Sunday, June 06, 2004

This is a truly frightening article on what has happened to UC Berkeley in the last several years -- Berkeley Intifada: As students embrace the Palestinian cause, UC Berkeley has lost whatever reputation it may once have had for tolerance. The article details horrifying anti-semitic incidents and attitudes. (Via Gary Farber). I find this very disheartening as a Jewish academic. My institution has fortunately (thank God!) not been subjected to anything like what has happened at Berkeley. There is a variety of viewpoints about what should happen in the Israel-Palestinian conflict but people have generally (at least in my experience of the last three years) avoided making wildly offensive and inflammatory statements in public.

On the other hand, we haven't been entirely free of completely unnecessary and inflammatory political rhetoric on other issues. As I wrote about in this blog previously, earlier this year some students brought an exhibit to campus called the "Genocide Awareness Project" -- a series of big posters with pictures of aborted fetuses next to photographs of piles of bodies of victims of the Shoah, the World Trade Center burning, etc. In an article in the student newspaper they claimed that their intention was to promote dialogue on the issue of abortion, but of course this tactic merely polarized the discussion, and disgusted many people who were offended by their coopting of our emotions about the Holocaust, the September 11 terrorist attacks, etc. If there must discussions on campus about abortion, then please let them be rational. (I personally am not sure it's worth having discussions about abortion, because everyone's mind seems to be made up).

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