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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Anti-Semitism at Foothill College

On my last blog, The Bulletproof Dandy, I regularly took a look at neo-nazism, anti-semitism and racism in the US and Europe. I feel it's important that I continue to cover these issues here. I started this blog thinking a more light hearted approach would make me happier and a better read for visitors. Unfortunately, the subjects that I mentioned above are just too important to me. Especially when I read letters like this.

For several years, a climate hostile towards Israel and Jews has persisted on the Foothill College campus.My experiences with this phenomenon of liberal anti-Semitism include a virulent anti-Semitic speaker invited by the Muslim Student Association, who said, among other things, that Jews should "go back to Germany" and that "Hitler should have finished the job." One political science professor conveniently ignored the standards for professionalism by harassing students, and encouraging other students to harass students who were Jewish, Israeli, or did not agree with his anti-Israel hate speech. Professors and students in concert have distributed anti-Semitic literature as well and planned and executed events that paint all Jews in a bad light, calling them "Nazis", "racists", and their country "an apartheid state." Since politically correct culture rarely protects Jews, this popular past-time of Jew-bashing has only increased in frequency and intensity since its inception.

The whole time I, as a student, was exposed to this hatred, I responded the best way I knew how, I defended against unfounded accusations, conspiracy theories, and propaganda disseminated by the faculty and student organizations. Unfortunately, this whole time I lost sight of the big picture. The truth is that in the long run, students who already believe that Jews and Israel are evil will not be convinced by lengthy speeches or presentations, nor should they be.

Instead, the Jewish community should be attacking the problem at the source by seeking to dismiss professors who abuse their positions of authority to indoctrinate new students into believing that hatred against Jews is okay. Inept school administration officials who allow this rot to continue to spread in the classrooms under the guise of "free speech" should also be made accountable for their actions, or inactions. The First Amendment allows people to express opinions and not be punished by the government; it does not allow people to disregard rules of professionalism and tolerance and keep their jobs.

So far, this year has been quite a different year at Foothill College. After a blatantly anti-Semitic article was published in the paper, numerous press releases made by a concerned student found their way to the attention of financial supporters of Foothill College. Not surprisingly, the President of the College came to speak with the Jewish Student Union soon after. Before this, numerous attempts to bring the administration into the very real issue of prevailing anti-Semitic sentiment in the classroom fell on deaf ears, and some administrators actually complained when they found out that the ADL and Hillel, instead of just students, came to express their disapproval. Administrators of college policy never cared about students until their complaints found themselves hitting the school where it hurts, financially and legally.

I am convinced that now that apologies, speeches, and debates will no longer accomplish what must be done at Foothill College, as well as at other colleges to combat the new anti-Semitism. Students will believe what they believe and it shouldn't be the job of the students, and especially of the faculty to convince them otherwise. Israel can take care of itself, as it has for over 50 years. What does need to be done is tolerance and respect policies that are supposed to protect students should be enforced against ALL purveyors of hate, regardless of their targets. And professors who somehow believe that they are above standards for professionalism so much so that they feel entitled to indoctrinate students in lessons of hate should be dealt with appropriately. Due to my past experiences with this school, I feel that these goals can only be accomplished by putting legal and financial pressure on the school.

Jews and Israelis on campus do not want to be pitied or viewed as victims. They do not want to be agreed with in totality. They just want to go to school like everyone else and get an education, minus the indoctrination and harassment.

-Christopher Ojeda

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