Tag Archives: antisemitism

“Crash the U.S. Settler State”

Dr. Tiffany King, a tenured professor in the University of Virginia’s Department of Women, Sexuality and Gender, spoke last week in a virtual symposium hosted by Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies.

The symposium, “At the Edge of Each Other’s Battles: Puerto Rican, Palestinian, Black & Indigenous Futures,” explored the “mutual solidarity” that is believed to exist between these communities. King and a Hunter College professor closed out the symposium with their panel, “Letters for Palestine: Storytelling as Praxis.” We have excerpted clips from that even for this blog post, but we have made the entire discussion available for viewing should anyone wonder if we are taking comments out of context.

King believes that the Palestinian Resistance inspires Black and Indigenous feminists to “crash the U.S. settler state.” Continue reading

Keffiyehs, Yarmulkes and “Belonging” at UVA

by James A. Bacon

It’s “Palestinian Liberation Week” at the University of Virginia this week, and the Students for Justice in Palestine have organized loads of activities for antizionists, culminating with a “Die-In for Gaza” Friday.

“Wear your keffiyeh,” urges UVA’s Students for Justice in Palestine on its Instagram page. Keffiyehs are traditional Arab scarfs, which students wear to signal their solidarity with Palestinians seeking to combat “settler colonialism” in Israel.

Meanwhile, Jewish students have stopped wearing yarmulkes, Stars of David or other ornamentation that would identify them as Jews.

What does that dichotomy say about the sense of “belonging” — the holy grail of the Ryan administration — experienced by Arabs and Jews respectively at UVA? Continue reading

Correction

On April 4, the Jefferson Council published a blog post detailing concerns by parents of Jewish students about the hostile environment their children face at the University of Virginia. That article linked to a list of 37 incidents involving faculty and students compiled by the parents and attached to a letter to Rector Robert Hardie. One incident mentioned professor Ian Mullins by name as supporting a terrorist attack on an Israeli town. The lead compiler of the list mis-identified Mullins as the professor in question and has written a letter of apology to him. The Jefferson Council disclaims any responsibility for the error but wanted to alert blog readers who might have viewed the document on our website to know of the correction.

The Daily Progress Recaps UVA Antisemitism Controversy

by James A. Bacon

The Daily Progress, Charlottesville’s daily newspaper, has published a balanced report about the controversy swirling around antisemitism at the University of Virginia. Followers of this blog will find most of the narrative familiar. What we find refreshing is reporter Emily Hemphill’s willingness to explore all sides of the issue without slanting the story — a throwback to the journalism of yore.

There are a couple of points worth noting. First, to reconstruct events, Hemphill made ample use of the video footage of the February-March Board of Visitors meeting archived by the Jefferson Council. State law requires UVA to livestream the meeting, but not to archive it. UVA has declined to provide that basic element of transparency and accountability. The Jefferson Council recently begun archiving that footage as a public service, and it is gratifying to see the media using it already.

Further, the Daily Progress pursues an angle to the ongoing antisemitism story that we have not fully reported: UVA officialdom’s thin-skinned response to a truck with LED billboards that displayed messages that Rector Robert Hardie was “unfit to lead UVa” and should “resign now.” Continue reading

The Use and Misuse of a UVA Lecture Series

by James A. Bacon

The “fixation” of modern-day Israelis on the Holocaust has become a “vast and ugly fig leaf” hiding oppression of Palestinians and giving Israelis license to brush aside moral qualms about their response to the October 7 terror attacks, Brown University historian Omer Bartov told an audience of 60 or so people Tuesday at the University of Virginia.

In vowing to “never again” let Jews fall prey to genocidal extermination, Israelis indulge in “self-victimization,” “self pity,” and “self righteousness,” said Bartov, an Israeli-born Jew who has built his academic career around the study of the Holocaust and genocide. “It’s not a condition conducive to understanding, toleration, and reconciliation.”

The lecture, entitled, “The Never Again Syndrome: Uses and Misuses of Holocaust Memory in Contemporary Global Politics,” was one in a series of events billed by UVA leadership as broadening understanding of the Middle East conflict. The lecture series is an outgrowth of the tension between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli groups at UVA. Jewish students have complained of a hostile environment that leaves them afraid to speak out or even openly identify as Jews. In a parallel initiative, the Ryan administration created a religious diversity task force to understand how Jewish and Muslim students, faculty and staff “experience life on Grounds.” Continue reading

Ellis Honored by White Rose Society

Bert Ellis, co-founder of the Jefferson Council and a University of Virginia board member since 2022, has been awarded the White Rose by the White Rose Society, for his stand in defense of Jewish students at UVA.

The White Rose Society honors and thanks “individuals who have become beacons of hope for the Jewish people by recognizing those who make a difference through their actions.” The organization’s name pays homage to the Weiße Rose (White Rose), a resistance group founded by non-Jewish students at the University of Munich in 1942.

“The BOV is now well aware of the antisemitic activities that have happened/are happening at UVA,” Ellis said. “I intend to keep antisemitism front and center until we can bring this issue under control. There is no reason why students and faculty at UVA cannot debate the issues of Israel and Palestine and the Middle East in an open and civil manner without the need to vilify or verbally abuse or threaten one side or the other.” Continue reading

Assigning Extra Credit for Attending Pro-Hamas Event

Tessa Farmer

by James A. Bacon

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion staff at the University of Virginia downplayed concerns about Tessa Farmer, an anthropology professor who last fall offered extra credit to students to attend a Students for Justice in Palestine-organized teach-in, reports The Washington Examiner this morning.

The purpose of the event was to show solidarity with Palestinians resisting Israeli “occupation” and demand that the United States withdraw its support for Israel. 

“Internal emails show DEI staffers were apparently unperturbed by this professor’s promotion of a Students for Justice in Palestine event despite the group’s radical rhetoric,” the newspaper quoted Adam Andrzejewski, CEO of federal-spending watchdog OpenTheBooks, as saying. OpenTheBooks worked with the Examiner on the Freedom of Information Act requests that recovered the emails. The group also collaborated with the Jefferson Council to publish recent findings that UVA spends $20 million on salary and benefits for DEI staff at UVA. Continue reading