Sunday, June 25, 2006

UCLA Hillel Director: Everything's peachy-keep up here!

On June 23, 2006, the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles published an opinion piece by Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, the Director of UCLA Hillel titled "Different Tack on Campus Challenge". His op-ed begins:

Speeches about “holocaust in Israel.” Academic boycotts. Divestiture campaigns. Professors who intimidate their students. Jewish speakers whose rhetoric is anti-Israel.

These program initiatives and phenomena that have seemingly overwhelmed our universities during the past few years have certainly transformed the campus quad into a zone of controversy.

"Finally!" - I thought - recognition of the harassment that Jewish students at UCI like myself have had to deal with with on a near-weekly basis.

Then I read on:

Some activists have gone so far as to characterize this onslaught as “Anti-Semitism 101” and have pressured the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to issue guidelines for confronting the scourge of campus anti-Semitism.

Excuse me? How exactly did we pressure the USCCR? The ZOA and others presented the relevant material to the commissioners in November 2005 (some of which provided by me), they discussed it, and in April 2006 they issued findings and recommendations. It's that simple - there was no "pressure".

Indeed, the above occurrences are undeniable, as are the vile expressions of Jewish bigotry at a select number of institutions of higher learning.

Couldn't have put it better myself.

However, rather than focus on the catastrophic response, which is traditionally Jewish, it behooves us to observe that Jews are actually experiencing a Golden Age at American universities and that the general atmosphere at the most prestigious schools is positive and supportive of Jewish interests.

This is the same line that Jeff Rips of OC Hillel dishes. Sorry, I can't hold hands and sing koom-by-ya or bury my head in the sand when my safety is being threatened on a near-weekly basis due to my ethnic background and religion. There are 6 million gone - and many, many people from the US, the UK, France, and other countries - because of the same sensibilities almost 70 years ago.

BTW, Rabbi, if they're so supportive of Jewish interests, why isn't Israel advertised heavily as a place to study abroad in the UC's? Where's the Jewish studies programs?


Note: The USCCR has not published the transcript of the November 2005 meeting. As soon as they do, I will put up the link in this entry.

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