My Letter to The Nation
By Gary Fouse
This week, I assisted UCI Professor Seymour Menton in sending a critical response to Wiener's article through The Nation's blog. It also may be viewed on The Nation's blog.
This morning, I have sent my own response to The Nation, which is below:
"As one who has been a part-time teacher at the University of California at Irvine since 1998, I would like to respond to Jon Wiener’s recent article in your publication on the on-going issue between the Muslim Student Union (MSU) and Irvine‘s Jewish community.
Leaving aside the controversy over Daniel Schroeter‘s decision to leave UCI, an issue I am not qualified to comment on, there is no question in my mind from my own observations over the years at UCI that the MSU has been guilty of bringing radical, hateful speakers to UCI over the years. Many of these speakers are not only anti-Israel, but anti-Jewish and anti-America as well. Anti-Semitism (on the part of the MSU) is a problem at UCI. To borrow a line from professor Wiener, I should know. I teach there too.
Virtually every quarter, the MSU brings in Oakland based imam, Amir Abdel Malik Ali. This is a man who not only condemns Israel and the US, but calls suicide bombers in Israel heroes and martyrs. He defends organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.
Another controversial speaker is Abdul Alim Musa, a Washington-based imam, who is an ally of the above two organizations and Iran. He speaks of the day when Islam will take over the US.Then there is Mohammed Al-Asi, another frequent speaker at UCI sponsored by the MSU. This imam is also a supporter of Hamas, Hezbollah and the Iranian Government. In previous speeches at UCI, he has referred to Jews as “low life ghetto dwellers” and said, “you can take the Jew out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the Jew.” In his last appearance at UCI in May, in which I was present, he gave ominous warnings to the Jews to get out of “Palestine” before it is too late. (I am paraphrasing.)
Also, during the MSU-sponsored events in May, they erected a mock wall depicting the wall Israel has erected to keep out suicide bombers. On that wall were numerous photos, phrases and slogans. Most notably, there was a cartoon depiction of Ariel Sharon drawn in the old style of Julius Streicher’s Der Stuermer, a notorious anti-Semitic newspaper of the Third Reich. The picture showed Sharon with all the stereotypical Jewish features, huge hooked nose, big lips and a leering expression on his face. That drawing remained there for an entire week.These are examples of why I consider the MSU to be sympathetic to terrorism directed against Israel and to be anti-Semitic (though they deny it).
In addition, I have nothing but criticism for the administration at UCI. They deny charges of anti-Semitism at UCI and defend “free speech”. I too defend free speech. No one is dragging these hateful characters off to jail and I don’t advocate that. However, I call this what it is-hate speech. I also believe that the UCI administration has been indifferent to Jewish complaints of anti-Semitism at the university. They have failed to provide a safe and peaceful environment for their Jewish students.
Wiener, in his article, passes off complaints as coming from “right-wing” Zionists” and three Republican senators. His repeated use of the term, “right-wing Zionists” betrays his political agenda. Anti-Semitic hate speech should not be an issue of liberal vs. conservative nor an item of concern for only Jewish Zionists. Reasonable people can disagree on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. However, for this issue to lead to expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment on an American campus is wrong.
As I have stated repeatedly, 99% of the students at UCI are not involved in this ugliness. There are two problems; a radical MSU and an indifferent administration and faculty . As a result, what should be a great university has acquired a notorious national reputation-which, as far as I am concerned, it deserves.
Gary C Fouse
University of California Ext"