Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tom Rochon, president of Ithaca College, signed presidents' letter to Trump

President Rochon of Ithaca College signs letter to Trump urging him to speak out against harassment and hate

This is the text of the letter:

Letter From Presidents to President-Elect Trump

Dear President-elect Trump,

As do you, we “seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.” In order to maintain the trust required for such productive engagement, it is essential that we immediately reaffirm the core values of our democratic nation: human decency, equal rights, freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination. As college and university presidents, we commit ourselves to promoting these values on our campuses and in our communities, and we stand alongside the business, nonprofit, religious and civic leaders who are doing the same in organizations large and small.

In light of your pledge to be “President for all Americans,” we urge you to condemn and work to prevent the harassment, hate and acts of violence that are being perpetrated across our nation, sometimes in your name, which is now synonymous with our nation’s highest office. In our schools, on job sites and college campuses, on public streets and in coffee shops, members of our communities, our children, our families, our neighbors, our students and our employees are facing very real threats, and are frightened.

One of the roles of leaders is to protect and empower the most vulnerable. As president-elect, this responsibility rests heavily on you. Let this be a mark of your leadership.

-------------------

I'm glad that Rochon has signed this statement.

Nonetheless, this letter does not name who is really threatened by Trump's administration - Muslims, people of color, LGBT people, students who have been allowed to stay in the United States under the DACA program, Jews, people with disabilities. The targets of these acts of "harassment, hate" and "violence" are not identified, even though these attacks are aimed at member of specific groups.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Do not say that you did not know: Antisemitic hate crimes and political antisemitism

Just in the last few days.....

A few days before the election, Racist, anti-Semitic and pro-Donald Trump graffiti was found on Mount Tom, in Massachusetts: "Trump 2016," "Gas the Jews," "Fuck the Jews," and "Kill all niggers," plus two swastikas.



At Oberlin College, the home of a Jewish professor was vandalized and an antisemitic note was left on his porch.
OBERLIN, OH (WOIO) - (November 18) 
Oberlin College says that there was an anti-Semitic hate crime against one of their professors and his family Wednesday night. 
Police said that Benjamin Kuperman, an associate professor and chair of the computer science department, called around 3:40 a.m. when he heard a noise outside his home. He told officers that he found the sea shells on his porch were smashed and a note had been left behind a mezuzah he had hung up on his door frame.

The note was a ripped piece of paper that appeared to have letters glued on reading "GAS JEWS DIE."
And on Saturday, at an "alt-right" meeting in Washington, DC, hosted by the National Policy Institute, of which he is the head, Richard Spencer spoke in explicitly Nazi and antisemitic terms:
But now his tone changed as he began to tell the audience of more than 200 people, mostly young men, what they had been waiting to hear. He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the “children of the sun,” a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were “awakening to their own identity.” 
As he finished, several audience members had their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute. When Mr. Spencer, or perhaps another person standing near him at the front of the room — it was not clear who — shouted, “Heil the people! Heil victory,” the room shouted it back....
At the conference on Saturday, Mr. Spencer, who said he had coined the term, defined the alt-right as a movement with white identity as its core idea....
Mr. Spencer’s after-dinner speech began with a polemic against the “mainstream media,” before he briefly paused. “Perhaps we should refer to them in the original German?” he said. 
The audience immediately screamed back, “Lugenpresse,” reviving a Nazi-era word that means “lying press.” 
Mr. Spencer suggested that the news media had been critical of Mr. Trump throughout the campaign in order to protect Jewish interests. He mused about the political commentators who gave Mr. Trump little chance of winning. 
One wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem,” he said, referring to a Jewish fable about the golem, a clay giant that a rabbi brings to life to protect the Jews.
Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Spencer said, was “the victory of will,” a phrase that echoed the title of the most famous Nazi-era propaganda film. But Mr. Spencer then mentioned, with a smile, Theodor Herzl, the Zionist leader who advocated a Jewish homeland in Israel, quoting his famous pronouncement, “If we will it, it is no dream.” 
The United States today, Mr. Spencer said, had been turned into “a sick, corrupted society.” But it was not supposed to be that way.
“America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Mr. Spencer thundered. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.” 
But the white race, he added, is “a race that travels forever on an upward path.” 
“To be white is to be a creator, an explorer, a conqueror,” he said.
In July of this year, Steven Bannon, who has now been appointed the chief strategist by Donald Trump, said,"'We're the platform for the alt-right,' Bannon told me proudly when I interviewed him at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in July." 
Though disavowed by every other major conservative news outlet, the alt-right has been Bannon's target audience ever since he took over Breitbart News from its late founder, Andrew Breitbart, four years ago. Under Bannon's leadership, the site has plunged into the fever swamps of conservatism, cheering white nationalist groups as an "eclectic mix of renegades," accusing President Barack Obama of importing "more hating Muslims," and waging an incessant war against the purveyors of "political correctness."
A former Breitbart employee, Ben Shapiro (who is Jewish) described the alt-right as a "movement shot through with racism and anti-Semitism." He called Breitbart News "a party organ, a pathetic cog in the Trump-Media Complex and a gathering place for white nationalists."
The reception he and another conservative Jewish Breitbart critic, Bethany Mandel, have experienced in the Bannonosphere is revealing: In May, when Shapiro, who became editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire after leaving Breitbart, tweeted about the birth of his second child, he received a torrent of anti-Semitic tweets. "Into the gas chamber with all 4 of you," one read. Another tweet depicted his family as lampshades. Mandel says she has been harassed on Twitter for months, "called a 'slimy Jewess' and told that I 'deserve the oven.'" 
After Shapiro called out the anti-Semitism, Breitbart News published (under the byline of Pizza Party Ben) a post ridiculing Shapiro for "playing the victim on Twitter and throwing around allegations of anti-Semitism and racism, just like the people he used to mock." 
Back at the RNC, Bannon dismissed Shapiro as a "whiner…I don't think that the alt-right is anti-Semitic at all," he told me. "Are there anti-Semitic people involved in the alt-right? Absolutely. Are there racist people involved in the alt-right? Absolutely. But I don't believe that the movement overall is anti-Semitic."

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Antisemitic professor Joy Karega has been fired from Oberlin College

Statement from the Oberlin College Board of Trustees:
The Oberlin College Board of Trustees, after extensive consideration and a comprehensive review of recommendations from multiple faculty committees and Oberlin President Marvin Krislov, has voted to dismiss Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Joy D. Karega for failing to meet the academic standards that Oberlin requires of its faculty and failing to demonstrate intellectual honesty.

The dismissal is effective Tuesday, November 15, 2016.

As a Board, we agree with President Krislov and every faculty committee reviewing this matter that the central issues are Dr. Karega's professional integrity and fitness. We affirm Oberlin's historic and ongoing commitment to academic freedom.

During this process, which began with Dr. Karega's posting of anti-Semitic writings on social media, Dr. Karega received numerous procedural protections: she was represented by counsel; she presented witness testimony, documents, and statements to support her position; and she had the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses testifying against her.

The faculty review process examined whether Dr. Karega had violated the fundamental responsibilities of Oberlin faculty members - namely, adherence to the "Statement of Professional Ethics" of the American Association of University Professors, which requires faculty members to "accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending and transmitting knowledge" and to "practice intellectual honesty." 
Contrary to this obligation, Dr. Karega attacked her colleagues when they challenged inconsistencies in her description of the connection between her postings and her scholarship. She disclaimed all responsibility for her misconduct. And she continues to blame Oberlin and its faculty committees for undertaking a shared governance review process.

For these reasons, the faculty review committees and President Krislov agreed on the seriousness of Dr. Karega's misconduct. Indeed, the majority of the General Faculty Council, the executive body of Oberlin's faculty, concluded that Dr. Karega's postings could not be justified as part of her scholarship and had "irreparably impaired (her) ability to perform her duties as a scholar, a teacher, and a member of the community."

In the face of Dr. Karega's repeated refusal to acknowledge and remedy her misconduct, her continued presence undermines the mission and values of Oberlin's academic community. Thus, any sanction short of dismissal is insufficient and the Board of Trustees is compelled to take this most serious action.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Do not say that you did not know: Trump appoints antisemite as his chief strategist in the White House

I just posted this to Facebook:

To my friends and family - our incoming president has just appointed an open antisemite and racist as his close White House advisor. Steve Bannon was the CEO of his campaign and is now going to be his chief strategist and senior counselor. Before he started working for Trump, Bannon was the head of Breitbart News, a right-wing news site (started by the late Andrew Breitbart,who was Jewish). He turned it into a bastion of the "alt-right" - a new name for what used to be called the racist right.

An NBC News article on Trump's appointment of Reince Preibus as Trump's chief of staff says this of Bannon: "That list also reportedly included Steve Bannon, Trump's controversial campaign CEO whose website, Breitbart News, has espoused anti-Semitic and nationalist views."

Below is just one of the anti-semitic articles published by Breitbart - discussed in an article by Yair Rosenberg of Tablet Magazine (who has been exposing the antisemitic alt-right all during the campaign).

If you - a friend or a family member - expect me to calm down and accept that Donald Trump's presidency is "business as usual," you'll be waiting for a long time.

For the first time since the late 1930s, political antisemitism is now a part of the mainstream of American politics, this time fostered by one of the two major parties, the Republicans.

If anyone - especially other Jews - thinks that this is normal, you are sticking your heads into the sand.
Last month, Donald Trump tapped Stephen Bannon, the chairman of Breitbart News, to be his campaign’s new CEO. Today, Breitbart published an anti-Semitic screed against Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum. Titled “WaPo’s Anne Applebaum Embarks On Kremlin-Style Disinformation Offensive vs. the Anti-Globalist Right,” the piece is a meandering, conspiratorial critique of Applebaum’s political stances. And as meandering conspiratorial pieces tend to do, it ultimately introduces its target’s Jewishness for no reason at all:
[H]ell hath no fury like a Polish, Jewish, American elitist scorned. Following the fall from grace, Applebaum began utilizing her global media contacts, disbursing heavily curated and obfuscated “facts patterns” meant to construct an anti-democratic global news narrative depicting the new democratically elected Law & Justice government as far right fascists and illiberal anti-democrats.
Essentially, the piece is 1,400-word fever dream about a Jewish agent working for a globalist conspiracy. Rather than offering a serious critique of Applebaum’s views, it offers dark innuendo. And with the explicit invocation of her Jewishness, it abandons the dog whistle for the fog horn. (Unsurprisingly, the piece’s comments section is full of enthusiastic anti-Semites.)
Go to Tablet for the rest of the article.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Political antisemitism in the United States in 2016 - do not say that you did not know - UPDATED

Today, Donald Trump issued his last ad of the campaign, and it explicitly makes use of antisemitic language and associates it with several well-known Jews. This is the analysis of Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:
Take a moment to look at this closing ad from Donald Trump.

From a technical and thematic perspective it's a well made ad. It's also packed with anti-Semitic dog whistles, anti-Semitic tropes and anti-Semitic vocabulary. I'm not even sure whether it makes sense to call them dog whistles. The four readily identifiable American bad guys in the ad are Hillary Clinton, George Soros (Jewish financier), Janet Yellen (Jewish Fed Chair) and Lloyd Blankfein (Jewish Goldman Sachs CEO). 
The Trump narration immediately preceding Soros and Yellin proceeds as follows: "The establishment has trillions of dollars at stake in this election. For those who control the levers of power in Washington [start Soros] and for the global [start Yellen] special interests [stop Yellen]. They partner with these people [start Clinton] who don't have your good in mind." 
For Blankfein: "It's a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the [start Blankein] pockets of a handful of large corporations [stop Blankfein] and political entities." 
These are standard anti-Semitic themes and storylines, using established anti-Semitic vocabulary lined up with high profile Jews as the only Americans other than Clinton who are apparently relevant to the story. As you can see by my transcription, the Jews come up to punctuate specific key phrases. Soros: "those who control the levers of power in Washington"; Yellen "global special interests"; Blankfein "put money into the pockets of handful of large corporations." 
This is an anti-Semitic ad every bit as much as the infamous Jesse Helms 'white hands' ad or the Willie Horton ad were anti-African-American racist ads. Which is to say, really anti-Semitic. You could even argue that it's more so, given certain linguistic similarities with anti-Semitic propaganda from the 1930s. But it's not a contest. This is an ad intended to appeal to anti-Semites and spread anti-Semitic ideas. That's the only standard that really matters. 
This is intentional and by design. It is no accident. 
Trump has electrified anti-Semites and racist groups across the country. His own campaign has repeatedly found itself speaking to anti-Semites, tweeting their anti-Semitic memes, retweeting anti-Semites. His campaign manager, Steven Bannon, is an anti-Semite. The Breitbart News site he ran and will continue running after the campaign has become increasingly open in the last year with anti-Semitic attacks and politics
Beyond that, this shouldn't surprise us for a broader reason. Authoritarian, xenophobic political movements, which the Trump campaign unquestionably is, are driven by tribalism and 'us vs them' exclusion of outsiders. This may begin with other groups - Mexican immigrants, African-Americans, Muslims. It almost always comes around to Jews. 
It's true there is son-in-law Jared Kushner, a Jew and Ivanka, who converted to Judaism. But this isn't terribly surprising. Kushner appears to be conscienceless. And as I noted here, there is a storied history of anti-Semites being happy to distinguish between good Jews and bad Jews. 
There's been a lot of discussion of anti-Semitism and the Trump campaign but a fierce resistance to coming to grips with the fact that anti-Semitism is a key driving force of the Trump campaign, that the campaign itself is an anti-Semitic one even though the great majority of Trump's supporters are not anti-Semites. When he closes out his campaign with a blatantly anti-Semitic ad, it's time to rethink that resistance.

Update - Josh Marshall has written several good analyses of the antisemitism in the Trump campaign. For links to more articles, see:
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/is-trump-an-anti-semite (by Marshall)
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/nationalism-into-the-abyss - this discusses the speech that the advertisement above uses (Marshall)
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-conspiratorial-picture-florida (news article by Matt Shuham) about the speech