Anti-Semitism Rears Its Ugly Head on California College Campuses, Again
We've all heard the refrain, "anti-Zionism doesn't equal anti-Semitism" a million times from those desperate to convince themselves (Jews among them) that their single-minded obsession with and disproportionate condemnation of the world's only Jewish state has nothing whatsoever to do with anti-Semitism. Others simply use that line as a fig leaf to try and conceal their outright opposition to Israel's continued existence and, not coincidentally, the Jewish people.
But, as we've seen time and time again, the virulently anti-Zionist rhetoric that has been allowed to gain ground on America's college campuses, both among faculty and student groups, tends to result in anti-Semitic sentiment and, often times, activity. The flyers hung all over campus at San Francisco State University in April 2002 displaying a Palestinian baby on a soup-can label and the words, "Palestinian Children Meat, slaughtered according to Jewish rites under American license" were a prime example. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Now comes word that acts of vandalism against the sukkah, an outdoor shelter that marks the Jewish holiday of Sukkot or the Feast of the Tabernacles, have occurred on two California college campuses in the last week.
At San Jose State University, whose Hillel chapter has worked hard to promote a relatively friendly environment for pro-Israel activity, the brand new sukkah was burned down. Of course, authorities have ruled out a hate crime, although conceding that it was an act of arson. While, personally, I don't believe in the Orwellian concept of hate crimes, especially as the label seems to be applied on a rather selective basis, this sort of obfuscation when it comes to Jewish targets is all too common.
Then there's the sukkah at UC Davis, which was defaced with graffiti reading, "End Israeli Occupation" and "Free Palestine." It's rather difficult to deny the anti-Zionist, and, being as the the target was a symbol of Judaism, anti-Jewish, nature of these slogans, but it wouldn't surprise me if the powers that be go down that path. And this in turn will only embolden those prone to perpetrating such acts in the future. As Mike Amerikaner, the program director of Hillel, put it, "This is not something that's new. We've been dealing with anti-Semitism on campus for awhile now."
But I thought this was merely anti-Zionism? Silly me...