Vile at Vassar
A college finally cracks down on anti-Israel extremists
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, May 17, 2014, 4:10 AM
After allowing an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel infection to fester for months, the president of Vassar College has finally taken a stand for academic freedom and decency. That it took a display of actual World War II Nazi propaganda for her to act is appalling.
President Catharine Hill slammed the anti-Israel Students for Justice in Palestine after the group attempted to tar pro-Israel advocates by displaying on the Internet a poster created in 1944 to sow anti-American feeling among the Dutch under German rule.
The cartoon image, under the heading “Liberators,” shows a monster stomping on a European city while wearing a Star of David, holding a money bag clutched by a long-nosed man, bearing a U.S. flag and cloaked in a Ku Klux Klan hood.
Stirring from her slumber, Hill announced a review of SJP’s status (the group had not yet been granted full campus credentials), said Vassar would probe use of the image “as a bias incident under college regulations,” ordered SJP to “cease representing itself as an official Vassar group” and asked that “the SJP Vassar membership take responsibility for its actions.” Fat chance.
SJP has been running wild on the Poughkeepsie campus — hosting an obscene “Israel Apartheid Week” and trying to disrupt a college course for students taking a Vassar-sponsored trip to Israel.
Hill gave a pass to that violation of academic freedom and campus conduct codes. All too predictably, an overflow campus forum discussing the Israel trip then degenerated into a near mob, with Israel-haters hurling invective at Jews and backers of Israel.
Faculty members have joined the depravity. Thirty-nine professors protested after Hill properly said in January that Vassar would not join the American Studies Association’s anti-Semitism-tinged call for boycotting Israeli universities.
The 39 backed the boycott, with some asserting that Hill’s action “silenced discourse on campus,” as one put it. Duh, they claim they want dialogue while supporting a boycott against dialogue.
Then it turned out that the 39 lacked the courage of their convictions. When Cornell University Law School professor Bill Jacobson challenged the entire group to debate the merits of boycotting Israel, they all ducked. So on May 5, Jacobson spoke — without fee — on campus at the invitation of the Vassar Conservative Libertarian Union, which is headed by a Muslim student.
The libertarian union had sought co-sponsorships for Jacobson’s talk from numerous student groups and academic departments. All refused, a fact that demonstrates how strongly anti-Israel sentiment holds sway at Vassar, perhaps inducing a climate of fear among those who feel otherwise.
Consider that five days before Jacobson’s visit, Israel-bashers Ali Abunimah and Max Blumenthal stopped at Vassar on a national road show selling separate books calling for Israel’s destruction. Paid for by student activity fees and departmental funds, their event was sponsored not only by SJP but by Vassar’s departments of religion, political science, sociology, English and geography.
For good measure, the Jewish Studies program, the International Studies program and a variety of student groups signed on in support.
In his talk, Jacobson demolished the rationales behind the BDS movement, a cause that seeks to delegitimize Israel through boycotts on trade, disinvestment in the Jewish state and economic sanctions. During 90 minutes, he proved that the boycott of Israel is based on factual, historical and legal falsities and is anti-Semitic.
SJP responded on the web by attacking Jacobson and the audience of “old white people” and rolling out its artwork. First were nasty cartoons from racist and “white power” websites. One showed Israel inflicting a Holocaust on Palestinians and the other said that the Nazi Holocaust cows the West from criticizing Israel.
Then SJP used the Nazi poster, putting the group beyond even Hill’s tolerance of intolerance.
JTA published an article a couple of days ago:
Vassar pro-Palestinian group under review for Nazi cartoon
May 16, 2014 8:28am
(JTA) — The Vassar College chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine is being reviewed by administrators after the group posted a Nazi cartoon online.
The post on the Vassar SJP Tumblr page, which has since been removed, showed a Nazi propaganda poster depicting a many-armed figure sporting a Jewish loincloth and holding a bag of money and an American flag, among other things. The cartoon is captioned “liberators.”
On Wednesday, Vassar President Catherine Hill announced that SJP’s status as an approved student group is under review.
“The college is also investigating the SJP’s online posting as a bias incident under college regulations,” Hill said in a statement. “I also request that the SJP Vassar membership take responsibility for its actions and cease representing itself as an official Vassar group, pending these investigations. Vassar College is committed to free speech and academic freedom, but we condemn racist, hateful speech.”
Vassar SJP apologized Tuesday on its Tumblr account for lax social media oversight.
“We condemn any and all hate speech including any form of anti-Semitism and we are deeply sorry several offensive posts were made in SJP Vassar’s name,” the statement said.
A German version of the JTA article was published at 02elf.net.
Also, from the Coordinating Forum for Countering Antisemitism:
Also, from the Coordinating Forum for Countering Antisemitism:
United States / 16-05-2014
Poughkeepsie, NY - Despite their apology for posting material from Neo-Nazis and White Nationalists, the Vassar Students for Justice in Palestine have kept on doing it.
Just today, they posted yet another antisemitic image on the Tumblr blog, this time one that is actually a Nazi propaganda poster from WWII .
Here's the image as posted on their Twitter feed. (It's now been taken down, but as of a few minutes ago it was still on Twitter).
UPDATE: Vassar college president, Catharine Hill, denounces antisemitic post of SJP
Subject: [Students] Bias incident investigation
Date: Wed, 14 May 2014 21:07:47
To the Vassar Community:
I am writing to condemn a racist, anti-Semitic graphic posted to the Tumblr online site affiliated with the Vassar chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). In response to this posting, the college is initiating a full investigation and action on the matter under established college procedures. SJP Vassar is a Vassar student “preliminary organization,” an initial status required of all student organizations as they seek full certification by the Vassar Student Association (VSA). I am requesting VSA review of the SJP’s pre-organization status. The college is also investigating the SJP’s online posting as a bias incident under college regulations. I also request that the SJP Vassar membership take responsibility for its actions and cease representing itself as an official Vassar group, pending these investigations. Vassar College is committed to free speech and academic freedom, but we condemn racist, hateful speech.