be
anti-semitic. Answer: NO! Israel is the Jewish state. It is the heart and soul
of the Jewish people who have been kicked around enough for the past 3000 years
or so, most recently in the Holocaust, to warrant their own slice of land in a
very hostile neighborhood. It is the only democracy in the region and the best
ally the US has in the area. Neither Israel nor the US has behaved perfectly
toward others in their years as established democracies. American white people
have enslaved black people and driven Indians off of their land so that the
white people could take it. Israelis did the same to the indigenous Arab
peoples of the land they wished to occupy, develop and use as a fortress so
that Jews would have a place to go when someone was trying to kill us again.

         What does this have to do with the undergraduate students of
UCLA? Nothing. They are free to have their opinions, of course, but if they are
prejudicial and injurious to the careers of fellow students who happen to be
Jewish, that is unacceptable.

         Third, anti-Semitism is on the rise again in Europe. As I
wrote recently, anti-anti-Semitism is the new black among European leaders.
Personally, I don’t trust them any more now than I would have in 1933. The
attacks in Paris and Copenhagen are enough for me. I agree with Prime Minister
Netanyahu. Open the gates of Israel for all Jews who wish to find safe haven.

         Fourth, I wish I could say it is just the young who are
delusional. When the leadership of such fine institutions as Harvard, Johns
Hopkins, Children’s National Medical Center in DC and MD Anderson are willing
to take large donations from known anti-Semites, what kind of example does that
set for the young? Bad!

         The students who opposed Ms. Beyda have written letters of
apology to the campus newspaper. That’s a good start. Personally, I think they
all need diversity training. Goodness knows what they are doing to the black
and gay students who wish entry into the upper reaches of student government.

         Personally, I think the apology lets them off easy as they
are still in leadership roles for which they are clearly ill equipped. Of
course, MD Anderson is used to that, too, given the track records of the
appointed, unelected executive leadership.

         Let’s sum up and make it simple.

         You cannot be anti-Israel and not be anti-Semitic. We in America
can condemn what Israel does as we would other allies. We can expect Israel to
condemn what we do when it is not in their interests or antithetical to their
world view. Friends and family can criticize without turning against each

is the Jewish homeland and is the life blood of the Jewish people. If you are
against Israel such that you wish to excise a pound of economic flesh, no
matter how wrong-headed the Israeli government’s decisions may be, you are

         Second, in this incident at UCLA, the word Israel was
supposedly not uttered. This was simply a case of blatant anti-Semitism, so
let’s not dilute the truth with BDS BS.

         Third, thank goodness there was an adult in the room who was
willing to do his job. That’s more than I can say about the UT System in Austin. I see no
adults there yet. We shall all see on March 18 whether the former Navy SEAL is
ready to take charge or is he just going to kick the can down the road with his flipper.

         We are in troubling times. The Middle East is
disintegrating. Europe is clearly under internal attack and many of its young
people are seeking to join the most bloodthirsty group (ISIS) the world has
seen since the Nazis.

         At this time as in no other since WWII, the US needs all the
loyal friends it can get as do democracy, capitalism and freedom. Israel is
that friend in that part of the world and the reception that Prime Minister
Netanyahu received in Congress was encouraging and appropriate. I don’t care
what President Obama thinks, especially about Israel. Like his counterparts in
Austin, he appears both clumsy and clueless.

         I am glad the NY Times chose to cover this outrage so well
and hope it serves as a warning to all who would discriminate against any
minority for any reason. This is no longer tolerable. You would think on the 50th
anniversary of the march in Selma, we would have learned that by now. That some
states are trying to undo aspects of the Voting Rights Bill with encouragement
from the Supreme Court suggests there is still much work to be done.

         After 3000 years, so does the behavior of some of the
members of UCLA’s Student Council. But, like Prime Minister Netanyahu, I no
longer worry about whether or not the Jewish people can take care of business.
We can and we will.

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