Anti-Semitism in the University of California (UC) system continues to go unchecked as a fraternity at UC Davis was tagged with swastikas following a system-wide vote to boycott Israel.
Not long after pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel activists coordinated a campaign across all ten campuses in the UC system – a campaign that spurred a student council vote to endorse divestment from Israel – another round of anti-Semitism on the UC Davis campus ensued. The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanction) movement is geared to debilitate Israel so that it will concede in its conflict with the Palestinians. The painted swastikas sent the message to Jewish students on campus that their support of Israel on campus is not welcome.
After the pro-Palestinian vote beat out the pro-Israel vote, a student government body called on the UC Board of Regents last week to divest from "corporations that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settlements in Palestinian territories," according to Sacramento CBS affiliate CBS13.
The spray-painted swastikas — commonly identified as symbols of Adolf Hitler's and Nazi Germany's hate of the Jewish People — were emblazoned over UC Davis' Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) strategically on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. The anti-Semitic crime came right after the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the notorious Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp in Poland, where between one and two million Jews were killed during World War II.
In search of the perpetrators
A search for those responsible for the spray painting of swastikas has revealed some potential leads. "AEPi members believe their fraternity was attacked in retaliation for its support for Israel," Breitbart reported shortly after the incident.
Other allegations were found by many to be more questionable, such as those made by anti-Israel activists, who claim that the tagging rampage was staged by members of the AEPi Jewish fraternity, according to the Times of Israel.
It is reported that UC Davis campus police are currently investigating the racially motivated attack as a hate crime against the Jewish students.
Allowing and condemning anti-Semitism on campus?
Even though the UC system allowed the system-wide voting that resulted in the anti-Semitic boycott of Israel — reaching a campus population of nearly a quarter of a million students — the administration at UC Davis posted an announcement on Facebook condemning the anti-Semitic criminal behavior.
In their public statement to students, parents and the community, school officials insisted that anti-Semitic displays are not welcomed on campus. This assurance was given without mention of the UC system's sweeping anti-Semitic boycott of Israel — the nation many UC Davis students consider as their homeland.
"This kind of behavior is not only repugnant and a gross violation of the values our university holds dear, it is unacceptable and must not be tolerated on our campus or anywhere else," UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and other school officials assured in their written statement. "No matter what religious, political or personal beliefs we hold, as members of a university community, we have an obligation to treat each other with respect and dignity, even when we disagree."
UC Davis administrators then addressed the nature of the attack head-on by pointing out how the swastika historically represents the Nazi Germans' hatred of the Jewish People. This was said, however, without mentioning how the anti-Semitic/pro-Palestinian Muslim community on campus has been anything but silent in expressing a similar antipathy — reminiscent of the 1930s and 1940s — toward Jewish people in Israel and on campus.
"Nothing rivals a swastika as a more potent or offensive symbol of hatred and violence toward our Jewish community members, but this odious symbol is an affront to us all," UC Davis officials proclaimed. "As campus leaders, we are saddened and outraged that this occurred in our community."
Countering AEPi's contention that the vandalism could be tied to those behind the Israel boycott, Muslim-sympathizing student groups supporting the Palestinians contended that the anti-Semitic vote over the Israel debate had nothing to do with the vandalism.
"We reject any attempts to blame this on any single student community, including the UC Davis Divestment movement," stated a letter jointly prepared by a number of student organizations, including the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine.
More prevalent than you think
According to California's largest daily newspaper, anti-Semitic vandalism is nothing new on university campuses in the United States. "The Davis chapter of the Jewish fraternity is not the first to be vandalized with the symbol in recent memory," the Los Angeles Times reports. "An AEPi house at Emory University in Atlanta was painted with swastikas in October, shortly after the end of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur."
After last year's anti-Semitic crime took place on the Georgia campus, AEPi executive director Andrew Borans proclaimed a public warning about the widespread persecution of Jewish people. "[T]his is not an isolated incident on college campuses in North America and across the world," he asserted.