On Thursday, Regent Norman Pattiz urged the body to take a real stand against the anti-Semitic incidents described by students and said that was the intent behind making such a declaration. UC is the first statewide university to consider adopting such a set of principles against intolerance.
“To not recognize why this subject is even being brought up is to do a disservice to those who brought it up in the first place,” he said.
His comments were echoed by other regents and welcomed by Jewish students and groups. They said they hope a new statement will address a rash of anti-Semitic incidents.
“In an apparent softening of party tone, Corbyn’s warm-up man, the journalist Owen Jones, recently reprimanded the Left for its ingrained anti-Semitism. Welcome words, but they will remain only words so long as the Corbynite Left – and indeed the not-so Corbynite Left – refuses to acknowledge the degree to which anti-Semitism is snarled up in the before and after of Israelophobia. The Stop The War Coalition is a sort of home to Jew-haters because its hate music about Israel is so catchy. It simplifies a complex and heartbreaking conflict, it elides causes and effects, it perpetuates a fable that flatters one side and demonises another, it ignores all instances of intransigence and cruelty but one, inflaming hatred and enabling the very racism it declares itself opposed to.
Let’s forget whether or not anti-Semitism is the root of this. It is sufficient that it is the consequence. Face that, Corbyn, or the offence you take at any imputation of prejudice is the hollow hypocrite’s offence, and your protestations of loving peace and justice, no matter who believes them, are as ash.”
Read the full text of author Howard Jacobson’s “Corbyn may say he’s not anti-Semitic, but associating with the people he does is its own crime” on The Independent‘s website.
A note: I’m sorry that the final “Words of the Week” entry for 5775 is not exactly upbeat. But as a writer, I found that Jacobson’s piece took on greater urgency for me because just as I discovered it I also ran across news of a “Poets for Corbyn” project. And then, this morning, came the news from Britain that Corbyn has been elected Labour Party leader.
“The festival organizers contacted me because they were getting pressure from the BDS movement. They wanted me to write a letter, or make a video, stating my positions on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to pacify the BDS people. I support peace and compassion for all people. My music speaks for itself, and I do not insert politics into my music. Music has the power to transcend the intellect, ideas, and politics, and it can unite people in the process. The festival kept insisting that I clarify my personal views; which felt like clear pressure to agree with the BDS political agenda. Honestly it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements. Were any of the other artists scheduled to perform asked to make political statements in order to perform? No artist deserves to be put in such a situation simply to perform his or her art. Regardless of race, creed, country, cultural background, etc, my goal is to play music for all people. As musicians that is what we seek. – Blessed Love, Matis”
“For a long time, I dreamed of being free. Of making a separate peace and standing on my balcony and watching the sun set on my city with no greater thought than “this is my city in the dark.” But I can’t stop caring and worrying. I can’t stop arguing. I know that I’m an individual free to make my own decisions and choose my own path, but I feel I’m being defined by something bigger than myself. I know a little of what my grandparents knew. My worries are older than I am—ancient, the old history closing in. Ebb tide. In the afternoon, you swim above the sand in the clear water, but in the evening the sharks come in to feed in the oceans, white with foam.”
Erika Dreifus is the author of Quiet Americans: Stories (Last Light Studio), which is an ALA Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title for outstanding Jewish literature. Quiet Americans was also named a Notable Book (The Jewish Journal) and a Top Small-Press Book (Shelf Unbound). Erika is a contributing editor for Fiction Writers Review and an advisory board member for J Journal: New Writing on Justice, and she wrote the section on “Choosing a Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing” for the second edition of Tom Kealey’s Creative Writing MFA Handbook (Continuum, 2008). Erika is also the editor/publisher of The Practicing Writer, a free (and popular) e-newsletter featuring advice, opportunities, and resources on the craft and business of writing for fictionists, poets, and writers of creative nonfiction.
For nearly seven years, subscribers have welcomed The Practicing Writer, a free monthly e-newsletter that helps fiction writers, poets, and writers of creative nonfiction with their craft and business. Always listing paying publication opportunities, always announcing contests and other opportunities that don’t charge entry/application fees. Click here [HYPERLINK TO http://www.erikadreifus.com/newsletter/ ) to learn more, click here [HYPERLINK TO http://www.erikadreifus.com/newsletter/current/) to read the latest issue online, or go ahead and subscribe right now (and get a free writing-contest guide!).