Racism: a Double Standard at UCLA
By Liat Menna (President of SSI UCLA)
December 17 2015

Recently, a student at UCLA who is also a UCLA employee posted a Zionophobic rant on Facebook.  

 

Lisa Mendez introduced herself to the public with a blatantly racist declaration in response to a post written by Mayim Bialik, a UCLA alumna and respected Hollywood actress. Mayim’s post was a declaration of Zionist pride and for Lisa this was an opportunity to attack:

 

"GTFOH with all your Zionist bullshit. Crazy ass fucking troglodyte albino monsters of cultural destruction. Fucking Jews. GTFOH with your whiny bullshit. Give the Palestinians back their land, go back to Poland or whatever freezer-state you're from, and realize that faith does not constitute race” (Mendez)

 

Lisa’s statements frightened and appalled many people. Her employment status as a healthcare administrator for UCLA Center for Pre-hospital Care (CPC), raised even bigger concerns. Many were outraged.

 

Lisa’s status as a student and employee at UCLA signals a failure in our education system. Much of her rant included the fallacies used by anti-Israel, pro- Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) groups on campus, including Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and other Zionophobic organizations. Like this UCLA student and employee, these groups conflate criticism of Israel with blatant anti-Semitism. They target all Jewish students for intimidation, harassment, and property destruction and sometimes even violence, regardless of that students feelings on Israel.

 

The recent rise in anti-Semitism at UC is directly related to BDS. BDS injects hatred onto the campus and breeds anti-Semitism. It pits students against each other and is blatant discrimination. Students repeatedly report that during and immediately after BDS debates there is a dramatic increase in swastikas and harassment on campus. In fact, last year, swastikas were spray-painted on a UC Davis Jewish fraternity after fraternity brothers spoke against divesting from Israel, “grout out the Jews” and “Hitler did nothing wrong” were carved into school property on two different UC campuses after contentious BDS campaigns and a UCLA Jewish student running for office was questioned about her eligibility to serve by pro-BDS activists. Just a few weeks ago a student government representative at UCSC was warned to abstain from a BDS vote just because he is Jewish.


 

As evidenced by the recent Facebook rant, BDS is toxic to our campus community. The author claims all Jews are from “Euro ancestry,” “not black, not middle-eastern not Asian-white”.  Here is a woman who has been consumed by the SJP and BDS agenda, meant to marginalize the Jewish community by bringing together all minority groups with the exclusion of the Jews, despite their irrefutable minority status and historical ties to the land of Israel.  She attempts to describe her experience as a Mexican-American to the experience of Palestinians. She turns on Jews as the “capitalist colonizers…who steal land.”  Rather than pointing out that oppression is a common thread all minorities share- Mexican-Americans, African Americans, Muslims, Asians, Jews. The Jews never took any land; rather it was the other way around. The land was taken from the Jews, and finally in 1948 the international community

 

recognized the Jewish homeland.

 

Yesterday morning Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Montero, sent a community-wide letter on behalf of the university in regards to Lisa’s statements. It is good she sent out a response condemning the rant, however it was not strong enough. There has been a lack of communication and understanding around the context of the rant.

 

The University did not thoroughly investigate the issue with the students who brought the complaint to the table, before issuing the response. There was an incorrect inference that the incident occurred through a private exchange of messages, which as explained is simply untrue. Most importantly there is no mention of the direct link between the demonization of the Jewish people and the demonization of Zionism, which is the problem at its core. This fact is apparent not only in Lisa’s post but on campus, with the existence of SJP and BDS.

 

A couple months ago, a PanHellenic party featured a Kanye West Party (off-campus). The University condemned the case immediately and made sure the entire campus knew exactly what happened, detailing the incident and its problematic content in the University’s e-mail. Yet when it comes to racism against the Jews, the University does not see it as deserving of the same attention.

 

Enough is enough. The Jewish community can no longer wait for the University to contemplate its response to anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism on its campuses. Its time the University of California Los Angeles realizes Zionophobia exists and takes a strong and unwavering stance against it. Otherwise both will remain bystanders, watching the situation escalate until Jews are no longer welcome on any campuses. Its time the community rallies together in active efforts to combat the bullies who try to separate the larger community and create destructive barriers between minority groups who should be supporting each other.

 

 

Please, not another textbook condemnation of anti-Semitism

Please, not another hymn to the virtues of academic discourse,

Please, not another avoidance of the problem” (UCLA Professor Judea Pearl).

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Menna is a student at UCLA. She is the founder and President of Students Supporting Israel at UCLA. She is the 2015-16 StandWithUs Emerson Fellow and serves on the Board of Directors for the Bestemming Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism through the arts.

 

 

 

 



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