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Defining Antisemitism Down at Hunter College

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The Jewish Week reports:

Is the social work school at Hunter College coddling antisemitism, or is it part of an institution that's deeply committed to protecting Jews from prejudice?

That question has come to the fore after a pro-Israel organization filed a federal complaint alleging a "pervasively hostile campus climate for Jewish students" at the New York City school and its Silberman School of Social Work, in particular.

I have no personal knowledge of the situation at Hunter College, but this is not reassuring:

A student leader told The Jewish Week that while she doesn't feel targeted by overt antisemitism on campus, Jewish students often feel uncomfortable sharing their opinions on Israel for fear of drawing backlash, and that, at times, anti-Israel rhetoric does veer into antisemitism.

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  1. Reading the article, I get these takeaways:

    -There are antisemitic students and profs at Hunter who have said bad things.

    -The college administration, to the extent modern "academic freedom" principles permit, has disavowed and denounced antisemitism which crops up on campus.

    -The Zoom sabotage seems to have been dealt with, but personnel privacy probably won't let us see how much it's been dealt with.

    -The social-work people may have told a couple of Orthodox Jewish students that their Orthodox Jewish faith may interfere with their work.

    -The campus Hillel, and plenty of other Jewish figures located by the newspaper, are full of praise of the administration re fighting antisemitism.

    So I guess it comes down to a group seeking sanctions against a university because some of its students and profs spout antisemitism - that is, they want the feds to encourage college to practice censorship.

    This would not be the best of precedents when the woke forces are trying to shut down campus debates on race/ethnicity/etc.

    1. They have a SJP and a MSA group on campus, both known for anti Jew and anti Israel activities.

      Student fees fund these hate groups.

      Ergo, Hunter College promotes hate.

  2. As an American who is Jewish (not a Jewish-American) I for one have no tolerance for the position that somehow Israel is Judaism and Judaism is Israel.

    Israel is nation that was founded by the Jewish people and is governed by the Jewish people. It is independent of the religion of Judaism and to support or criticize Israel is not to support or criticize Judaism. And please, we need to end the charade whereby evangelicals who promote the view that anyone who does not take Jesus as his/her personal savior is doomed to eternal damnation but then try to sanitize their blatant anti-Semitism by expressing support for Israel.

    Criticize Israel if you want, and yes there is basis for criticism the same as there is a basis to criticize any nation, but no one, absolutely no one should take that as anti-Semitism without additional evidence. And no one should take support of Israel as evidence that one is not against the Jewish people and/or the Jewish religion.

    1. Sure, but there's often "other evidence."

      Of course, there are people who criticize badness in all countries equally.

      Even a double standard (Israel being judged more harshly) need not be anti-Semitic. Maybe an American holds Israel to a higher standard than other countries because Israel gets more US aid than a lot of other countries (given there's no treaty of alliance that I know of).

      And maybe the critic is Jewhis and simply think that Jews should be held to a higher standard because you gotta police your own.

      But there's a contingent - some of them apparently at Hunter - which finds in anti-Zionism a very useful outlet for anti-Jewish sentiment.

      1. In this case, there is no other evidence I'm seeing - it seems purely about a particular viewpoint about Israel.

        That also sucks, but I do think invoking antisemitism without more is overinclusive.

        1. From the Times of Israel article...

          StandWithUs’s complaint centers on a pro-Palestinian protest during a Zoom class on May 20, the day the most recent fighting in Israel and Gaza ended. According to the complaint and Fox News reporting at the time, during a class in the social work school with around 200 attendees, a group of students changed their on-screen names to “Free Palestine: Decolonize” and took turns reading a 20-minute long manifesto accusing Israel of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and, according to the complaint, genocide.

          In the chat accompanying the Zoom class, one protester reportedly wrote, “The Holocaust has been used as a tool. The fear of anti-Semitism as the fear of ‘this could happen again’ is being used preemptively to oppress and kill others.”

          Yeah, I think that crossed the line into antisemitism, don't you?

          1. For that one protester? Absolutely.

            But that's not what the OP argues.

            1. Did you miss EV's entire last paragraph? There are at least two layers of antisemitism implied by the young lady's comment.

              1. See below, I don’t think ‘as a Jew’ is nearly as suggestive as Bernstein does.

                1. Reading that clause out of her sentence implies there are people at the school who, at least somewhat regularly, attack people who mind their own business (by not sharing their political opinions) for no reason at all.

                    1. Are you suddenly of the opinion that students shouldn't be able to freely express themselves? or just when Bernstein wants to stifle voices under the auspices of anti-semitism?

            2. If it were one, meh. It was an entire group. Different story, Sarcastr0.

              Do you ever run into problems at work where you know that if you do not nip it in the bud early, it will become a ball-buster? That is how I see Hunter College right now. They have a growing problem that can be nipped in the bud.

              1. How long, in your judgment, before those lefties at Hunter begin to emulate the right-wingers and start marching with torches, chanting "Jews will not replace us," Commenter_XY?

                If you want people to stop criticizing Israel, encourage Israel to (1) stop aligning with the losing side of the American culture war and (2) stop engaging in immoral right-wing conduct.

                If you want to alienate the American mainstream, don't change a thing.

              2. Oh, oh, C_XY,
                You have provoked the psuedo-Reverend onto his usual BS hobby horse.

                1. Meh, I have Arthur right where I need him: Visible to all.

    2. Another American who is Jewish, who absolutely agrees with this.

      I'm usually not attacked if I don't share my thoughts about Israel, too. But I'm fairly sure our host is doesn't mind that.

    3. Sidney is a Democrat, thus a mortal enemy of Israel.

    4. And please, we need to end the charade whereby evangelicals who promote the view that anyone who does not take Jesus as his/her personal savior is doomed to eternal damnation but then try to sanitize their blatant anti-Semitism by expressing support for Israel.

      Even if one restricts "anyone who does not take Jesus as his/her personal savior is doomed to eternal damnation" to those who simply do not identify themselves as Christians that still accounts for about 68% of the entire world's population, or about 5.3 billion people. Those who identify themselves as Jewish account for ~0.26% of that set, making your assertion that the aforementioned belief about non-Christians is "antisemitism" beyond idiotic.

  3. This is an extremely one-sided view of the linked article. As Cal points out, it quotes numerous Jewish figures on campus praising the school for combating anti-semitism.

    In some cases the complaint is hard to understand.

    A student leader told The Jewish Week that while she doesn’t feel targeted by overt antisemitism on campus, Jewish students often feel uncomfortable sharing their opinions on Israel for fear of drawing backlash, and that, at times, anti-Israel rhetoric does veer into antisemitism.

    Well, maybe it does so veer, which would be unfortunate, but "backlash" against a controversial opinion is expected, isn't it? That it makes some Jewish students uncomfortable to be told their views of the I-P conflict are mistaken does not make that response antisemitic.

    1. Except for the part where speaking out against Israel’s Palestinian policies is conflated with anti-semitism. In the US anyway.

    2. Knowing that there’s at least a dozen students on campus who want you dead is enough to stifle conversation and instill fear. That’s exactly what SJP and MSA do.

      Thunder has a SJP and a MSA group on campus, both known for anti Jew and anti Israel activities.

      Student fees fund these hate groups.

      Ergo, Hunter College promotes hate.

      1. Hunter.

        Damn spellcheck.

  4. But most troubling is that she apparently does not think this any of this means that she is "discriminated against" as a Jewish person.

    It's troubling that you believe that the anti-Israel viewpoint is inherently anti-Semitic. And it's troubling because I expect a more nuanced ability from the posters on this forum to separate political views from cultural views.

    1. you believe that the anti-Israel viewpoint is inherently anti-Semitic

      - I believe it too. I think this proposition is self-evident.
      - You are misrepresenting Prof. Bernstein's point. He is talking about Jewish students being afraid to voice the pro-Israel viewpoint as evidence of an antisemitic climate on campus.

      1. He is talking about Jewish students being afraid to voice the pro-Israel viewpoint as evidence of an antisemitic climate on campus.

        Why is the fear of expressing that viewpoint unique to Jewish students? Seems any student that expressed that viewpoint should be fearful...given the illiberal nature of the Left these days. That's why it's not anti-Semitic. It's the viewpoint that's in disfavor, not the cultural background of those that hold the viewpoint.

      2. People are afraid to voice controversial opinions because they are controversial and people will realize that the individual holds a controversial opinion. Welcome to having controversial opinions!

  5. It sounds like some people want to depict any criticism of Israel's immoral, Trump-tainted, superstition-laced, right-wing belligerence as anti-Semitism.

    This seems mostly a religious right effort (the complaining group recruits from the Sekulow grifting operation) to own some libs and perhaps try to walk off some of their disaffectedness in modern America.

    1. Hi, Boomer. This time the Jews have guns. People like you will not be able to kill them that easily.

      1. That is true, DaivdBehar. We Jews do have guns and will use them.

        Never again.

        1. All-talk clingers are among my favorite culture war casualties.

        2. "have guns and will use them."

          Indeed. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/14/world/middleeast/gaza-protests-palestinians-us-embassy.html

          "More than 2,700 Palestinian demonstrators were injured on Monday — at least 1,350 by gunfire — along the border fence with Gaza."

          1. Teefah,
            As it should be.

            1. Right wing scumbag supports Arabs dying. Imagine my shock.

          2. Next time, try to cross the border legally.

            1. Who says they didn’t? Are you suggesting that they were citizens of a foreign country? And if they are, do Palestinians have a corresponding right to shoot IDF soldiers when the cross to their side of the “border”?

              1. The illegal border crossers were not Israeli citizens. 🙂

                Aunt Teefah, I have close to zero sympathy for Israel's judeocidal neighbors. From my perspective, it is quite simple: Never again means never again. Since it takes guns to enforce that, so be it. But that is Israel's problem to deal with, not America's.

                Hunter College, OTOH, may have a nascent problem that can be nipped in the bud, right now. I hope that they do.

                1. "The illegal border crossers were not Israeli citizens."

                  So then what were they? If they aren't citizens, they must be foreign nationals, no? Surely the Only Democracy In The Middle East wouldn't abuse its minority population by purposely keeping them in an undefined legal limbo, would they?

                  1. You seem to be stuck in 2004. Israel doesn't occupy, control, or govern Gaza; it has no power to put Gaza's residents in "limbo" of any short. Gaza's residents are not "its minority population."

                    1. So Gaza must be a sovereign nation foreign to Israel then, correct? Making Israel's blockade thereof an act of war. And I'm sure you would have no problem with Gaza defending its sovereignty by force when it is infringed against, right?

    2. "Trump-tainted"

      The university staff union referred to Israel's "establishment as a settler colonial state in 1948." (see below)

      Donald Trump was around two years old at that time. Either Trump was a really precocious two-year old, influencing Israeli policies in 1948, or Hunter's anti-Israel contingent isn't limiting its criticism to the Trump era.

      1. Israel's right-wing government chose its lot with Trump. The cost of that right-wingery for Netanyahoos should be the removal of the American-subsidized political, economic, and military skirts that Israel has operated behind for decades.

        Most Americans oppose immoral right-wing belligerence at home. Why should they support it -- particularly when steeped in misogynistic religion -- anywhere else, let alone at great and varied cost?

        1. You know what? I'm getting the impression that you can't carry on a normal conversation with give and take of ideas. I mean, it's not like the other commenters are the best conversationalists, but they will sometimes at least allude to what the other person said and comment on it.

          You, on the other hand, seem set off by certain trigger words, like "Trump," into regurgitating a set of talking points.

          1. He probably did not go away when someone threatened, "Go away or I will replace you with a very small shell script".

          2. I introduced Trump to this conversation, you bigoted rube . . . after Israel foolishly made support for its ugly right-wing policies a left-right divider in American politics. When Israel cuddled with Trump, it moved a step closer toward losing American support that it seems to need.

            You should probably stick with superstition-based, old-timey arguments. That seems to be what you know and do best. It won't work in modern America, but it seems to make you happy.

            1. So, in short, Israel is forfeiting American support because, at the ripe old age of two, Trump created the state of Israel.

      2. Most Americans support Israel and agree with funding its defense against the medieval autocrats that want to destroy it. That drives certain hateful bullies crazy, so they have to hurl schoolyard level insults at people.

        1. Boy Darth, I bet you hate MI right now. 🙂

        2. "Hateful bullies" is right.
          Why do leftists around the world make common cause with Israel's local foes? Because they're kindred spirits -- hateful bullies.

  6. Wow, I point out that the president of Hillel says (a) that criticism of Israel sometimes veers into antisemitism (quote: "at times, anti-Israel rhetoric does veer into antisemitism") that even if she keeps completely quiet about Israel, she will only *usually* not face antisemitism, i.e., she does face antisemitism even when it has nothing to do with Israel, and the usual suspects respond that "you are conflating criticism of Israel with antisemitism." So let's reiterate two points. First, antisemitism in the context of hostility to Israel is still antisemitism. And if you face antisemitism even when you don't support Israel, that is antisemitism that (obviously) cannot be attributed to overzealous hostility to Israel (not that the latter would be an excuse...)

    Now, like I said, I don't have any personal knowledge of the situation at Hunter. I am just taking the student's comments at face value. She says students are subject to antisemitism in the context of hostility to Israel, and less frequently when Israel isn't involved. But she doesn't feel she is "discriminated against" because she's Jewish. Well, it seems to me that she has, in fact, described being discriminated against.

    1. Or to put it another way, without taking sides over the complaint against Hunter, I found it remarkable that one of the students quoted who for the position of "there isn't a significant antisemitism at Hunter" has described significant antisemitism at Hunter, which is not terribly reassuring, though it's meant to be.

      1. You're pinning a lot on one student adding in a 'as a Jew' when that same student is arguing for the opposite conclusion.

        1. I have a hunch this student does not welcome the "help" being offered by the hard-right-wingers (the lawyer who is a graduate of the Sekulow School Of Big-Dollar Grievance Theater, the law professor who counsels that this this student is wrong to refrain from perceiving persecution from liberals) in this context.

        2. "As a Jew" seems pretty relevant, given that the question is antisemitism.

          1. The issues are downscale right-wing partisanship (in the United States and in Israel) and Israel's shabby conduct, for which it is properly castigated and eventually will be held to account.

          2. I look forward to the day Reason Magazine stops hiring racists or catering to them. I keep getting floored on how low these articles go. I wonder if Bernstein would feel the same about other individuals?

          3. Don't feed the troll.

          4. I don't see that tossed off phrase as probative of much, myself. Especially given the clear intent of the speaker.

            I ask this in seriousness - are you arguing this is some kind of Freudian slip from someone who unconsciously feels oppressed for their Jewishness, but consciously sublimates it?

            1. I think she is saying that she experiences antisemitism, but does not feel like a victim. Which is good! But instead of expressing that, she instead downplays the antisemitism, which is not good. One can acknowledge both that what she experiences is actually antisemitism, and also that it doesn't bother her that much, that she does not perceive it as creating, in legal terms, a "hostile environment." But I suppose in today's campus culture if you experience identity-based hostility it's supposed to be the equivalent of violence, so it's hard to do this.

              1. One can acknowledge both that what she experiences is actually antisemitism, and also that it doesn't bother her that much

                Or one can be skeptical of her "lived experience" claims, especially when the only evidence she cites is objection to a particular viewpoint she holds and not some sort of statements regarding the "dark Jewish cabal" conspiracy crap or other sorts of more substantive anti-Semitism.

              2. What exactly are you a professor of if not writing histrionic bullshit?

              3. To use a current woke term, this student experiences not infrequent microaggressions, but she does not let those get her down. In fact, she feels compelled to defend the institution in which such microaggressions are tolerated

                1. Don, tell us, are you coming out of the closet against microaggressions? Congrats if so. That's a big move!

                2. Don Nico, just saw your comment. I laughed.

      2. And yet, David, a paragraph later we read,

        Other Jewish organizations dispute StandWithUs’s characterization of Hunter, and say the school has gone above and beyond in defending Jewish students. Both the campus chapter of Hillel, the international Jewish student organization, and Hunter’s Jewish Studies Center, whose director has been a vocal opponent of anti-Israel activism, said they did not know the complaint was coming.

        By your choice of headline, and by omitting this context, you clearly imply that you think this is a serious problem at Hunter, and the school is not doing anything to counter it.

        So let me say this. There may well be antisemites at Hunter. But it is a far cry from that to saying that Hunter is "coddling" them, which, your protestations aside, your post suggests.

        1. But it is a far cry from that to saying that Hunter is "coddling" them, which, your protestations aside, your post suggests.

          The dishonesty of enclosing "coddling" in quotation marks there as though that's what Prof. Bernstein actually said should be obvious even to you. And his post doesn't suggest any such thing. In fact he explicitly says:

          "I have no personal knowledge of the situation at Hunter College"

        2. The irony is of course that this blog coddles anti-semitic posters. David Behar is still here after years of posting the most inane anti-semitic bullshit and further relating it to the legal profession (another moronic stereotype about Jews) but they banned Rev Art for posting some shit about cops? Bernstein is a total hack.

          1. Here's a comment from another post on VC today, suggesting that there is a Jewish conspiracy to normalize molesting children:

            "Jewish game. Use the veil of 'academia' to subvert an enlightened society. Jewish tactics so obvious. No wonder the Romans expelled jews from Rome before Christ was even born.

            Jewish insanity."

  7. OK, here's the resolution of the university's staff union referring to Israel's "establishment as a settler colonial state in 1948" - but they disavow anti-semitism, so there's that.

    https://www.psc-cuny.org/sites/default/files/Final_Resolution_in_Support_of_the_Palestinian_People.pdf

    I don't think "settler colonial state" is complimentary, not coming from an ultra-woke intersectional outfit like that.

    Are they otherwise OK with Jews, reserving their criticism only for those Jews who are in Israel?

    1. They have a SJP and a MSA group on campus, both known for anti Jew and anti Israel activities.

      Student fees fund these hate groups.

      Ergo, Hunter College promotes hate.

  8. I'll bet that the White American students also get a backlash if they speak up in favor of Whites and White America.

    1. WTF is 'white America?'

      1. According to the Smithsonian (briefly), apparently it is things like: individual empowerment; supporting two-parent families; objective, rational thinking; teaching the historical roots of US politics and culture; emphasizing hard work; respecting any kind of authority; planning ahead; making progress on things; recognizing the standard US legal system; and so forth.

        Alternatively, white picket fences, baseball plates, much chinaware, most home ceilings, cars that show dirt very easily, and so forth.

      2. WTF is 'white America?'

        Your schtick is so pathetic.

        https://lmgtfy.app/?q=%22white+america%22

  9. if I don't share my political stance, I'm usually OK

    Conservatives (of all ethnic backgrounds) can relate. This is precisely the situation "liberals" like our Rev. Arthur Kirkland want. The Rev. will tell you how it's good that some people are afraid to express their opinions (because they're the "wrong" opinions).

    1. Yeah...no.

      The Rev. has repeatedly written that cons are entitled to express themselves.

      And as I have written repeatedly our society REQUIRES us to have opposing views expressed freely - even ones that I disagree with.

      Our democratic society can only survive by having the flexibility to swing to the left or right as mores, ideas, technology, law, etc. change.

      That's something that The Rev. and I get - and you don't.

      1. That's something that The Rev. and I get - and you don't.

        When you're throwing in with Kirkland you know you've really gone off the deep end.

    2. Amen, Ed.
      It's better to keep your opinions to yourself unless you can phrase them in a way to exploit the woke.

  10. She is likely oversensitive. She expresses her opinion and she's scared that other people will express opinions disagreeing with her? Come on.

  11. Bernstein, you're a moronic chucklehead that denies the existence of anti-semitic posts in the comments section of your very own blog. Who gives a crap what you think about anti-semitism when you only point it out to serve your culture war narrative?

    1. I have heard DB be accused of many things, but being insufficiently sensitive to antisemitism? That is a new one.

      1. I didn't accuse him of being insufficiently sensitive. I accused him of not being sensitive to it at all and only ever mentioning it when it serves his political agenda in furthering the culture wars.

        1. As evidenced by the much-more-horrific posts about Jews I've identified here that he doesn't care at all about. Legitimate criticism of Israel is a problem for him, but saying that Jews exist only to molest children isn't a problem for him. So I'm not sure how you got the conclusion that he's insufficiently outraged so much as clearly just a political hack, and a shitty one at that.

  12. Bernstein, what does it have to do with being Jewish if a non-Jew expressed the same opinions about Israel and received the same exact response?

    1. I have heard DB be accused of many things, but being insufficiently sensitive to antisemitism? That is a new one.

      1. Meant to post this above. Oops

  13. Bernstein thinks it's okay to post that there is a jewish conspiracy to molest children, but that it's not okay to criticize Israel. Does anyone take him seriously?

    1. Right winger shoots up a synagogue: DB *I sleep*
      Left winger says "Free Palestine": DB *real shit*

      1. Glad someone gets this ridiculous act

  14. Questioning White America is an example of pushback. America is not all White, and Israel is not all Jewish either.

  15. As evidenced by the much-more-horrific posts about Jews I've identified here that he doesn't care at all about. Legitimate criticism of Israel is a problem for him, but saying that Jews exist only to molest children isn't a problem for him. So I'm not sure how you got the conclusion that he's insufficiently outraged so much as clearly just a political hack, and a shitty one at that.

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