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‘New anti-Semitism’ on college campuses is largely blowback against orchestrated Israel advocacy

In the past month much has been written about two incidents of anti-Semitism at University of California campuses.  According to the NY Times and the Los Angeles Times, they represent a national trend of revived campus anti-Semitism.

We think an even cursory look at these two incidents reveals a different story, with some surprising revelations about them and the new role of Israel itself as the cause of a new anti-Semitism.

One incident was a swastika painted on the wall of a Jewish fraternity house at UC Davis after a campus divestment campaign.  The frat boys claim this incident was the work of pro-Palestinian BDS activists.  But neither they nor the campus cops have come forth with a shred of evidence.  Their charge, nevertheless, follows a broader trend labeled the New Anti-Semitism.  Defenders of the Israeli government equate criticisms of Israel, especially university divestment proposals, with earlier forms of anti-Semitism based on Christian theology or Nazi-type racial theories.

The second incident was at UCLA, where there has been no similar incident, before or after.   A Jewish undergraduate who is a campus Hillel officer, Rachel Beyda, applied to join the undergraduate Judicial Board.  In her interview student government officers asked if her involvement with campus Jewish organizations, specifically UCLA Hillel and her sorority, allowed her to impartially serve on the Judicial Board.  Several days later, her roommate wrote an article for The Daily Bruin, stating that she overheard the student officers, meeting in executive session after the interview, raise questions of dual loyalty.

In this case we have a full video of the interview and also an extensive written record of Israel-related activism on the UCLA campus.  This context includes the intervention of an off-campus businessman and convicted felon, Adam Milstein.   Milstein is connected to right-wing Zionist groups and has funneled money through UCLA Hillel to influence student elections and oppose divestment campaigns on the UCLA campus lead by Students for Justice in Palestine UCLA.

Although the details of the UC Davis case remain unknown, in the case of UCLA, there is a back-story to the anti-Semitic questioning of Rachel Beyda’s, namely Hillel’s role in funneling Milstein’s money into student elections.  Although this history has been excluded from the multiple stories about the incident, we believe that Milstein’s intervention through Hillel led to the student interviewers’ doubts about Hillel officer Rachel Beyda’s judicial impartiality.

While the student officers approved her application after their executive session, it took the intervention of staff advisor, Debra Geller.  She explained to the student officers that an applicant’s ethnic or religious identity could not be used to evaluate his or her candidacy.

How do these two incidents compare to empirical trends regarding anti-Semitic practices on U.S. college campuses?  According to the Anti-Defamation League, which conducts an annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, anti-Semitism at US college campuses is at a historic low point.  As we have written previously in Mondoweiss, actual anti-Semitic incidents are barely measureable, and the long history of discrimination against Jews in academia has disappeared.  There are no more glass ceilings for Jewish professors to become department chairs, deans, or college presidents.  Admission quotas, especially for medical schools, are long gone.  And, fraternities and sororities have all dropped discriminatory clauses barring Jews from membership.  Finally, students interested in Jewish or Israeli studies, as well as Hebrew and Yiddish, now have multiple options at many campuses.

These developments are fully observable at UCLA, where the University’s Chancellor, Gene D. Bloch, is Jewish.   UCLA also offers abundant opportunities to take Jewish-related courses, write for Jewish publications, or participate in Jewish organizations.  In fact, UCLA Hillel Executive Director Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller described these trends in full detail for one of his recent High Holiday sermons.

This brings us to the ultimate irony of these real and imagined anti-Semitic incidents on American campuses.  They are largely push back against externally orchestrated Israel advocacy, usually through Jewish institutions that receive support from the Israeli government, Israel-connected organization like the Jewish National Fund and AIPAC, or outside donors, like Milstein.  In many cases they operate well-funded programs, such as Hasbara Fellows, to train campus operatives supportive of the Israeli government.

So even though overall trends continue downward, the appearance of several anti-Semitic incidents directly or potentially related to Israel is simply blowback against clumsy efforts to oppose BDS campaigns or Israel Apartheid Week, a common spring program of Students for Justice in Palestine chapters.

In other words, even though Israel was established by the Zionist movement to escape what it viewed as ineradicable anti-Semitism, Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people and its efforts to quash dissent in the U.S. have resulted in pushback that Israeli advocates mislabel as “anti-Semitism” or the New Anti-Semitism.  But political disagreement with Israel’s policies is not based on hatred of Jews.  Rather, it is opposition to Israel’s policies of occupation and denying Palestinians individual and group rights.  When it is incorrectly labeled “anti-Semitism,” it is a blatant attempt to suppress political speech.

Ironically, Israel and its extremist supporters in the United States are undercutting the work of Jewish defense organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League, that have had extraordinary success over the past century in eliminating real anti-Semitism.   One of their achievements was to rebut widespread allegations that American Jews had divided loyalties between the United States and Israel.   Recent Israeli declarations, however, from Netanyahu himself, that Israel is the state of the entire Jewish people, have revived these suspicions, including at UCLA.  When pro-Israel activists claim they speak for all Jews, it stigmatizes Jews everywhere with the biases of these pro-Israel activists.  That perception is what underlay the reported statements from student officers about Rachel Beyda’s divided loyalties.

As we examine these and related cases, we come to an inescapable conclusion.  Defenders of the Israeli government are fostering incidents of anti-Semitism that Israel was intended to ward off.

Jeff Warner and Dick Platkin

Jeff Warner and Dick Platkin are members of LA Jews for Peace.  They welcome comments and questions at [email protected]

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34 Responses

  1. Sycamores on March 26, 2015, 12:29 pm

    not forgetting false flags

    Another swastika at GW. This one was posted by a Jewish student

    By Susan Svrluga March 18

    A swastika was posted on the bulletin board of a Jewish fraternity in a George Washington University dorm on Monday, leading upset students to immediately report it to police.

    The symbol — recognized as an emblem of hate from Nazi Germany — apparently came from an internal source: A member of the fraternity, who is Jewish, admitted that he posted it there. The student said that he brought it back from a spring break trip to India, according to university officials.

    very informative if you have the time to watch a 2 hour video of Dr. Norman Finkelstein addressing ‘New Antisemitism’. Hosted by SJP UW-Madison on 3/12/2015

    • just on March 26, 2015, 1:26 pm

      Thanks Jeff and Dick. More Islamophobia cloaked as US patriotism on the rise as evidenced by the following story.

      Here’s a false flag for you, Sycamores:

      “‘Patriot’ Terrorist Frames Muslims With Quran Bomb

      The Georgia man who planted a bomb was willing to see innocents die so that people would blame Muslims. And he called himself a ‘patriot.’

      I thought I had seen every imaginable way to stoke the flames of anti-Muslim bigotry in America. There have been countless people on Fox News, certain Republican elected officials, the professional bigots, and even some right-wing “Christian” leaders serving up hate in various ways.

      But these people all pale in comparison to Michael Sibley. You see, Sibley wasn’t content to just giving us the same old right-wing crap like Muslims wants to impose Islamic law so say goodbye to bacon cheeseburgers and whiskey and say hello to lamb kebobs and strong coffee served in small cups.

      Nope, this self-described “patriot” planted a bomb at a national park in Georgia in the hopes that the public would think a Muslim did it. And yes, I know most haven’t heard about this incident. There’s not even a need to mention how different the media coverage would be have been if the bomber had actually been Muslim. I already detailed that scenario earlier this week in my article about a non-Muslim man that attacked federal officers at a U.S. airport with poison spray and a machete while carrying six homemade bombs in a duffel bag.

      Sibley, who is 67 years old and lives in Roswell, Georgia, told FBI officers that he planted this bomb because in his view, “no one was paying attention to what was going on the world.” Apparently as a “patriot” he was going to maim or even kill his fellow Americans to wake them up to the threat facing America…

      …And while the threat of Muslim-related terrorism attracts headlines, per a 2014 report, only 37 Americans have been killed by such terrorism since 9/11. Meanwhile, in just the last six years, 63 Americans have been killed in the United States by people connected to right-wing hate groups.

      But these statistics mean little to those like Sibley who believe that America needs to “wake up” to the threat of Muslim violence, an expression I have seen on numerous anti-Muslim websites. My fear though is that with more Muslim bashing expected in the coming presidential election from some on the right, we may see even more Sibleys who would literally sacrifice other Americans to achieve their goal of inspiring anti-Muslim bigotry.”

      read the whole thing here @

      • Sycamores on March 26, 2015, 1:52 pm


        i swear you have esp. i just watch the Right-Wing ‘Patriot’ Plants Pipe Bombs to Frame Muslims, Media Ignores

      • just on March 26, 2015, 2:06 pm

        lol~ I have certainly been accused of ‘worse’ things, Sycamores! Some close to me have told me that my ‘intuition’ is fairly accurate and ‘powerful’.

        Seriously, it takes all of us to keep up, and thanks for the link to the video.

      • JWalters on March 26, 2015, 8:17 pm

        Speaking of waking up the American public, here’s a rundown of Israeli crimes by law professor Marjorie Cohn.

        Consortium News is an excellent site for going behind the official stories on foreign affairs, with impeccable credentials for courage, honesty, and insider expertise.

      • Sycamores on March 26, 2015, 10:57 pm


        DAM Palestinian hip-hop group.

        DAM – WHO YOU ARE (Official Video)

        DAM’s new single, WHO YOU ARE, addresses socially constructed gender roles and women’s rights. This empowering song is a joint project between DAM and UNFPA.

        i believe there is an English translation coming soon.

        to be honest this is my first time i heard of this group

        their great voices and clever camera work is top notch.

      • just on March 26, 2015, 11:11 pm

        Thank you SO much for that, Sycamores!


    • on March 26, 2015, 3:30 pm

      “…that have had extraordinary success over the past century in eliminating real anti-Semitism.”

      I guess I failed to see where there was any major problem with actual anti-Semitism (as opposed to imagined or proclaimed anti-Semitism) in the USA. Other white immigrant groups like the Irish and Italians faced worse abuse, never mind what America had in store for black, brown, yellow, and red peoples.

      “One of their achievements was to rebut widespread allegations that American Jews had divided loyalties between the United States and Israel”.

      How do you rebut an obvious truth as far as many American Jews are concerned? In fact, many seem far more loyal to Israel than the USA.

      • RoHa on March 27, 2015, 5:18 am

        You don’t have to actually rebut it. You declare it an “anti-Semitic trope” and scream abuse at anyone who suggests it.

    • concernedhuman on March 27, 2015, 2:14 am

      This is an old one. A girl paints swastika on her door and claims victim.

    • traintosiberia on March 28, 2015, 11:57 am

      Very informative and elucidating. It confirms the old adage that fish rots from head. Israeli elite at different times ( I mean the Zionists) have orchestrated different false flags sometimes events that have ended up sometimes hurting Jews ( Ship from Odessa was bombed , Lavon affairs, Baghdad synagogue bombing , and periodic provocations at Egyptian,Lebanese,Syrian borders and Gazan borders)
      It has reached new lows . Sawastika !
      Not that long ago Zionist would say.: nothing hurts the Jews more than the accusation of Hitleresque Nazi behaviors.
      For decades NYT and others have tried to debunk the killing of 10 Palestinian boy in 2 nd Intifada by Israel while he was cowering under fear along with his father .
      Will it now mention this fact? Will it raise doubt into its own assertion of rising antisemitism which is based on Sawtika incident ? The other incident it has based on has proved to have enough holes that a whole contingent of Zionist Hillel could sneak in and out in order to protect the pro Zionist dominance in the campus.

  2. pabelmont on March 26, 2015, 1:13 pm

    Trouble is, if the MSM reports of these things omit the salient details — the details which “prove” that the so-called antisemitic actions are “blowback” — then the “blowback” assertion fails to be proved to the general public. The public doesn’t know what it doesn’t see.

    It’s like the modern USA trials (often “security” related) in which judges forbid exculpatory evidence to be shown to the jury and forbid cross-examination of prosecution witnesses.

    • just on March 26, 2015, 1:54 pm

      +1 pabelmont!

      Whenever I think of “blowback”, I have to remember that Reverend Shipman was demonized for suggesting such a thing in a tiny NYT LTE.

      “We’ve covered the backlash against a Yale chaplain for his letter to the New York Times saying that Israel’s “carnage” in Gaza and its footdragging on the peace process were a factor in growing anti-Semitism in Europe. Well, that three-sentence letter to the Times has now produced the resignation of the chaplain, Father Bruce Shipman, from the Episcopal Church at Yale.” – See more at:

      I did not see that you had a link to this in your good article, gentlemen. I do apologize if I missed it!:

      “The Anti-Semitism Surge That Isn’t

      …Here’s what we do know: The Anti-Defamation League, which hardly downplays prejudice against Jews and keeps its own, careful statistics, reports that there is a trend: The number of anti-Semitic incidents on campuses in three of the last four years is actually the lowest it’s been since the ADL started keeping track in 1999.
      A deep breath would be a good idea about now.”

      Read more:

  3. a blah chick on March 26, 2015, 2:01 pm

    I see weapons in that picture.

    Human Shields!

  4. eljay on March 26, 2015, 2:02 pm

    When pro-Israel activists claim they speak for all Jews, it stigmatizes Jews everywhere with the biases of these pro-Israel activists.

    Not only do Zio-supremacists conflate Israel with all Jews, they also quite anti-Semitically assert – or tacitly support the assertion – that all Jews are responsible for the actions of some Jews.

    Zio-supremacists do all the hateful and immoral sh*t, and when the blowback hits they just point their fingers at the non-Zionist Jews – their cannon-fodder – and say “They’re the ones you want.”

    With “friends” like these, who needs enemies?

  5. catalan on March 26, 2015, 4:10 pm

    I have never understood the problem with dual or triple loyalty. I am a dual citizen. I have loyalty to many things besides countries. In case of conflict, you are just kind of in the middle and hope for a good outcome. I guess that’s the deal for Chinese Americans or Turkish Bulgarians. With all the migrations in the 20 century there are many people with multiple national loyalties.

    • justicewillprevail on March 26, 2015, 5:45 pm

      Chinese Americans aren’t actively working to undermine America, implicate it in foreign wars, or demanding a ceaseless flow of taxpayer’s money into a wealthy section of the population.

    • mikeo on March 26, 2015, 7:22 pm

      Yeah, because we’re all aware of the Chinese lobby in the US demonising Tibetans as untermenshen.


    • pabelmont on March 26, 2015, 8:56 pm

      The problem of “dual loyalty” for Zionists in America is that they are trying to (or quite willing to) sabotage the good of Americans generally to promote what they believe is the good of Israel. They are willing to act as a 5th column (enemies within the state). This hasn’t seemed like much of a problem until recently because the zionists had trained all the politicians to parrot the words: America’s interests are Israel’s interest, no “daylight” between, no difference at all. So it didn’t seem disloyal. A bit different now with Israel plumping, once again, for war (which it wants America to fight for it) — and much of America (outside the leadership of the Republican Party) tired of unnecessary wars.

    • Mooser on March 27, 2015, 12:03 pm

      “I have never understood the problem with dual or triple loyalty.”

      “catalan”, if you are trying to say you are available for spying or espionage work to the highest bidder, this is the wrong place to advertise. Try the “Soldier of Fortune” website.

    • italian ex-pat on March 27, 2015, 1:51 pm


      I know for a fact that in order for a foreigner to become a US citizen he/she must swear under oath to renounce all loyalty to any other country including that of one’s birth – it’s right there on the application for Naturalization. So either one lies under oath, or the concept of loyalty doesn’t have much meaning.

      • just on March 27, 2015, 2:28 pm

        Thanks, italian ex- pat.

        You bring up something so very basic and true, and something that bothers me often when people talk about dual citizenship.

        This was an interesting read:

        “Five new Knesset members will need to renounce their foreign citizenship before being sworn in as members of the 20th Knesset on Tuesday, Maariv reports. According to Israeli law, legislators must declare and give up any additional, non-Israeli citizenship before they can declare allegiance and enjoy the rights of a Knesset member.

        Likud MK Yoav Kisch holds a British passport. He is a grandson of Brig. Frederick Hermann Kisch, the highest-ranking Jew ever to serve in the British Army and an important Zionist leader.
        The others who will have to give up their foreign citizenship are Yesh Atid’s Haim Yellin (Argentina), Kulanu’s Rachel Azaria (United States), Zionist Union’s Ksenia Svetlova (Russia) and the Joint List’s Abdullah Abu Maaruf (Russia).

        Azaria, whose mother was born in the United States, said that the process of renouncing American citizenship was complicated. “I had two interviews with American consular officials who warned me that giving up the passport is irreversible and the decision is taken in Washington,” she said. “I also had to pay a fee of $2,300.””


        For anyone becoming a US citizen the oath is:

        Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America

        “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

    • michelle on March 27, 2015, 3:24 pm

      @ catalan
      your loyalty sounds more like affection
      ” to thine ownself be true”
      better to be loyal to truth equality justice ….
      G-d Bless

  6. just on March 26, 2015, 8:15 pm

    ‘Why is the American Federation of Teachers promoting Israeli apartheid?

    ……….Weingarten fretted about a status quo that “threatens the future of the State of Israel.” She posited herself as a representative of the reasonable middle in a “vast chasm between those who believe: Israel, right or wrong, and never mind the occupation or democracy; and those who believe: Israel is evil and doesn’t have a right to exist, which then justifies BDS, or worse, violence or terrorism.”

    Fighting BDS

    Her attack on BDS – the Palestinian-led campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions – and her attempt to associate it with “violence” and “terrorism,” echoes her earlier condemnation of the American Studies Association for endorsing the Palestinian call to boycott Israeli institutions complicit in occupation and human rights violations.

    Weingarten then began to speak about a delegation of AFT officials earlier this year to “Israel and the West Bank” that she traveled on along with J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami.


    Weingarten is one of the most influential and high-profile union leaders in the country. But at a time when inner city public school teachers are battling against education cuts and privatization, she is spending her time on advocacy for Israel that has nothing to do with that agenda.

    Without consulting her constituents, she is using her union platform to push a Zionist agenda informed by her view that the Israeli occupation army is the sacred and miraculous answer to the Holocaust.

    Her address to J Street represented precisely the kind of liberal Zionism that Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf condemned when he appeared on the same stage: full of easy potshots at the bogeyman Netanyahu, but total silence about Israel’s siege and massacres in Gaza.”

    much more @

  7. zaid on March 27, 2015, 4:50 am

    they probably do it to themselves to gain sympathy and silence others

  8. hophmi on March 27, 2015, 10:39 am

    What shameful garbage. You complain that in the UC Davis case, there is no evidence that BDS students painted swastikas on the Jewish fraternity building. Then, you assert, with no evidence, that the reason Rachel Beyda was illegally questioned about her membership in the UCLA Jewish community was because of Adam Milstein. There’s no evidence that the student council at UCLA knew anything about Milstein or had Milstein in mind when they questioned Beyda.

    Moreover, it is disingenuous to claim that antisemitism on campus is “blowback” against students who exercised their First Amendment right to oppose divisive BDS and Israeli Apartheid Week programming on campus. One thinks that these authors would never make such a bigoted claim about another minority group.

    • Walker on March 27, 2015, 4:14 pm

      What shameful garbage . . . it is disingenuous to claim that antisemitism on campus is “blowback” against students who exercised their First Amendment right to oppose divisive BDS and Israeli Apartheid Week programming on campus.

      Speaking of shameful garbage, you fail to present any evidence at all of antisemitism on campus. Looking at the video of the interview with Beyda, it’s clear to me that the interviewer, despite her mistaken use of the term “as a Jew”, does not display any animus towards Beyda personally at all. To me it seems obvious that she was inquiring about Beyda’s potential Zionist bias, which is understandable in the context of the attempts of Zionist groups around the world to criminalize criticism of Israel.

  9. steven l on March 28, 2015, 12:13 am

    There was not long ago very little antisemitism in this country but now, thanks to the Islamists on campuses and the many ME programs sponsored by SA, the far left and the left are becoming more openly antisemitic.
    The US socialists (democrats) are following the path created by the European socialists who have always and remain antisemitic to the core.
    Socialism is destroying Europe and its development in this country will lead to the same end.
    Socialists have no core values or ideals except the “society of consumption”, no Ethics, no Morality. We are moving fast in the same direction in this country. The Islamists will support the US socialists in this country like in Europe.
    Antisemitic attacks in the US is far greater (4-5 times more) than attacks against Muslims, yet the Islamists claim that they are the most victimized!!! They use this ploy to intimidate and impose PC copied from the USSR communists and adopted by the US socialists.

    • annie on March 28, 2015, 8:42 am

      Antisemitic attacks in the US is far greater (4-5 times more) than attacks against Muslims, yet the Islamists claim that they are the most victimized!!!

      triple yawn. have you ever watched the movie defamation? they have receptionists there documenting every whim of paranoia labeling in an anti semitic attack whereas 3 muslims get murdered execution style in their own home and the media AND law enforcement hem and haw about labeling it a hate crime for heaven’s sakes!!!! and when a jewish student gets busted for swastica graffiti the attack goes down in the annals of recorded anti semitism (adl’s list) never mind it was likely carried out as a set up!

    • Mooser on March 28, 2015, 11:02 am

      “They use this ploy to intimidate and impose PC copied from the USSR communists and adopted by the US socialists.”

      Well, there you go, “Stevel” ! You got nothing to worry about! And “US socialists” will be as successful as the Russian Communists.

      Besides, Zionism is simply Jewish Socialism. You can look it up!

  10. bopfromthedarkside on March 28, 2015, 12:30 pm

    Important to note: Bibi showed up to intimidate Congress into entering nuclear war, based on lies. This is planet-ending stuff. So, what’s did he do next? HE PLAYS THE HOLOCAUST CARD (cf Elie Wiesel). Zionists should be brought to understand that they’ve been to the well once too often with that old trick. And the old swastika on the dorm room door scam? Credibility wanes.

    Historical Note: In 2007, St Thomas University in Minnesota banned Archbishop Desmond Tutu from a speaking engagement. Tutu’s Past mentions of home demolitions in the territories were deemed to be “hurtful” to the local Jewish community, according to an official St. Thomas announcement. Israeli war crimes should be spoken of., and I, for one, don’t give a good, fat, flying, flatulent, fiddler’s f*** whose feelings get hurt.

    Free speech forever!

    • just on March 28, 2015, 3:34 pm

      “Israeli war crimes should be spoken of., and I, for one, don’t give a good, fat, flying, flatulent, fiddler’s f*** whose feelings get hurt.”

      Ditto that, bop! As a matter of fact, NOT speaking about it kills and injures even more Palestinians.

      I truly hope that St Thomas University in Minnesota has seen the light.

      I read this from wiki:

      “Many faculty members of Voice for Peace led an email campaign calling on St. Thomas to reconsider its decision,[27] which the president did and invited Tutu to campus.[28] Tutu declined the re-invitation, speaking instead at the Minneapolis Convention Center at an event hosted by Metropolitan State University.[29] However, Tutu later addressed the issue two days later while making his final appearance at Metro State.”

      And Father Dennis Dease has been succeeded by Dr. Julie Sullivan in 2013.

      “As the successor of Fr. Dennis Dease, Sullivan is the first layperson and woman to hold that title in St. Thomas’ 128-year history.[1][4]”

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