Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stand With Whom?

Gary Fouse

The below link is an article dated April 12, 2010 in the Orange County Jewish Experience, the blog of the Orange County Jewish Federation. The actual text follows.

"There is an old saying that begins something like this. “There were three Jews the room and there were five different opinions……” At times, it is hard for Jews to agree on something, anything. This is not one of those times. Four different groups, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Hillel Foundation of Orange County, Jewish Federation Orange County and the American Jewish Committee issued a joint statement today regarding the latest news from an anonymous source regarding the Muslim students arrested in February.

Here is their joint statement.


Orange County Jewish Organizations Urge UC Irvine to Act

(Irvine) — "A number of organizations and individuals have received information from an anonymous source regarding the disruption of Israeli Ambassador Michel Oren’s February 8, 2010 speech at the University of California, Irvine.

The evidence and allegations in the packet, if accurate and authentic, are deeply disturbing. They point to a well-planned, highly organized, premeditated effort to disrupt Ambassador Oren’s speech. The shocking details contained in these materials would clearly establish that MSU leadership and members deliberately deceived University officials about their planned protest and expressly instructed participants to deny that the MSU was involved.

The contents of the packet, if true, constitute disturbing evidence that members of the Muslim Student Union at UCI were willing to engage in egregious and intimidating behavior in an effort to deprive Ambassador Oren of the opportunity speak freely and openly in a forum provided by the university. The packet’s contents also suggest this disturbing tactic may be part of a larger national effort to engage in similar disruptive acts.

We urge the University to investigate the contents of the packet thoroughly and expeditiously. If the information is genuine, it points to serious violations by individual students as well as the Muslim Student Union of acceptable standards of public discourse and UCI’s own student code of conduct.

Because we cannot verify the source or authenticity of the material in the packet, we have turned it over to law enforcement for their investigation."

Rabbi Marc S. Dworkin

Executive Director

American Jewish Committee, Orange County

Shalom C. Elcott

President & CEO

Jewish Federation Orange County

Jordan L. Fruchtman

Executive Director

Hillel Foundation of Orange County

Dr. Kevin O’Grady, Ed.D.

Regional Director

Anti-Defamation League, Orange County/Long Beach Regional Office

"Stand With the Four". Amazing.

All I can say to the above four individuals is: Welcome to the war. Where have you been?"

First of all, the Jewish Federation has for years denied there were any problems at UCI and that the university was doing a great job. Now that all that blew up at the disruption of the Israeli ambassador's speech at UCI on February 8th, the Federation is apparently feeling the heat from its constituents like the dozens of elderly Jewish folks the Federation bussed in to hear the ambassador's speech and enjoy a lovely evening. Now everybody knows that there IS a problem at UCI. Now the Federaton is trying to convince the community that THEY are leading the charge, "laying down the gauntlet" to UCI to quote one news report.

"Laying down the gauntlet"

I don't know much about the American Jewish Committee except that they invited the UCI chancellor to give the keynote address at one of their functions a couple of years ago while the controversy was raging.

I don't know much about the Anti-Defamation League's activities in this area either, but that itself makes me wonder. That leads to a very important point.

In the past 3-4 years, I have been going to as many of these MSU and Israel-bashing events as I can. I listen and during the Q&A, I try to ask hardball questions to the speakers or panelists. Many times, I am virtually alone, a fact which led me to write a posting asking where was the Jewish community? I know that these gentlemen have attended many of the same events because I have seen them there. Where were they when I was challenging MSU-sponsored speakers? Have they ever challenged the speakers and told them they were engaging in hateful speech and filling the audience with lies?

Not to my knowledge. I do every time, and frankly, I could use a little support (On occasion, the Jewish student group "Anteaters for Israel" has turned out with Israeli flags and posters to protest the hate speech going on. They are students, however. Where are the big boys?)

Do the above-signed gentlemen go to these fraudulent academic "seminars" like the "Whither the Levant" event of January 2009 at UCI, and challenge the so-called panelists for their one-sided indoctrination-as I have done?

Not to my knowledge. I was at the entire Whither the Levant event and was the only one who spoke up in opposition. This lonely gentile could have used a little support.

Did they support the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) when they were complaining to the university about the on-going hate at UCI(i.e. the Galloway fund raising event for Hamas on May 21, 2009 and the Oren event)?

No. They opposed the ZOA, which in my mind is the ONLY national Jewish organization that has stepped up to the plate.

Another question: Which of the above organizations lent support to the Orange County Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism when the OCITF was investigating complaints of harassment of Jewish students on the UCI campus?


Hillel is a national Jewish organization that has to work within the university infrastructure. They have never been known for making waves. Yes, they provide many services to Jewish students on campus, but their thrust is having a pro-Israel fest (I-Fest) once a year with bake sales, games and posters telling passers-by that Israel invented the i-pod or something like that. Fine. I appreciate the positivity of the I-Fest message as compared to the negativity of the MSU's events, but there is a more pressing issue going on here that must be confronted. Has Hillel ever confronted these speakers?

Not to my knowledge.

Of course, I am fully cognizant that they probably consider me a loose cannon. That's fine. I answer to no one and don't have to worry about who might be upset about what I have to say. I don't care about the politics of who knows whom or who does business with whom. I just care about the situation at UCI very deeply. Unfortunately, the response of the Jewish community is fragmented because the Jewish community itself is fragmented.

So now comes this letter and a plea to "Stand With the Four". A better phrase would be for the "four" to stand with the rest of us.

Oh well. Better late than never-if it lasts.

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