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Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Continuing backlash of the Berkeley Intifada
The East Bay Express Article about Berkeley’s “overwhelming anti-Semitism” continues to get attention nationallyas well as locally, though not much of the attention it is getting has anything to do with the article.
Now, I think I may have jumped to some conclusions on the article. At first, I didn't think the article hit its mark, which was to portray show that Berkeley is an anti-Semitic campus. But the truth of the matter is that the intention of the article was to instigate pointless and bigoted arguments about everything that is remotely related to Israel/Palestine, which it has.
Now, just for any doubters of you, Berkeley is NOT an anti-Semitic campus or area. Examples that destroy any arguments to the contrary presented in the story:
- Only extremist campus groups are mentioned in the story. Moderate groups were never interviewed, or were hardly mentioned.
- With the exception of the Daniel Pipes protest, extremist activity by SJP and other anti-Zionist groups is decreasing since the heyday of 2002. In fact, at one of the last SJP rallies of the year, there were maybe two dozen students or so. Definitely a show of support from the student community.
- Most on-campus protestors for the Palestinian cause are not students on campus. Kind of like LaRouche tablers.
- If the UC Berkeley campus is anti-Semitic, how can oppressed students like Daniel Frankenstein and Jesse Gabriel, two students mentioned in the article, rise to such prominence in the ASUC and other campus organizations?
- The administration has been nothing but supportive and protective of the Jewish community on campus, bringing in special speakers and professors to please this particular community.
- Micki Weinberg, the victim in the East Bay Express story, ran for Berkeley City Council and nearly beat a strong incumbent in the overwhelmingly liberal South Berkeley area.
And, to destroy any “next step” in this process, Berkeley is DEFINITIELY NOT an anti-Palestine or anti-Muslim campus either.
- The Berkeley Middle Eastern Studies Department is one of the finest and heaviest-funded in the country, and is overwhelmingly pro-Palestine
- SJP and similar groups have gotten away with murder on this campus, particularly with the conviction-free lockdown of Wheeler Hall a couple years ago.
- SJP rallies can bring more attention and people than the majority of the other groups on campus, and Muslim/pro-Palestine groups are often among the largest on campus.
It’s impossible to say that feelings pro/anti-Zionist to any extent don’t exist on campus. Obviously, in a student body with 32,000 people, there are going to be closed-minded individuals who are racist, prejudiced, etc. But this stance is not prevalent or institutionalized. So, in conclusion, the East Bay Express article is blatant yellow journalism, and we all just need to stop giving it the attention we are giving it.
Thanks to correspondent KD for contributing to this entry.
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