Nicole Bernstein Hands Out Friendship and Hope

As my readers will recall, lecturer Ghassan Zakaria, of San Diego State University, gave out a map of the Middle East to his students with the homeland of the Jewish people deleted.

This kind of thing is pernicious because without actually criticizing Israel, Zakaria merely makes the country of our ancestry disappear.  This is simply unacceptable.  No one who teaches at the university level should be allowed by their department to simply make the Jewish people, or the Jewish State, go poof.

It’s a form of heritage theft and whenever it occurs we need to stand up.

Zakaria teaches the Arabic language and, according to the SDSU Chair of Department of Linguistics and Asian / Middle Eastern Languages, Professor Ghada Osman, used “Palestine” in place of Israel on the labels of that map to “reflect the view of Arab-speakers in the region.”

I just got off the phone with Nicole Bernstein, the StandWithUs Regional Director for San Diego, and I have to say I am pleased.  Nicole pursued this story and was interviewed live by ABC (10 News) correspondent, Cristin Severance.

StandWithUs is an organization, introduced to me by Dr. Michael Harris, that those of us who care about the well-being of the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel can be proud of.  They fight strong.  They fight smart.  And they don’t seem to be ideologically beholden to either the political left or the political right.

Nicole tells me, furthermore, that SDSU, in response to this situation, has created two scholarships for those who wish to study in Israel and for those who wish to learn more about Jewish history and culture.

This, she says, is a move unprecedented among American universities.  In recent years some American universities have turned against the Jewish people, by turning against the Jewish State.  Thus Yale University closed its Institute for the study of anti-Semitism (YIISA).  This was a very important initiative headed by Professor Charles Small, the director of the program.  I, for one, looked to this organization because they highlighted scholars from around the world who concerned themselves with a question that should be of deep concern to all Jewish people.

The University of Pennsylvania, sadly, held a conference at the very beginning of this year to boycott, divest from, and sanction (BDS) the Jews of the Middle East.  Columbia University, amazingly enough, hosted Iranian president Ahmadinejad in 2007.

San Diego State University, however, seems to be taking another tack.  Instead of caving to anti-Semitic anti-Zionism, SDSU has stood up and said “no” and we should appreciate that fact.  It’s important because it represents a bit of a turn in the way that things have been going.

A story like this is important precisely because it gives heart, and it gives hope, to our relationships around the world.

It’s not every university in California that is willing to stand up for the Jewish people in the Middle East and the Jewish people of the Middle East are, in fact, a people under siege.

This story, in my view, represents a hopeful moment and hopeful moments are always more than welcome.

{G-d Knows.}

Many thanks to Nicole.

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  1. “A story like this is important precisely because it gives heart, and it gives hope, to our relationships around the world.”

    Nice sentiments Mike, but unfortunately I don’t share your optimism because antisemitism is on a sharp incline globally.

    Many countries support the ‘case for the non-existent State of Palestine’ even though they must see garbage like the following pouring out of Gaza and Judaea/Samaria

  2. Shirlee,

    I know that anti-Semitism is rising around the world.

    But when good news arrives we should acknowledge it.

    It’s Sukkot.

    I’m going to celebrate!

  3. 3 Jews = 37.5 opinions!


  4. susan s. parsons

    Understandable that Anti-Antisemitism is on the rise everywhere and where it stands in the USA now.

    I attribute this to the fact that Bill Ayres and his wife, Bernadine Dorhn, have played such large roles in establishing the curricula in many educational institutions.

    What do you expect from 2 home-grown terrorists who are now so highly respected by the left? Let’s not forget he dedicated his book to Sirhan Sirhan, RFK’s assassin.

    These are the people who launched Obama’s political career. And I am willing to speculate that he was groomed by them over a long period of time.

    • I do not know that I agree, Susan.

      I know a thing or two about the rise of the New Left and the revolutionary movement in the 1960s in the United States because my PhD dissertation was partly concerned with it.

      Ayres and Dorhn were leaders of the small, but entirely vicious organization, the Weather Underground which derived from Tom Hayden’s Students for a Democratic Society, which was probably the single most influential group among politically-inclined American college students throughout the late 1960s.

      But I do not know the degree that they are influential in American national education criteria. My suspicion is not very much, but I could certainly be wrong. If you can point me in a direction to look at that, that would be great.

      I’m also not certain that I would say that these two individuals launched Obama’s career. They helped, I think, but Obama’s career was launched by Harvard University Law School, not Bill Ayers.

      So much more the pity.

  5. When “the Jewish people of the Middle East are under siege” ALL the Jewish People EVERYWHERE are under siege.

    • I strongly disagree, Okey.

      I’m a Jew and I am absolutely not under siege. I am an American and I very rarely have any problems being openly Jewish. I’ve had some over the years – I once lost a girlfriend because of her racism toward us (boo-hoo) – but the very last thing in this world that I feel is any sense of fear from walking out of my house in Oakland, California, as a Jew.

      We have to make distinctions between how the Jews are treated in the United States versus how they are treated in Australia versus how they are treated in Europe versus how they are treated in the Middle East and the Far East and India.

      There are huge differences in this, but there is no question that the Jews of the Middle East are the Jewish people primarily under siege.

      Europe is getting scarier by month, practically, but it is within the Middle East that the hostility is most intense. There are 60 to 70 Jews in the Middle East for every Muslim and, for the most part, those Muslims do not want us there.

      I worry first about them and after them our European brothers and sisters.

      The French are driving the Jews out in a very big way… by the way.

      • Yes, Shirlee.
        And one of the means of smashing through that siege is to do the kind of thing that you have done with this blog: shine a bright light on the truth to enlighten the not -so-knowledgeable and to expose the forces of darkness. When you consider the likes of Richard Falk, you can see that I’m not being melodramatic.
        Remember: sunlight disinfects.
        Widely propagated truth has the potential to disinfect the microbial culture that the Richard Falks have inflicted on human minds.

        • Thanks Okey.

          I do wish more people would comment. We are not short of readers here and from countries you’d never imagine. Some 55 to be exact, which I find fascinating.It appears to be the same here as other sites, Mike I’m sure you’d agree as you too have your regulars, as does very other one I frequent. Our Facebook site is the same.

          Back to the topic at hand.

          The issue we appear to have happening in universities around the world is disturbing. These academics are infecting our young. I am dealing a good bit with AUJS – Australian Union for Jewish Students, and I am becoming increasingly alarmed at how they are being indoctrinated by these ‘loony lefties’. People I know with university aged children are concerned too.

    • I am totally with you Okey.

      Mike he is not speaking about physically being under siege, but mentally. I feel the same.
      It hurts to think what others of my race are being subjected to because they are Jewish and for no other reason.

      • Ah, I see.

        Yes, I would agree with that.

        If we feel any connection to our brothers and sisters in the Middle East then we certainly suffer a psychological sense of being under siege. There is no question about that.

        Certainly I feel that, which is why I write what I write.

  6. Unfortunately the issues here are far greater than what meets the eye. Indeed, it seems that any purveyor of anti Semitism would find sympathetic reception within certain given institutions. Reason are readily available.
    In that incredibly democratic, freedom loving USA, established dislike of JEWS has been in full force well before that majestic wording of the Declaration of Independence – seemingly based on our Torah etc – .
    Non Jewish American aristocracy has been constantly vigillant about the “known” aggrandizment of the Jewish kind about to overwhelm THEIR coast to coast land.
    Rich ( and enriched by ) with Jewish academics, American Universities have had, nevertheless, a constant subliminal , incredibly polite nevertheless, proviso of Jewish elitist aversion . And where would they have had that coming from, Britain, of course, where aristocracy made it aboundantly clear the limited “privileges” they would afford their own Yids.
    So, when fresh minds ( of the Middle Eastern anti Semitic type ) approach the same institutions within the same spirit of love for freedon of whatever Constitutional amendments allow, a ferile ground of “healthy” , academic no less, expressions on Jewish matters would embrace them. What would be of greater concern is offered by known Jews within the same academic confines NOT objecting in REAL numbers to these obsecene intrusions, attempting at the very nature and function of any learning institution of the Ivy kind or not. Just imagine the dream of all Jewish academics, and students, within American Universities objecting just as firmly to these aggressive assaults on the mind and true abuses of the famous American democratic spirit !!!
    Ms. Bernstein is to be admired and suported, yet, WE HAVE A LOT TO ANSWER FOR !!!!!

  7. When our bitter enemies in Western academia and the media invoke “Jewish” antisemites in their attempts to undermine Jewish morale, we need to point out that it would be just as “logical” for loyal Jews to argue that those non-Jewish academics and media people who are antsemites/antiZionists do so because, being non-Jewish, they MUST be biased against us.

    Also, when our foes act as described above, it would disarm them to point out that a great number of non-Jewish academics and media people past and present have been /are great supporters of Israel.

    A note: how many people know that Lawrence of Arabia, the oft-cited champion of Arab nationalism was actually ALSO a SUPPORTER of ZIONISM; he argued that co-operation between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East would benefit BOTH nations.

  8. Okey
    you are touching on a very important issue, I shall call it the “redundancy of specificity”.
    In disciplines, such as mathematical logic, physics, chemistry, medicine and alike, specificities of subject matter based on spiritual choice and or antropological distinctions are completely redundant. In matters “political” or of the administration of populace – from the Greek “polis”, town, place of human redisdence – specificity determines behaviour. The choice of beliefs, antropological character – rece, colour etc. – and, strictly related, welfare benefits – protecting living space – play variable values. I say variable for the simple reason that they are not fix values, they are negotiable, alterable.
    Anti Semitism is a form of negotiable, alterable living values, same as any other such prejudice. Circumstances determine attitudes. As such, existential logic, relative to impending forces, is bound to alter attitudes. It means that, under ceratin circumstances, the specific atitude of anti Semitism, for instance, may be deemed redundant, it may alter into annullement, be gone.
    Humans must conceive methods of persuasion. I shall give you one most relevant example.
    In 2013 Germany is an active supporter of the Jewish State. Compare with the same in, say, 1942 versus ( operative term ) anything Jewish by the same teritorial State entity.
    The job of altering anti Semitism, making it redundant is not impossible, just complex and enormous. Rectionary forces are traditional prejudice and renewed ideological sources, such as Islamic inspired existential authority and expansionist ideologies and political authoritarian entities, such as the palestinian need for imposing its teritorial agenda and Iranian fundamentalist struggle to impose its authority and continuity. Anti semitism is used in all those instances as a mode of persuasion, of implying their legitimacy.
    Blinded by prejudice, non Islamic quarters assist as useful idiots agendas which do NOT fit into their systems organically, unaware that the same agenda they support, attempts at the ENTIRE non Islamic world. To stave off these assaults we must convey these messages, not just attack Islam frontally.

  9. susan s. parsons

    Found this nice clip on You Tube:

  10. Shirlee, your concern about the brainwashing of Jewish youth raises the question, “Why do they accept/respect these loonies’ lies?”
    Is it because the loonies are employees of universities (taxpayers pay their salaries.)
    Is it because the loonies have letters after their names?
    Is it because the youth think that just because an assertion appears in print it must be true?
    All the above can easily be shown to be invalid bases of credibility, and to which undue deference should not be given. Sydney Uni’s “Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies” is a case in point. (The length of its title is inversely proportional to its integrity and value.)

    Or is it because the young have either not been exposed to the Zionist truths or chosen not to access them for some reason?

    Clearly the Zionist truth bearers need to reach out to them. (This blog does this.)
    The Jewish day schools make almost no effort to do this as far as I am told.
    Moriah was an exception (I don’t know if it still is.)

    • I think there is a lot of influence on the younger people to be seen as even handed and also very easy to criticise, because they have no idea what it was like without Israel. What it meant when Israel came into being. I don’t know about that. My husband does, he remembers very clearly the joy in the Community.He was 10.

      They have no need for Israel.Many have no issue with Islam or Muslim. Their eyes are closed to the increase of antisemitism around the world.

      The young people in the US are shocking. When I was at the Ayalon Institute in Rehovot, there was an American family, with three daughters, aged about 11, 13 and 15. They had no idea what a kibbutz was. I find that incomprehensible.

      • Evenhanded?!!!
        Would they be evenhanded about the nazis?

      • I doubt they’d be even handed about the Nazis. They want to Arabs in Judaea and Samaria to get a good deal. Which means withdrawing tot he Green Line no doubt, which we know is an impossibility. A good many of them support the NIF especially in Melbourne

      • “…a good deal?”
        Haven’t these young people been informed that the entire cultural / educational /political foundations of the Arabs who call themselves “Palestinians” are saturated with DENIAL OF THE JEWS’ RIGHT TO A FAIR GO!!!!!! and that this is part of the Islamic tradition?
        Don’t these young people know that the enemy declare again and again that even if Israel were to make suicidal territorial concessions, the Arab position would not change, namely that the Jewish People are not entitled to what every other people are entitled to?

  11. Anyone care to comment on this very good almost accurate Blog.
    She has a few things she needs to put straight on. She left a ping back on
    ’Revisiting the Failings of the Jewish Left’

  12. …………… and then we are also dealing with the subjective responses to a few socio-political irritants. The most acute such irritants are “power” and “authority” and better still, “authority through power”.

    This is, in my view, why we are dealing with two distinct categories, youth and tertiary educated adults.

    Youth would be under almost unavoidable hormonal pressure to assert and object, implicitely, to authority.

    Tertiary educated adults need to assert the accumulated values of their intellectual efforts and the prime target would be, again, perceived authority imposed through “power’. Now, laws, have the power of imposing behavioural norms, They represent the power of the State.

    But why Israel has become the target of the above groups !!??

    Simply because Israel has been for the past almost seven decades a form of assertive power, imposing its authority over certain categories. The actual categories have acquired an even more oppressive profile by being the constant losers/victims of direct conflicts, the actual wars waged constantly by the eventual oppressed/victims AGAINST the perennial winner, ISRAEL.

    What makes this farcical narrative even more “dramatic” is the fact that the current oppressor contains the contradictory feature of being “once” the ultimate victim. Thus, the very expression of the highest form of oppression, the Holocaust is denied now to the actual victims of it, the Jews. Jews no longer “deserve” to attribute of “victims” by virtue of the fact that they had turned the labelling tables by daring to stand up and defend themselves against the purveyors of continued anti-Jewish Holocaust, now the….victims, the Palestinians.

    I once put it to a journalist with a PhD no less, that Israel is at fault because Israel keeps being the winner in all the conflicts. He stopped in his thoughts, agreed with me and left the room.
    Victims attract immediate compassion, need for support.

    The perversion of values would go as far as witnessing of late attempts at making losing Nazi Germans as victims of Allied victorious onslaught upon Nazi Germany in the last months of the WWII, The bombing of Dresden, for example, as retort for the Nazi blitz over England is being presented in certain circles now as …. criminal. But I am digressing a little.
    Palestinian PR strategies bank on a few easily assimilated God terms, such as the mentioned “oppression”, “denial of human rights”, “living under occupation”, “occupation forces”, “apartheid” etc. Those who contain the seeds of objection to “authority by power” would be organically enlisted as militants for causes in many cases completely inorganically related to them. Among them one finds even Jews positioned against Jewish values, against pro-Israel issues. Casually we call them “lefty loonies “. It is, if one wants to be so precious, too much of a philosophical compliment. To be a genuine “lefty’ it requires at least some knowledge of Marxist notions, not quite studying ‘The Capital “, but at least having a modicum of idea about the ex-Jewish personality and his ideas, as well as those following him. I would call someone a lefty if, without looking up Wikipaedia , will tell me a thing or two about Lukacs or Kolakowsky. ( Mind you I am not a lefty at all ,yet I met both Lukacs and Kolakowsky and that is quite a feat !!). Otherwise we are dealing with seriously deranged anti-social frustrated irresponsible “any cause will do” objectors. I am not reflecting here upon the actual subjects of the said “oppression”. They are bitter losers, bent on revenge, almost a normal condition.

    … be continued

  13. Otto, I have a similar anecdote.
    During the Lebanon War of 1982, I asked an ABC current affairs producer why Israel was being denigrated in the media even though it was the object of PLO terrorism.
    His answer was as follows:
    ” It’s like the rugby league competition. People get bored when the same team keeps winning.”

    At least he was candid.
    Today an ABC employee would give specious rationalisations based on ABC pseudo-morality for the ABC’s gross journalistic misconduct when reporting on Israel.

  14. Okey

    again you touch on a very relevant issue, the source of “reliable”, on the spot information given by REPORTERS. Here is the crux. A reporter reports “objectively”. Yet, the man/woman on the spot is relied on as “expert’ and they are allowed, indeed encouraged to venture into OPINIONS cum comments. Such a “correspondent” dwells on summary data and a lot of proffessional hedonism. They are instant specialists almost in all cases following tendencies, selective information, political agendas, experts in twisting the little information they posess.
    This is how ABC ( and CNN, BBC etc. ) device their “public” function/responsibilities. In Israel’s case, the lefties we are still talking about, rely heavily on tendentious reportaing…….

  15. Guys, read this excellent piece on Mike Lumish’s Blog

    “Questions for the European Left “