Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Then and Now--Campus Unrest


Then and Now--Campus Unrest 

For the video-go to


We hear of Pink-washing as an attempt to deflect arguments made in support of Israel, when it is pointed out that LGBTQ+ are in danger in Muslim countries ( .i.e in Gaza and in  some countries, gays are killed outright), whereas Israel is tolerant and even had a trans-woman, Dana International, as a representative to the prestigious Eurovision contest. These are pooh-poohed as cover-ups to justify oppression of Palestinians.

So, now, we are being treated to “ Jew-washing”. The Iranians have mastered it when they trot out a token Satmar Hasid to denounce Israel. Now, the campus protesters, organized by Students for Justice in Palestine, trot out their token Jews to oppose Israel at campus takeovers and our own LA Times brings them out as proof that the protesters are not Jew -haters.

I too was once a campus radical. Yes, at New York University’s uptown campus, there had been a student takeover of the administration offices, I think in 1968 or 69. The police were brought in to clear the takeover, and I, like my fellow students, were in sympathy with our classmates, even if we ourselves were not protesting.

I  found myself, as the leader of the Jewish student organization on campus, sitting on the ground, first row, as a large contingent of NYPD’s finest were arrayed to march in over us.

Fortunately, at some point, the confrontation came to an end, the police backed off, and yours truly stands here today without a cracked skull!

So what is different then and now—

Then, we were standing up to the police to defend our fellow students, even though we did not agree with them.

Today, our young students, in campuses across the country, are standing in protest against the police—for the right to harass and abuse their fellow students, especially if they have any , any association with the State of Israel or Israelis or even just belong to organizations like Hillel and Chabad. It was bad, long before the October 7 horrors, and our granddaughter had to speak before the California Regents two years ago, about the harassment she received at UC San Diego.

So, I present us with a then and now:




Many years ago long before I want to remember, I ran Jewish students activities at New York University , at the downtown campus at Washington square. It was 1971 or 72 and we were organizing a rally  to celebrate Israel Independence Day at Washington square park, that's the beautiful park that is featured in every romantic movie that takes place in New York.


There is yours truly on the right side of the screen in the white shirt talking with NYPD, who were there to guarantee our security and save us from troubles by some of the pro Palestinians that were on the campus. Now tempus mutandis  I see what happens just now at my old alma mater New York University

 [ I was at a rally on behalf of Israel at UCLA. There were a large number of anti-Israel protesters. The majority covered their faces with their keifyahs or face masks-so as nit to be identified . At least, when I was a student sitting in front of the police, I had the courage to keep my face visible. Today's protester hide their faces to avoid being recognized, so they will not face penalities later!]

This is then:

Flashback around this time, to Columbia University. It is a few blocks from my rabbinical school, the Jewish Theological Seminary, which was affiliated with Columbia University on some academic programs and at which I also took coursework in psychology:

This was not at Columbia, but I recall a huge rally there, for the Jewish right to leave the Soviet Union

And this is now

At the same spot of the rally for Soviet Jewry, where Jewish students are told to stay home and a professor is barred from his own campus!

This is then

 I was present when the Rev Dr Martin Luther King gave his speech in support of Israel to a convention of Rabbis:

    I think it is necessary to say that what is basic and what is needed in the Middle  East is peace. Peace for Israel is one thing. Peace for the Arab side of that world is   another thing. Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all of our  might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel, and never mind  saying it, as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous ex­ample of what can be done, how desert land almost can be transformed into an    oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that  security must be a reality.

PS He did not mention one word about Palestinians! He only spoke about Arabs in general, about investing in economic development and progress in the Arab world.

This is  now

Students and alumni at the historic Morehouse College want to rescind the offer to President Biden to the commencement because of his support of Israel—and they quote the same Rev King, a Morehouse alumnus:

“It’s absolutely unacceptable …,” a student said. “We always want to talk about Dr Martin Luther King Jr, and we always want to talk about the history of activism and leadership that this school has. And yet this decision does not reflect that history of social justice.” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/apr/25/morehouse-students-biden-commencement-speaker

Talk about a Nietzschean inversion of values!! Or an Orwellian New Speak taking over, which affects our very own.

Here are links to what is really happening on US Campuses. Remember, this has been going on for several years now, against Jewish students, before the War to Free the Hostages.

From Ted Deutsch, head of American Jewish Committee- He is a former Democratic congressman, a liberal:

Link to video conference about Columbia:

Pro-Hamas and antisemitic protesters are targeting Jewish students with physical intimidation, taunts like “go back to Poland,” praise for terrorists who carried out the October 7 massacre, and in some cases, physical violence.”


Here is a statement, directed to College administrators, from Stand With Us, a student outreach organization:

“StandWithUs staff, students and lay leaders around the world are appalled by the level of vicious anti-Jewish racism being promoted by anti-Israel tent “encampments” on a growing number of college campuses.”


I am posting these on our Facebook page.


Today, as we recite our prayers in memory of those whom we loved, we need to be sure that no one will be allowed to put us in fear, as we had been put in fear in the pogroms, mass killings, and expulsions of the past century. We need to convey, in what ever way we can, to our next generation, that they must stand strong and unbowed, never run from the mob, never hides our identity to pass , to make ourselves acceptable.


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