Saturday, March 07, 2015

bet not ever question a pro-Israel Hillel member's impartiality on divestment from apartheid Israel


NYTimes |  Yet some Jewish leaders here questioned whether Mr. Block or the students appreciated the meaning of the event. John L. Rosove, the senior rabbi at Temple Israel of Hollywood, said the incident “reflects something deeper, more troubling, insidious, and pervasive not just at U.C.L.A. but on college campuses nationwide.”

“I am not one who sees anti-Semites lurking under every bed,” he wrote in his blog. “I am not a fear-monger. I do not believe that all criticism of Jews or the state of Israel is necessarily anti-Semitic.”

“Yet,” he said, “our inability to use the term anti-Semitism when it concerns Jews, when we don’t have a problem calling other forms of ethnic and religious bigotry what it is, raises disturbing questions about prevalent attitudes towards Jews, Judaism, Zionism, and the state of Israel.”

The president of the student council, Avinoam Baral, who had nominated Ms. Beyda, appeared stunned at the turn the questioning took at the session and sought at first to rule Ms. Roth’s question out of order. “I don’t feel that’s an appropriate question,” he said.
In an interview, Mr. Baral, who is Jewish, said he “related personally to what Rachel was going through.”

“It’s very problematic to me that students would feel that it was appropriate to ask that kind of questions, especially given the long cultural history of Jews,” he said. “We’ve been questioned all of our history: Are Jews loyal citizens? Don’t they have divided loyalties? All of these anti-Semitic tropes.”

He called Ms. Beyda a “stand-out applicant,” with strong grades, interest and experience in the law. The students who voted against her also praised her credentials, but kept returning to questions about whether she could set aside her religious affiliation when ruling on issues before the council.
Rachel Frenklak, who is Ms. Beyda’s roommate and president of the sorority, said she had gone to the meeting expecting an enjoyable night watching her “best friend” get approved, and was stunned at what she witnessed.

“I swear the word Israel was not said once,” she said Thursday. “It was all about Jewish affiliations. It didn’t leave any doubt that what this is, is anti-Semitism. There has to be recognition that there is anti-Semitism on the campus, and it manifested itself first with the anti-Israel stuff.”