Jesse Zimmerman is one of the two students who were reprimanded by York University for their behavior on Feb. 11, 2009 when a group of students had to escape to the Hillel office where a mob chanted outside their doors that racists should leave campus and that Zionism is racism.

There used to be a video on Youtube, now gone, of Jesse Zimmerman and a mob of supporters outside the Hillel offices chanting against Zionists by accusing them of racism and demanding the racists leave campus. Zimmerman is heard saying, “Zionism does not speak for Jews. Zionism is an embarrassment. Shame on the Zionists.”

Jesse Zimmerman has a blog and on that blog he claims that the accusations against him and others are untrue and unfair. He denies any wrongdoing on the part of the other students as well as himself.

He writes about the reported coverage of that day:

No specific allegations of anti-Semitism appear in the YU Free Press report (Feb. 12), the Globe and Mail report (Feb. 13), or the Excalibur report (Feb. 18). Chants including “Shame on Hillel,” “Zionism is racism,” and “Racists off campus” are reported. (Not messaging everyone can get behind, but hardly anti-Semitic.)

Um, this is called “deflection.”

The press conference which drew the mob led by Zimmerman and incoming student federation president, Krisna Saravanamuttu, was a Drop YFS press conference. Drop YFS was a group formed in December of the previous year in response to what was perceived to be poor management by the leadership of the YFS – the York Federation of Students – during a strike held by contract instructors and teaching assistants.

In other words, this event had nothing to do with Zionism, Judaism, Palestinians or even with racism. It is true that many of the vociferous members of Drop YFS are Jewish and many were active members of Hillel and Hasbara at York, two Jewish groups on the York University campus. However, the Drop YFS students did not bring in their religion, their religious views, or any other biases into their campaign against the YFS leadership. This campaign to remove that leadership was focused on the YFS’s mistakes in the previous months.

And yet, even though this press conference was about the YFS, and even though Drop YFS focused on the YFS and did so before the YFS passed a motion attacking Israel for the Gaza incursion, Jesse Zimmerman is suggesting that it is not anti-Semitism to focus on Jewish factors (yes, even if you just use the word Zionism) instead of battling Drop YFS on the basis of their accusations against the YFS.

He doesn’t seem to realize that in doing so, he is treading on anti-Semitic ground. Why single out Jewish students? There were Jews and non-Jews in Drop YFS and Zionism was not part of their platform. Why chase these students back to an office identified as a Jewish organization’s office and attack people who call for the impeachment of a student government for its missteps “racists” and “Zionists” and demand they leave the campus? Why evoke deep hostility outside their door not on the basis of their claims but on the basis that they are supporters of Israel? How does one conclude that a person on Drop YFS must be a Zionist or a racist. Why bring up Zionism in any context, much less one of racism, when the discussion is about the YFS and their work?

Such actions can only be interpreted as an attempt to single out a particular group and use their heritage as a cudgel with which to attack them publicly – or worse. Since the focus here was upon Jews (and please don’t play semantic games here that only the word “Zionists” was used since there was no way to know whether these individuals were Zionists or not other than the fact that SOME were Jewish and openly supportive of Israel), how can these actions not be considered anti-Semitic?

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  • And of course, comments are closed on his blog… not that I really have anything to say to him.

  • I love that they call members of Hillel Zionists. I know a couple of people from my local Hillel who would cringe at being called a zionist. Maybe actions like this would help them wake up to reality. I’m not going to hold my breath though.

  • Jesse Zimmerman is a douche wad. I remember that video and his smug face as he launched into his hateful idiotic tirade. What a fucking loser. What an intellectual nothing. Makes me miss Chomsky – at least he has some academic chops. Jesse Zimmerman is an embarrassment to the left. Stupid fucking coward, can’t even own up to shit thousands of people witnessed live and on YouTube. I will never forget you Jesse Zimmerman. You are the poster child for self hating Jews – Ilu hayah be mizraim, lo haya nig’al. Fucker.

  • lets see you assholes disprove this, finally hard hitting proof of israeli treatment of palestinians, israels tries to prevent palestinian literary festival

    where is your kassam arguement now assholes

    before deleting my post, i want you to know one thing, you have never ever in your history lived upto the promises made to god and you never will, god hates assholes and hypocrites

    adios jerks

  • lets see you jerks defend this,
    israel shuts down palestinian literary festival

    hmmm, no qassams or threats there, so whats the problem?
    oh thats right, you israelis can do whatever you want

    you were jerks during the exodus, god made you suffer
    you were jerks even during israels golden time under king solomon, god destroyed solomons empire after solomon died, by an egyptian pharoe no less

    you helped the europeans colonise africa and asia and commit war crimes against the natives(look up jewish british prime minister disraeli)

    the erupeans thanked you with the holocaust

    now you treat the palestinians this way, i wonder what god has in store for you next

    and go ahead and delete my comment, its not gonna help you fulfill gods promise, lol

    adios jerks

  • Of course goyim are human too. But you sir, are a piece of trash. Were you alive during exocus? What God do you believe in and has he answered any of your prayers?

    And before you go calling me a zionist, let me clear things up. I’m not a Zionist. I’m a Shiksa. But what’s been going on at York is wrong. Same as all the crap coming out of your mouth being wrong.

  • Modern Girl, just ignore him. He’s a recurring aggressor and revels in anybody’s attention. Just don’t give him the pleasure. 🙂

  • The DROP YFS formed in large part because of the YFS passing a motion on condeming the bombings on Gaza. This is something you haven’t mentioned. You also haven’t mentioned the DROP YFS members saying racist comments to students in the weeks coming up to this event. Also, there is no mention of members of DROP YFS surrounding the radio station at York I volunteer at because I interviewed Sid Ryan or that two of them followed my co-host to her car.

    The DROP YFS behaved disgustingly in the run-up to this event. Students were angry at their actions and calling the ‘anti-semitism’ card is what I call ‘deflection’.

  • Hey thanks for visiting “Jesse Z.” I can understand students getting pissed off by the passage of a one sided motion dealing with an International event that has nothing to do with student governance. So I’ll grant you that. Can you provide us with any sources for your allegations of racist comments by Drop YFS members? And even if it was true, is that any excuse for the actions of Jesse Zimmerman and his gang? I will seriously never forget the smug, self righteous look on Jesse Zimmerman’s face as he led the chants on that YouTube video. He committed self inflicted “karet.” Look it up on Google.

  • I will assume you are Jesse Zimmerman. You write:

    The DROP YFS formed in large part because of the YFS passing a motion on condeming the bombings on Gaza.

    Drop YFS was put together in December. The YFS’s Gaza resolution wasn’t passed until January 21.

    This is something you haven’t mentioned.

    See the Paragraph that follows the word “deflection” in the post above.

    You also haven’t mentioned the DROP YFS members saying racist comments to students in the weeks coming up to this event.

    I haven’t seen any report anywhere about this, including on blogs or actual reported articles that have brought up this subject. To be honest, I doubt very much that such comments were made by Drop YFS members and this is merely another way of trying to deflect the actual mismanagement of student government by the YFS members. Drop YFS made a very compelling case about the mismanagement of the strike by the YFS whose first obligation is to the student body, not to the union. Suddenly, accusations of racism appear and lo and behold, Jesse Zimmerman appears on a video claiming that Zionist are racists. Give me a break.

    Also, there is no mention of members of DROP YFS surrounding the radio station at York I volunteer at because I interviewed Sid Ryan or that two of them followed my co-host to her car.

    Did they surround you with a mob shouting “anti-Semite leave campus?” Your behavior isn’t justified and that’s what you’re not getting. You’ve conflated a political issue revolving around Israel and supposed Zionists with a movement to remove a failing student government from their place.

    You’ve confused kippah wearers or otherwise identifiable Jews who were not dealing with an Israel issue, with Jews who are Zionists. You took something unrelated and because of their heritage and identifiability attacked them – with a mob there – about Israel and their supposed Zionism. You took Jewish individuals and targeted them as such, not because you had any reason to do so.

    If they “surrounded” the radio station because of a political dispute with you, then you can respond to that with a relevant and appropriate response. Attacking Zionism in a mature way might be one way to do this (Zionism isn’t racism, and that’s a simple fact even if people try to score points with this false accusation). If, however, they are part of a group that is seeking to remove a student government, that has nothing to do with the political dispute in which you’re embroiled.

    The DROP YFS behaved disgustingly in the run-up to this event. Students were angry at their actions and calling the ‘anti-semitism’ card is what I call ‘deflection’.

    Students were upset that they called the YFS on their handling of the strike? So what? They could have gathered 5000 signatures as well. 5000 signatures is pretty incredible, so you have to think there were far more students angry with YFS than students who were angry at Drop YFS.

    Why do I need to deflect anything? I don’t know a single student at York University. I don’t know their Hillel or any faculty there. I have gleaned the information above from the various blogs, reports, and videos that were floating around. The story that emerges is fairly clear and it makes you look as if you took students whom you presumed to be Jewish and drove a mob into a shouting frenzy where these Jews and non-Jews were accused of being Zionists and then of racism because of their Zionism. And please stop the pretense that you weren’t targeting Jewish students. You were standing outside Hillel and yelling at them.

  • The luckiest thing to have happened to you, Jesse, is that the video of what you did was taken off Youtube.

  • If there were Jewish students in the mob, that just means they’re self-hating Jews. What of it?

    If a black man assaults another black man, is it not a crime because they were both black?

  • Ok, understood, but if a black man assaults another black man you know then it was not BECA– USE he is black. The demonstration occurred not because these students were Jewish, it was because they were disrepectful an racist towards other members of the community.

    Now, if you read the fine print, the adudicator found no evidence of anti-semitism or that students were ‘barricaded’ inside the Hillel office. I, for one, actually got students to move away from the door at one point so as not to deny access to the students inside. The findings by the adjudicator mentioned this in her report as well. I have been misrepresented in this. I am not an anti-semite in any sense of the word. I am staunchly anti-Zionist and I do not apologize for that.

  • Using the term -self-hating Jew’ is childish and unproductive. Anyone who uses that term is not worth my time.

  • What does it matter if there were Jews in that mob? I’m assuming that you’re Jewish. It doesn’t change the fact that you went after identifiable Jews with an attack that had nothing to do with what they were advocating.

    Please explain to me, Jesse, why you brought up Zionists.

    Why did you bring up Zionists?

    Why did the person with whom you were seen livening up the mob, Krisna, bring up Jewish and Zionist groups in the video interview outside the press conference even though the event had NOTHING to do with Israel, Zionism or Judaism? How does this coincide with your attack on Zionists outside of Hillel even though this was an event dealing with the YFS?

    It’s a simple question.

    Oh, and a small note. You continue to claim that the students attacked by you made ugly racist comments. Can you please provide evidence? What is your claim exactly? What did they say and when did they say it? I’m asking not only because I don’t believe you, but because that is your defense here. You are saying in essence, “These Jews called others nasty things that I believe are racist and as a result, I called them Zionists and racists instead of focusing on their campaign against the YFS.” I’d like to see your logic at work here.

  • Jesse, have you never met a die-hard racist who denied all accusations of racism as he had “foreign / black / Asian friends”?

    I rest my case.

  • Good Lord. I didn’t think it was possible but York’s admission standards seem to have declined even further! Jesse, your logic and excuses are pathetic. Sad even. You may not think of yourself as a racist or a self hating Jew but your actions belie your assertions. You targeted Jewish students because they were Jewish, and while I thank you for moving people out of the way of the door so that the scared shitless Jews could exit in an orderly manner whilst being heaped with abuse by the mob you helped assemble and instigate, your caring humanitarian pose is just not convincing. And I’d also like to repeat the request for the third time, that you provide at least the names of the Jews (other than you and your gang of course) that used racial epithets. Names, dates, any kind of documentation at all would be nice. Anything. Till then any decent person will continue to view you as a bully, a racist, a coward and a fucking liar.

  • Alright, I can see ck is only interested in making personal attacks so I wont respond further. The DROP YFS were approaching students with stars of DAvid or any other identifiably Jewish symbols and rather than bringing up the strike were bringing up the YFS condemnation of the bombing of Gaza motion. There was one case where a young woman student who was identifiably Jewish declined to sign because she was in agreement with the YFS, they proceeded to call her a disgrace. Many racist comments were made by DROP YFS members, particularly towards Muslim and Arab students. There was one point where one of the organizers was heard saying : “What would YOU people know about democracy?” to two members of the YFS who were visible minorities. Again, I did not film this, so I’m sorry. I realize cameras make a big difference in the eys of the world but that doesn’t change the fact that DROP YFS members were saying things like this.

    You ask for sources. I have none. I witnessed them, as I was actually present and did not record them. Can I expect you to believe me? No, it’s clear you already made up your minds about me so there’s no use continuing to say anything.

    The reason why people went to Hillel was because they thought the press conference was continuing up there and wanting to see what was going on. I was one of a hundred or so people. It was clear to me, as well as others, that a major compnenet of the DROP YFS campaign was over the bombing of Gaza. As I said, no anti-semitic comments were made, I heard absolutely none of the that, and if I had I would have left. Believe what you want, believe what the media says, but the adjudicator to this case had no conclusive evidence that the door was ever barricaded or that anti-semitic comments were ever made.

    Think whatever you want.

  • OK Jesse. I’ll try and be civil since I recognize the fact that it is very brave of you to attempt dialog with us here.

    I thank you for your anecdotal evidence. You can understand why it’s not as compelling as information coming from an unbiased source but let’s grant you the courtesy of assuming its basic veracity, ok? Now, are you saying that the isolated actions of a few individuals are reflective of the entire organization? Are you saying that Drop YFS is in fact a racist organization, populated by racist individuals bent on promoting a racist agenda? Do you feel that Hillel is a racist organization? Do you acknowledge the fact that most Jews are supporters of Israel? If so are most Jews racist?

    These are of course loaded questions. I’m speaking to you from Jerusalem. I’m outside in a cafe right now in the central market. The guy dishing out nuts in the kiosk next to me is a dark Kurdish Jew. Two redhead hassidic girls just walked by. My Palestinian neighbor is up the street buying pitas. Sitting next to me is an Ethiopian Jewish couple and near them a Muslim family – the wife is wearing a Chador and the husband is bearded and wearing a white Islamic style cap.

    So tell me again how Zionism is racism? And please tell me how the goings on in a tiny country 10,000 miles away is of any relevance to the proper governance of York students?

    Finally, I’m wondering when YFS is going to pass a resolution condemning the 20,000 civilian deaths caused by the Sri Lankan Army’s recent defeat of the Tamil Tigers.

    Send me the press release. I’m waiting.

  • ck – your last question is the relevant one – “please tell me how the goings on in a tiny country 10,000 miles away is of any relevance to the proper governance of York students?”

    Of course it isn’t, and while the rest of what you say is right, as well, I fear that JesseZ might grab onto your (correct) argument about Zionism not being racism, and turn this into that debate instead.

  • Um, is it possible that the organizer who may or may not have said ““What would YOU people know about democracy” to “two visible minorities” was talking to two members of the YFS government who do happen to be visible minorities and were ignoring the demands and claims of the Drop YFS group? Could it be that what he meant, Jesse, is that these two people who were either elected to the YFS or were supporters of the YFS behaved in an UNDEMOCRATIC fashion and were not acting in the interest of the student body that elected them?

    That’s what I think.

    I don’t think there was ANY racism in the statement you supposedly heard. There was criticism – fair criticism, it seems – of the governing by the YFS. This is perfectly legitimate and can only be construed as racism if you’re looking for a lie to use against your foes who have a legitimate claim to which you have no response. In other words, it’s a cynical ploy just as the original post above claims.

    LB, Jesse can’t grab anything. He feels it’s justified to go up to Jewish students and call them racists because they’re Zionists. After all, even if you assume that his story is true and all of the Drop YFS members and leaders were racists (which they aren’t, and there is no evidence, including his story above, that indicates they are), what is the connection between that and Zionism?

    And Jesse, it is perfectly legitimate for a group called Drop YFS that is angry about the YFS’s poor handling of a strike to become outraged that the next step their democratically elected student government takes is to pass a resolution condemning Israel. That is also about governance and not about Zionism or anything else connected to it, as the presence of non-Jews and people who weren’t affiliated with the Jewish groups listed by Krisna in the video, not to mention the thousands of voters who voted to impeach the YFS, proves conclusively.

    And Jesse, please stop trying to lecture us about manners. If ck attacks you “personally” or if somebody calls you a “self-hating Jew,” you may be offended, but it really isn’t beneath you. What you did that day at York U was so low that it would take quite a bit to insult you worse than you insulted yourself with your behavior.

  • themiddle – we’re in complete agreement here. I just said that in order to try and prevent this from turning to an “is Zionism racism?” debate.

  • Here are some civil Jewish Drop YFS supporters (AKA Zimmerman’s Racist Zionists) being yelled at by the outgoing prez of the YFS.

  • Here is the debate prior to the election. You can see Krisna and then you can see (around 5:30 minutes in), the candidate who must be a Zionist racist.

    The comments under the video include one apparently by Zimmerman.