UC Berkeley Student Assesses Campus Anti-Semitism


UC Berkeley freshman Elijah Z. Granet has written an interesting account of anti-Semitism that he has faced there and on Facebook.  Granet’s op ed in The Daily Californian relates his own personal experience with anti-Semitism before he even set his foot on UC Berkeley’s ground. He elaborates on the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights’ decision to dismiss claims that the university had failed to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitism at that campus. Granet argues that OCR would never hold Berkeley legally liable, no matter the degree of hostility faced by Jewish students because the issues faced by Jewish students stem from the general student body and not from a single organization. Recent incidents and reports reinforce the idea that Jewish students are not welcome at UC Berkeley.  Despite these hateful events, Granet believes we can still move on. 

Government-Created Anti-Semitism (Part 3)



In a recent article written for The Tablet, Kenneth R. Timmerman said that when he traveled to Gaza, Amman, and Damascus in 1994, he kept asking Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders whether they thought the Jews had a plan to dominate the world. Timmerman recounted the enthusiastic answer one Hamas leader: “Yes, indeed. I have a copy right here.” The man then pulled down from a shelf his copy of an Arabic version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Says Timmerman: “It was a response I heard again and again.”

Why did that happen? How did a horrible anti-Semitic tract spread though the Muslim world? Once again, this was not a natural development; anti-Semitic hatred was cultivated by the Soviet government’s disinformation experts.

In 1948, when the state of Israel was re-established, Stalin hoped to fill it with Russian Jewish agents. His plan was to use them to transform Israel into a springboard from which he would launch Soviet expansion into the Middle East. In 1948, however, Golda Meir visited Moscow, and she was enthusiastically greeted by huge groups of Russian Jews. Soon, many of these Jews were promoting the idea of a mass emigration to Israel.

Government-Created Anti-Semitism (Part 2)

JewishCatholic2False accusations against Jews can lead to horrific ends, but so can false charges of anti-Semitism. The problem is that charges of anti-Semitism are almost always met with denial, and it can be difficult to separate legitimate from illegitimate claims. That makes it particularly important to expose false charges when they are uncovered. The importance is magnified when the false charges were made as part of a government plan to advance a political agenda.

Government-Created Anti-Semitism (Part 1)

Many people think of Nazi Germany as the cradle of government created anti-Semitism, but long before anyone had heard of the Nazi Holocaust, the Russian concept of pogrom was well known. The 1939 edition of an authoritative Russian dictionary defined pogrom as: “the government-organized mass slaughter of some element of the population as a group, such as the Jewish pogroms in tsarist Russia.”

Upcoming Guest Blogger: Ronald J. Rychlak

We are delighted to welcome Ronald J. Rychlak as our next guest blogger.  Professor Ronald J. Rychlak is the Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Cannada Lecturer and Professor of Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he was formerly Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Rychlak is the author or co-author of eight  books, including Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism, upon which his pieces for the Louis D. Brandeis Center Blog are based.  Brandeis Center Blog readers will recall that Rychlak argues in Dininformation that the KGB deliberately fomented anti-Semitism in Muslim countries in order to turn them against the United States.  We discussed this fascinating historical question in a prior blog entry and invited Rychlak to provide us with more background on the issue.

Brandeis Center Welcomes More New Staff and Interns

In response to the resurgence of campus anti-Semitism, the Louis D. Brandeis Center has recently added four new vibrant and passionate members to its team. Ari Plaut, Sitara Kedilaya joins as Civil Rights Legal Fellows, while Maria Islam and Eesha Bhave join as Fall interns.

Sitara Kedilaya is a recent honors graduate from American University Washington College of Law. Her experience is diverse, with a focus on civil litigation. Prior to joining the Brandeis Center, Sitara interned at the U.S. Department of Justice, a law firm in Philadelphia, and several non-profit organizations. Sitara joined the Brandeis Center because of her passion and experience in serving and seeking justice for underrepresented populations.

Ari Plaut grew up in Baltimore, MD. He graduated from University of Maryland College Park with a degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology. He spent nine months in Israel following his graduation, doing an internship program working with Darfurian refugees. Afterwards, he went to Case Western Reserve Law School and just graduated. Ari joined the Brandeis Center because he seeks justice and strives for fairness and equality.


Maria Islam is a sophomore at American University majoring in international studies. Before joining the Brandeis Center she has interned at the U.S. House of Representative and a law firm in Atlantic City. Maria is interested in the Brandeis Center because she wants to pursue a career that involves advocacy and human rights.

Eesha Bhave is also in her second year at American University, studying political science and international studies. She looks forward to working with the Louis D. Brandeis Center because of its emphasis on addressing injustices on college campuses.

“This is a very exciting time for the Brandeis Center to welcome our new staff,” says LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus. “I am absolutely thrilled to work with such intelligent and devoted students and new graduates. They will foster more innovative ideas which will diffuse our mission; which is to stop anti-Semitism and promote justice for all through research, education, and legal advocacy.”

Given the Troubling Reach of Ron Paul’s Political Shadow, Senator Rand Paul Will Deserve a Fair Hearing—But Not a Free Ride—If He Runs for President

During the 1960 presidential campaign, after Protestant Minister Norman Vincent Peal questioned the fitness of a Catholic to be elected president, Adlai Stevenson quipped: “I find St. Paul appealing, but Rev. Paul appalling.” More than half a century later, the 2016 presidential race may face a second “Pauline” moment.
When John F. Kennedy ran for president everybody knew that his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, had won himself no friends in the Jewish community for his Isolationist views during his service as U.S. Ambassador to the UK in the 1930s. This was the context in which JFK made big news during the 1960 campaign. Wanting MLK’s support, the Kennedy campaign faced problems getting it—including an endorsement of Nixon by Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. on religious grounds. Then King, Jr., was arrested in Georgia, and JFK not only called Coretta personally, but exerted behind-the-scenes influence to get her husband released. MLK all but endorsed JFK, and even “Daddy King” relented.

According to Kennedy aide Harris Wofford, Kennedy told him: “Did you see what Martin’s father said? He was going to vote against me because I was a Catholic, but since I called his daughter-in-law, he will vote for me. That was a hell of a bigoted statement, wasn’t it? Imagine Martin Luther King having a bigot for a father!” Then Kennedy added that he had told the younger King “he understood and not to worry ‘because we all have fathers.’”

This story is brought to mind by recent news that former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul—and father of Kentucky and potential presidential aspirant Rand Paul—will journey to Canada, north of Niagara Falls, to deliver a September keynote at the “Fatima: The Path to Peace” conference, a “traditionalist” Catholic movement akin to actor Mel Gibson’s religious brand, noted for attacking Jews as “the perpetual enemy of Christ.”

No Joke

No Joke No Joke

“Growing up,” said my son Jacob, “ if you had told me that someone in my family would write a book about Jewish humor, I would have imagined it to be my father, or perhaps my brother, who has something of a legendary wit; certainly not my mother, who was generally regarded as the proverbial straight man in the family.” The nice things he went on to say about me at a launch for the book No Joke: Making Jewish Humor did not contradict his surprise that I should have been drawn to this subject.

I surprised myself. When I took up the study of literature in college, I was attracted by what normally appeals to adolescents—death and heartache, sex and romance, and how to navigate the shoals of life. Yiddish that I chose as my field of concentration seemed to me the most consequential branch of literature, haunted as it was by the fate of its speakers in Europe. I wrote my Masters’ thesis on a group of Yiddish prose poems about the final days of the Ghetto of Vilna. My doctoral dissertation on “the schlemiel as modern hero” addressed the same concerns for Jewish fate from a different angle. We tend to think of the schlemiel as a character in Jewish comedy, but the French aristocrat Adelbert von Chamisso, author of the original Peter Schlemihl (1814), was an exile most of his life, and his tragicomic hero sells his shadow to the devil with the same unfunny consequences as Goethe’s Faust who sells the devil his soul. The man without a shadow and the man without a country lack what “normal” people are expected to possess. The schlemiel of Yiddish folk culture is likewise a hapless person in a tragic situation.

Israel Lives in a Dangerous Neighborhood, Struggles Against Terrorism and is Engaged in a Battle for Justice at the United Nations

Over the past sixty five years, Israel has faced and continues to face momentous challenges including wars, skirmishes, rocket attacks, terrorist murderous suicide bombings and assaults on her citizens, challenges to her legal status, boycotts, threats, accusations and demonization.

In the summer of 2000, Chairman Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization met at Camp David with President Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The Prime Minister offered to the Palestinians an agreement that included the establishment of the Palestinian state based on territorial borders that essentially constituted approximately 96% of the land located west of the Jordan River, known as the West Bank and included the Gaza strip on the Mediterranean.

Much to the chagrin of President Clinton and disappointment of PM Barak, Chairman Arafat did not accept the proposal and left the President and the Prime Minister essentially standing alone at Camp David.

Shortly thereafter, in late September 2000, the Palestinian uprising known as the Second Intifada commenced, bringing with it murderous suicide bombings and other attacks inside Israel, targeting busses, shopping centers, hotels, restaurants, University cafeterias and attacking people in their homes and in the streets.

In response, in order to protect her people, the Israeli government commenced construction of a terrorism prevention security fence, parts of which include concrete barriers akin to what we know as Jersey walls on our expressways, although portions are quite high and obtrusive in order to provide safety to vehicles and persons below.

This terrorism prevention security fence is called by some a “wall”; and was the centerpiece of a request of the UN General Assembly referring to the International Court of Justice a legal question worded as follows:

What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as described in the report of the Secretary-General, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions?