wall uciu Stunned Jewish students looked on in disgust at the 25-foot long wall erected by the MSU on campus at UC Intifada. Looking more like an installation of an angry frustrated art student, the wall is plastered with horrific scenes of violence—all of them supposedly of the IDF against innocent children. The wall is guarded by two bozos in military outfits and berets and sunglasses. They are supposed to look tough. I joked with them that they are pathetic IDF soldiers because they have homemade Israeli flag badges, and no guns. Yes, these are unarmed Israeli soldiers. And what good are they guarding the wall that can easily be walked around? Then I announced to everyone that I would explain what this wall was about, much to the consternation of the MSU leadership and Imam. I explained why it was being built etc to a group of students from Korea.
more wall
Then I told the groups of prospective students that were touring the campus not to go to UCI unless they couldn’t get into any other school.

I played by guitar singing Hava Nagila, Heveinu Shalom during the speeches. They filmed me from two angles. I hope they got some nice footage for Al Jazeera.

All in all it was a good day to be a protester with an attitude.

I tried speaking to the MSU students, but they refused. I told them that we are all made in the image of God, that we should try to talk over things, and that really offended one guy. I said hello in Arabic to a Muslim woman, and a male student yelled at me not to disrespect his sister.

And what was the response of the Administration, the ADL, the Federation, the Hillel, the Police? Well, when this random man walked up to the speaker and yelled at him to stop his anti-Semitic diatribes, a Muslims student leapt up and pushed him. The student and the offending man were quickly surrounded by police and pulled away.

The Administration just loves these guys. They have even allowed he MSU to break school policies, just so that they can have more time with loudspeakers, keep the PA system on louder than allowed for other groups, erect a wall that effectively blocks pedestrian traffic etc.

The Hillel had two tents on either side with posters and flyers. Most students ignored them.

The ADL was there to monitor things. I mentioned to the ADL that there was clear intent to incite violence against Jews, that a Jew was pushed. She said the hate mongers and Jew baiters are allowed to speak freely, that the ADL is a civil rights organization. It seems that the only civil rights not protected are the Jewish ones.

The Federation was there to monitor the situation, and I hope that they will realize that they need to move on the administration of the school to make this place less a den of thugs and sinister anti-Jewish anti-American propaganda.

So I’ll be smiling again today when Neturei Karta’s David Weiss gets up to speak. I have some pies ready—to serve students of course.

About the author

Rabbi Yonah

26 Comments

  • Why not have a couple of guys dress up like Arab suicide bombers, keffiyeh and all, and pretend to bump into the wall over and over.

    Then you can show one bomber getting through and all the Hillel students can act out what it’s like to be blown up – fake blood, limbs strewn all over the place, and of course some weeping fathers, mothers, siblings and spouses holding on to their recently deceased loved ones.

    An appropriate banner would be, “Israel stops 95% of all terror attacks. With the security fence, that number will rise to 99%! Make the Terror stop!”

    You could still play your guitar as you do this. 😉

  • The thing is, why don’t you fight fire with fire. The statistics don’t hold up well on their side when scrutinized. Why not walk around nearby with placards that provide relevant data that contradicts theirs or explains their display?

    You’re welcome to call me if you want to brainstorm.

  • I agree with the middle. I wonder of I should go run over to hell and see if it indeed cold.

    But besides that, Rabbi Yo, can you get people and make something like that happen?

  • What the middle said! I applaud you for protesting. The ADL still thinks neo-Nazi in Gernany are the biggest threat to Jews, so their behavior at the rally makes total sense.

  • My heart goes out to these poor students having to deal with this crap on campus. Makes me want to form an A-Team (J-Team?) of like-minded adults, who can tear onto campus in our van and, well…

    I pity da fool.

  • So I’ll be smiling again today when Neturei Karta’s David Weiss gets up to speak. I have some pies ready—to serve students of course.

    Please don’t be an idiot. Thank you.

  • Rabbi,
    What is it about this whole free speech deal that’s so elusive? I’ll assume your disgust and indignation at the protest you’ve described are as genuine as my own, but your response to these events seems a bit disingenuous. Do you really believe there was something about the protest that indicated “a clear intent to incite violence against Jews?” If so, please let us know, as there was nothing of the kind suggested by the events you’ve described. As you were accurately informed by the ADL representative (who was, presumably, every bit as concerned about the MSU activities as you were), even hate mongers and Jew baiters are entitled to the civil right of free speech pursuant to the First Amendment. Your response that “the only civil rights not protected are the Jewish ones” is a clever non sequitur (precisely analogous to the law’s supposed disregard of “victim’s rights”), but not for someone with any respect for the Constitution. Finally, what exactly do you propose that the administration or the police do about the fact that the school is “a den of thugs and sinister anti-Jewish [and] anti-American propaganda?” Though responding with protests of your own is more difficult and less satisfying than urging an outright ban on the MSU’s propaganda, there’s nothing more “anti-American” than muzzling the opinions of your enemies. Yes, even those you really, really hate.

  • People with no attachment to the situation in Israel/the territories ultimately care about as much about Israelis as they do about Palestinians. On many campuses it is fashionable to be anti-Israel, but at the end of the day either identity politics or general apathy is what really sticks. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the fact that the wall “effectively blocks pedestrian traffic” is kinda the point. That’s what campus activism has boiled down to. There’s a group on my campus called Nakba ’48 that periodically sets up a faux IDF checkpoint in which they harass people on their way to Krishna lunch. By the next day, it’s forgotten. While themiddle’s specific suggestion is vulgar and I really hope he was being tonge in cheek, he’s got the right idea. The only way to get people’s attention is to be equally inflammatory.
    I agree with d. smith that Rabbi Yonah is making a little too much of the pushing incident. The fact that they resorted to physical violence reflects poorly on MSU and it sounds like the situation was diffused pretty quickly anyway, so what’s the big deal?

  • I’m down with the J-Team thing myself. There just aren’t enough aggressive Jews in the world. In my father’s day, an insult to your face earned a broken nose. Your enemies learned their lesson and sat down. Now we just cry to the ADL and make sure everyone else’s sensitivities aren’t offended. The ADL are a bunch of pussies who think Christian Zionists are a greater threat than Islamist members of the ROP.

    Yes, yes, all this pacifism and debate sure works to help us feel righteous while our enemies see it as a weakness to exploit. Please don’t be naive as to think everyone else who pays attention says “look at those calm Jews, they sure act civil while the MSU promotes hatred”. Its just not so.

    The people who aren’t involved don’t pay attention, so you are left with two groups: The MSU who taunts, insults, and hates, and then a group of Jews that thinks “they are above this type of behavior”. And where are the ones who fight back? They’re too busy being yelled at by other Jews for acting too brutish. Rabbi Yonah, you’ve earned my respect, and if I still lived in Cali, I’d drive up there and sing “Next Year in Jerusalem” while playing my Balalika right next to you. Of course, I’d bring my Louisville Slugger just in case.

  • Eric, you are missing two groups: the disinterested parties who are still influenced by the venom and passion of the MSU (let’s not kid anybody, that fake wall is going to have an impact); and, those many Jewish students who would rather not be involved or labeled or accused or be anything other than just regular students on a campus. After all, would you want to be included in an evil, apartheid, hateful group that steals land and subjugates another people?

  • TM, you can call me Bar Yus or Minus, and I think you know the answer to my question: YES! I’m no internationalist, nor moral relativist, nor the Kumbaya chanting peacenik I was in college. My ring of care extends in this pattern: My future children, My wife, My Immediate Family, Myself, My Extended Family, My Friends, Worldwide Jewry (yes, even the stupid and ignorant ones are worth protecting until they cross the Chompsky line at which point they fall off my map), Other Americans that aren’t in the other groups previously mentioned, Powerless, subjugated hordes under the boot of Oppression who weren’t brainwashed to hate me, and then possibly, if I still have any empathy and/or time left, everyone else. There’s plenty of bleeding hearts this world over to worry about them, as for me, I’ll sign up with the smallest group – those that care about their peeps and culture first and foremost before worrying about their enemies. And you don’t have to tell me about our ignorant brothers, I’m going to watch the Pistons game with them in a few minutes.

  • themiddle, it’s not only Jewish students who are opposed to these MSU types. also Republicans and Evangelicals, and a very few informed individuals.

  • On a non-political note, my new band, Rabbis Throwing Pies will be performing at the Bitter End next month as part of their Destroyers of Judaism tour. Watch for our opening number, “Shrimp-Encrusted Fish Sticks (Now That Ain’t Kosha)”, which is all the rage in Europe.

  • Nice one, Rabbi Yo. I wish we had a community leader as outspoken as you here at UCSC. By the way, Abdul Malik spoke last week here as part of Palestine Awareness Week, and I got pretty much the whole thing on video: enjoy!

  • rabbi Yo, wish I was there to play darbukeh and guitar with you…couldve started a mosh pit and thrown some people around.

    i just checked out Concerned UCIs blog (Post 1). The author snapped a pic of a poster that reads: Israel – the 4th Reich.

    That makes me sick and sad that americans would actually push that. rabbi yo, what about the pro israel group at UCI?

  • d. smith brings up some pretty valid points. As offensive an vile as I find the MSU’s actions, I would never seek to silence them. What I would do is react with disgust at their use of Nazi and Holocaust imagery and language in order to completely distort reality and promote hatred. And I would respond vociferously. I mean you can’t really ban these nutters, but one thing I saw done in a similar situation has already been suggested. A few years back some students at McGill Hillel dressed up as suicide bombers and wore t-shirts and held signs that said “I am opposed to the apartheid wall!” or “If I was a suicide bomber, you’d already be dead.” Let me say, the impact was awesome.

    I believe in the righteousness of our cause and in the fact that in a free market place of ideas, our ideas will prevail. Be proactive and effective in your protests – it might involve more of a struggle but in the end you will prevail.

  • Dear lots of comments friends,
    I just got home after a VERY long day at UCI.
    Jewish students were being intimidated. There were accusations of blood libel made to me personally. The police were out in great force to prevent violence. Hmm. Sounds like a little more than just free speech guys, but serious intent to cause hatred and incitement against Jews. In fact, there were many peaceful arguments between factions.

    I have LOTS more to say, but have to sleep a little.
    more soon.

    Peace.

  • Eric,

    Thanks, that was such a wake-up call!! I guess I’m one of those stupid, ignorant, naïve, bleeding heart, moral relativist, Kumbaya-chanting, peacenik pussies. All that oozing testosterone of yours leaves my heart aflutter, but it’s good to know that – as long as I can hold a spot on your empathy map – you and your baseball bat will still be there to protect me and the rest of your peeps from the anti-semitic hordes. You bring to mind a great routine Eddie Murphy used to do when he started out. He just couldn’t truck with any o’ them pussy Uncle Toms back in Ole Dixie, figured they musta’ been right off the boat from Africa to put up with them chains, Yes Massa’s, whipping posts, an’ shit. Now THAT nigga wouldn’t a’ been pickin’ no cotton, he’d been kickin’ honky ass all over Mississippi. Just like you and your Louisville slugger.

    Yup, the big problem facing the world – and worldwide Jewry – is too few aggressive Jews. And not just here in the States, of course, but in Israel too; imagine what could have been accomplished if only the country had never elected those pacifist Labor pussies, like….Yizhak Rabin and Ehud Barak. Man, I bet you could kick the ass of any 11-year-old Palestinian girl from Jerusalem to Cali and back; even WITHOUT the baseball bat.

    BTW, I wonder if, just as extra-special inspiration, you could tell me about some of the major beat-downs you’ve given with that Louisville slugger of yours (just the highlights; we don’t have all day, after all.)

  • You’re doing too great a job assuming things, drawing false analogies and conclusions on your own. Take it or leave it.

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