By now, most people sophisticated enough in the Blogosphere to have found this site will know the base facts about the SFSU flap.
Its not all that different than the situation on many campuses: on one side, a core population of actively identified Jewish students, and other supporters of Israels existence (and, to a greater or lesser extent, defense policies); on the other a population of active Islamicists, as well as those who oppose Israel either in its existence as a Jewish state, or in its defense and foreign policies. But events at SFSU not only effect real people, but provide a good case study for what is going on at the other campuses.
Now, Im not on the ground in San Francisco, and Ill defer a little bit to some folks who have first-hand experience of the events there. But there are a few things that are incontrovertible and clear:
The pro-Israel/pro-Jewish side seems to be taking all or a vast majority of the physical damage;
The acknowledged racist comments are all coming from the pro-Palestinian side;
The powers that be are taking a children, children, you shouldnt both be fighting moral equivalence stance. They have turned three students over to the District Attorneys office for possible prosecution two pro-Palestinian and one pro-Israel.
I havent reviewed the videotapes, and Im not a police officer. But Ive read the comments on the SFSU website, and on its face, this cant help but leave the impression that the appearance of evenhandedness matters more than the truth.
And thats just wrong.
Look, there are real arguments to make about what to do about the parts of Palestine that werent made part of Israel; there are arguments to make about what to do about the Palestinian Arabs who left Israel and who live with their descendants in the well-financed squalor of refugee camps.
And when pro-Palestinian students actively condemn violence and intimidation, instead of seeing them as the legitimate political tools of the oppressed, we can have those discussions.
When the windows of pro-Arab student groups are broken, and when libels against all Arabs are an official part of Jewish students political oratory, there will be moral equivalence.
I cant for a minute imagine African-American or Latino students tolerating this kind of racist nonsense for a minute. They wouldnt be begging the school administration to enforce the laws, the school administration would be calling out the riot squads to protect themselves and the window-breaking libelers, not to protect those libeled.
(This is a thought experiment meant to show how absurd the current situation is, Im not suggesting that Jewish thugs are the solution.)
But there is an measurable difference between heated political expression and the politics of violence and intimidation. And it is in the nature of politics in our relatively free nation that it must be free from intimidation and violence; the other side and there is an other side sees intimidation and violence as everyday political tools. And, frighteningly, they are extending the kind of politics that we see on the ground in Arafat-controlled Palestine and bringing a lind of lite version of it here.
The President of SFSU, Robert Corrigan, has convened a task force. As much as I hate to make Star Wars references youll recall thats what the Chancellor did when he couldnt take action on the invasion of Naboo. And youll remember where that got him.
At the very least, people who are concerned should make sure he knows the whole world is watching, as we used to say.
More later today, including a discussion of why the Days of Rage back in the late 60s/70s were different than what we are seeing here (hint: they didnt identify and actively condemn a minority group).
Winds of Change has an index of other bloggers’ comments on this issue.