"Campus Debates on Israel Drive a Wedge Between Jews and Minorities"
May 09, 2015, 10:11 PM
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Here’s a new New York Times article that’s quite similar to my March 11 article in Taki’s Magazine on why the success of anti-Israel BDS campaigns among student politicians on U. of California campuses is so upsetting to Jewish liberals: because it implies that in the multicultural future, Jews will be considered part of The Privileged rather than part of The Diverse.

Campus Debates on Israel Drive a Wedge Between Jews and Minorities By JENNIFER MEDINA and TAMAR LEWIN MAY 9, 2015

Celebrating Israel’s Independence Day last month at U.C.L.A. Some students said that while they had never hidden that they were Jewish, they felt uncomfortable voicing their support for Israel.

LOS ANGELES — The debates can stretch from dusk to dawn, punctuated by tearful speeches and forceful shouting matches, with accusations of racism, colonialism and anti-Semitism. At dozens of college campuses across the country, student government councils are embracing resolutions calling on their administrations to divest from companies that enable what they see as Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians.

And while no university boards or administrators are heeding the students’ demands, the effort to pressure Israel appears to be gaining traction at campuses across the country and driving a wedge between many Jewish and minority students.

The movement is part of the broader Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, or B.D.S., which has spread in recent years both in Europe and the United States. …

College activists favoring divestment have cast the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a powerful force’s oppression of a displaced group, and have formed alliances with black, Latino, Asian, Native American, feminist and gay rights organizations on campus. The coalitions — which explicitly link the Palestinian cause to issues like police brutality, immigration and gay rights — have caught many longtime Jewish leaders off guard, particularly because they belonged to such progressive coalitions less than a generation ago.

… “Discomfort is felt by every person of color on this campus,” said an Egyptian-American senior, Hagar Gomaa. “To those who say this divestment bill makes you uncomfortable, I say: Check your privilege.”

A speaker who identified herself only as a Chicana student said she was there to support Palestinians on campus.

“We have seen the racism of people who get mad that so many empowered minorities are recognizing how their struggles are tied to the Palestinian struggle,” she said. “Students have accused us of conflating many cases of oppression. To these students, I have a couple of words for you: What you call conflation, we call solidarity.”

… Opponents of divestment sometimes allude to the Holocaust.

“What bothers me is the shocking amnesia of people who look at the situation of American Jews right now and say, ‘You’re privileged, you don’t have a right to complain about discrimination,’ ” said Rachel Roberts, a freshman at Stanford who is on the board of the Jewish Student Association there. “To turn a blind eye to the sensitivities of someone’s cultural identity is to pretend that history didn’t happen.”

But it’s a lot easier to bully white Americans into feeling guilty over the Holocaust (“Maybe two of my uncles should have died fighting the Nazis instead of just one?”) than it is to bully immigrant Students of Color, who have been told constantly that they are the Oppressed.
Everywhere, the discussions are long and tense: At Michigan, where the student government narrowly defeated a divestment resolution this year for the second time, university staff members were on hand to talk to students and help if they needed a break from the debate.
No wonder tuition has climbed so much.
At several schools where divestment proposals have been considered, swastikas have been painted on the doors of Jewish fraternities.

“There’s more poison in the rhetoric than we’ve ever felt before,” said Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, the executive director of Hillel at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has worked on college campuses for more than four decades. “There are so many students who now see Israel as part of the establishment they’re against. What’s alarming is this gets deeply embedded and there’s no longer room for real discussion.”

As Sarah Silverman said, “As a Jew—as a member of the Jewish community—I was really concerned that we were losing control of the media.”
The B.D.S. movement has been especially prominent in the University of California system, where nearly all of the student government councils have approved divestment proposals.

“Jewish students and their parents are intensely apprehensive and insecure about this movement,” said Mark Yudof, a former president of the University of California system. “I hear it all the time: Where can I send my kids that will be safe for them as Jews?” …

Jennifer Medina reported from Los Angeles, and Tamar Lewin from New York. Ronnie Cohen contributed reporting from the Bay Area.

Maybe this Diversity Uber Alles thing is reaching diminishing marginal returns in terms of being good for the Jews?