UGA_AntiSemitism

The Instagram page Anti-Semitism Stories was created for Jewish students to share their anti-Semitic experiences in schools and on campuses across the country, according to the page. UGA students are among many across the U.S. anonymously sharing their stories.

Before a protest-filled summer, the position of Equity and Social Justice chair didn’t exist at Sigma Delta Tau, a predominantly Jewish sorority at the University of Georgia.

Melody Zadeh is the first sorority member to hold the title. 

After the death of George Floyd on May 25 and nationwide protests, SDT decided to take a decisive stance and openly promote the fight against anti-Semitism at the intersection of the Black Lives Matter movement.

At UGA, Zadeh said she has never experienced anti-Semitism firsthand, but some of her sorority sisters can’t say the same.

Zadeh said swastikas were drawn on one of her sorority sister’s dorm room doors in Russell Hall last fall, and she’s vocal about speaking out against the incident. 

Zadeh said the Jewish and Black communities are both minorities oppressed by the same people and must work together to fight oppression.

“Jewish people, especially those that are white, have a responsibility to stand with the Black community and support BLM,” Zadeh said. “Defining the distinction between Jews and traditional ‘whiteness’ definitely doesn’t make us immune to white privilege in America or give us any excuse not to stand up for them and fight anti-Black racism.”

Zadeh said she spreads awareness on social media and has posted and shared stories about anti-Semitism from an Instagram page called Anti-Semitism Stories

Spreading awareness on social media

The Instagram page Anti-Semitism Stories was created for Jewish students to share their anti-Semitic experiences in schools and on campuses across the country, according to the page. UGA students are among many across the U.S. anonymously sharing their stories.

“Oh, you don’t look Jewish,” one UGA student was told, according to a story on Instagram. “Oh, this is the Jewish fraternity. Can’t you tell with their big noses?” the same student was also told.

Another UGA student explained how the university doesn’t recognize Jewish holidays. When holidays coincide with university events, some Jewish students feel that they have to choose between being a part of the Jewish community or being a part of the UGA community, which is a choice that students shouldn’t have to make, another student said on Instagram.

Judaism is not the only religion excluded from university recognition. According to UGA’s holiday schedule, Christmas is the only religious holiday that the university recognizes.

David Hoffman, associate regional director of the Anti-Defamation League’s southeast region, said he doesn’t think most students have the background or the resources to know where to go when hateful or anti-Semitic incidents happen to them.  

That’s why many anti-Semitic incidents go unreported, Hoffman said.

“On college campuses, one of the things that we recognize is that there are trainings for substance abuse and domestic abuse, but are there trainings for responding when you see or witness an incident of bias or hate?” Hoffman said. “Anti-Semitic, racist or homophobic — Is there a resource that students have access to?”

Responding and reporting

“Everything we do matters. It’s a choice each of us makes every minute in terms of how we are going to treat other people,” said Dawn D. Bennett-Alexander, an associate professor of employment law and legal studies at UGA. “Whether we’re going to laugh at that joke, or to say, ‘I don’t think that’s funny. Can you explain that to me?’”

Bennett-Alexander said it’s important to speak up but not be confrontational or combative. It can start with one question to make people rethink racist or anti-Semitic comments, she said.

“It's never going to be comfortable. You're always going to feel like you're going against the grain. But if you are silent, nobody knows. And if they don't know, there's nothing they can do about it,” Bennett-Alexander said. “Will it make them uncomfortable? Yes. Do they deserve to be uncomfortable? Yeah. It's all a part of learning.”

Bennett-Alexander said she’s spoken out publicly in the past about how the UGA community has no room for anti-Semitism or hate of any kind.

In response to the swastikas being drawn on the freshman’s door, Bennett-Alexander said racist and hateful acts are not representative of the entire UGA community. 

“Violence towards any marginalized community doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere, it’s because these attitudes of bias, this name-calling or these jokes are allowed to go unchecked, and it makes perpetrators feel more emboldened,” Hoffman said. 

By allowing these acts of bias and hate to persist, it makes higher or more damaging acts feel more tolerable, Hoffman said. 

“Just speak up in the ways that are appropriate for your setting,” Bennett-Alexander said. “Martin Luther King Jr. said that the [Ku Klux Klan] is not what he is worried about, that’s not who is causing the big problem here. The real problem comes from the masses of people who stand by and say nothing at all.” 

Zadeh said UGA and the Panhellenic Council should provide resources and make reporting incidents of racism and discrimination easier for students on campus. As a sorority member, Zadeh said she doesn’t initially know where to submit complaints or incidents if she had one. 

“Instead of making a statement or sending an email that says they’re standing against racism or anti-Semitism, they could actually take action,” Zadeh said.

Hoffman said students who wish to report incidents of hate on campus should go to the ADL’s website and the ADL will work with campus connections to safely respond, take appropriate action and protect people who have been targeted. 

“We know that hate does not discriminate. Someone, who is targeting Jews with anti-Semitic slurs is probably harboring some sort of hate against people of color, against immigrants and against the LGBT[Q] community,” Hoffman said.

“We do believe that sunlight is the biggest disinfectant," he said. "The more people report to us, the more we can say that this is really happening. That allows the community to feel more empowered to act in response.”

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(5) comments

bee kind

@wjabbe

The simple fact remains that you are trolling this article for no other reason than that it is about Jewish students. Your comments on Israel have nothing to do with this article except for some nebulous association in your mind between all Jews and the modern state of Israel. Look again, Mr. Abbe. Carefully read the article and you will see that Israel is not mentioned. You have brought it up for no apparent reason other than the fact that a Jewish organization was featured. This is exactly the kind of stereotype that these face, as if all Jews are the same, all with some secret direct pipeline to Israel. Your intent is to create some crude caricature of a “Jew” for people to imagine. Your diatribe against Israel has nothing to do with these UGA students. That is what makes your comments racist. If you want to spout off about Israel, then wait for an article that addresses the subject.

You allege, in various places on the internet, that you “retired early” from UGA because of “racists” around you but it’s plain to see you are the racist one. Just looking at your posts on other Red and Black articles where you glorify the Confederacy and refer to as “Lying Lincoln” and “Lying Obama” is enough to see what you’re all about. You have an axe to grind with the minority groups mentioned in this article. You can’t stand to see these student associations getting a little positive attention for being in dialogue with one another so you use unsubtle misdirection and inference to try to take detract from the good that they are doing.

And, as to my “phony name” as you put it, I simply adopted a handle just as many folks do online. I’m not trying to impress anyone. I don’t need a pat on the back for calling you out. You, on the other hand, seek attention for shoveling this tripe. You want glory for these rants. You refer to UGA as “a toxic cesspool of sludge” but it’s people like you who do the polluting.

The students who this article is about and those who read this paper deserve better than to be harassed by a disgruntled ex-employee.

wjabbe

https://mondoweiss.net/2020/10/columbia-students-voted-overwhelmingly-to-divest-from-israel-and-president-responds-dismissively-rashid-khalidi/

Columbia students voted overwhelmingly to divest from Israel, and president responds dismissively — Rashid Khalidi

wjabbe

The anonymous individual above with the phony name bee kind evidently fears using his or her true name on posts. I use my true name. If the editors wish to censor my comments they are free to do so at any time. I am interested in one thing: The Truth. The truth is difficult to find these days with so many lies floating around. How many of your UGA professors seek to call your attention to contradictions with basic laws of physics and causality and logic to expose lies? The number is very small isn't it? Is Bee Kind one of your professors? Could he or she be its President? Who knows. Bee Kind wants it both ways: He or she or it wants to attack me without any consequences. I would say this indicates cowardice. I speak truth to the best of my ability. I use my true name. All readers are free to believe anything they wish. If you want to believe objects fall up instead of down, you are free to do so. If you want to believe the Earth is flat, you are free to do so. I do not have to believe what they believe and they don't have to believe what I believe. However I would urge everyone to believe in the laws of physics and the laws of logic. Bee Kind does not appear to believe in the laws of physics or logic. He or she is free to do so but at his or her peril. Winfield J. Abbe, Ph.D., Physics citizen for 54 years.

bee kind

@wjabbe Your comments are apropos nothing in the article. You are only here to distract from the issues that these minorities are facing and to spread hate about them. This is a student newspaper, not your alt-right message boards.

Hey, UGA Community! I urge you to call out hate when you see it.

I just googled this “citizen” (as he puts it) and found that he’s active on several far-right message boards (Sandy Hook and 911 conspiracy types of disinformation sites). He's a proud conspiracy theorist (w/ a blog to show it) who "retired early" from UGA and been trying to smuggle false narratives onto our campus for quite some time now.

Don’t be silent. Expose hate.

togetherwecanovercome

wjabbe

Is it antisemitism to criticize dual citizenship with other countries which was once strictly banned in the U.S.?

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/03/21/the-supreme-court-and-dual-citizenship/ Quote:

“The history of dual citizenship in the US is an outrageous example of how easily the US abandoned its responsibility to secure its own national security rather than protect its economic well-being from foreign manipulation. The consequences of that duplicity have yet to be fully explored.

The artist Beys Afriyum, born Ephraim Bernstein in Poland, became a naturalized US citizen in 1926. In 1950 he traveled to Israel, voted in the 1951 Knesset election and remained until 1960 when Mr. Afriyum applied for a renewal of his US passport. The State Department refused citing that by virtue of voting in a foreign election, Afriyum had given up his citizenship in accordance with the Nationality Act of 1940 which stated that a US citizen would lose their citizenship if they voted in an election in a foreign country. In 1958, the Supreme Court adopted Perez v. Brownell (6 – 3) which reiterated the 1940 Act regarding loss of citizenship by voting in a foreign election.

Mr. Afriyum sought a declaratory judgment from the District Court claiming that the 1940 Act was unconstitutional. However, both the District Court in a summary judgment and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of Congress to strip a citizen of their citizenship.

Mr. Afriyum then appealed to the Supreme Court which ruled 5 – 4 in his favor in overturning its earlier decision in Perez v Brownell. The Court further concluded that there is “no general power to revoke an American citizen’s citizenship without prior consent”.

In a compelling dissent, Justice John Harlan argued that in its power to regulate foreign affairs, Congress has the power to expatriate any citizen who intentionally commits acts which may be prejudicial to the foreign relations of the United States, and which reasonably may be deemed to indicate a dilution of his allegiance to this country” and, in a prescient glimpse into the future, that “allowing Americans to vote in foreign elections ran contrary to the foreign policy interests of the nation and ought to result in loss of citizenship.”

Further, Harlan referred to Black’s opinion as a ‘remarkable process of circumlocution” with “unsubstantiated assertions,” “a lengthy albeit incomplete survey” and that he “finds nothing in this extraordinary series of conventions which permits the imposition of constitutional constraint upon Congress.”

After the Court’s decision, it was determined that Afriyum had voted in the 1955 and 1959 Knesset elections and that Afriyum later became an Israel citizen.

Despite the 1967 decision, the Homeland Security oath for naturalized citizens has not yet incorporated the new standard which still reflects US citizenship based on the one person/one country concept as established principal: “I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, state or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject of citizens.”

While the LA Times editorial “The Problem of Dual Citizenship” asks “How can a person be equally loyal to two countries? “ and in citing the Afriyum v Rusk case, the Times understates its warning that “dual citizenship can present a security issue whether to permit access to classified information..”

Since the days of the Afriyum decision, the potential for betrayal and conflicts of interest have intensified dramatically for Members of Congress and Federal employees and those holding national security clearances given the unparalleled financial and political support that the US provides to Israel. In addition, the 2018 adoption by the Knesset of the Basic Law which establishes that Israel is now specifically a Jewish nation raises First Amendment issues regarding the establishment clause as it prohibits state-sponsored religion.

Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31” Posted by Winfield J. Abbe, Ph.D., Physics citizen for 54 years.

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