May 23, 2004

An Epicenter of Hatred

I grew up in sleepy, dreary, conservative Salem, Oregon. I couldnít wait to get out. The small city of Eugene, home of the University of Oregon, the Berkeley of the Northwest, beckoned me from sixty miles away. I felt like Iíd finally found a real home, for the first time in my life, the day I moved into my quad.

Eugene was infinitely more cultural, more sophisticated, better educated, and - most importantly - more tolerant than Salem.

I donít know if thatís really true anymore. Itís been ten years (almost to the day) since I graduated from the English Department and moved on to bigger and better things. For a while there I thought I could spend the rest of my life in college towns. They seemed to me culturally and intellectually superior little islands surrounded by boring and provincial satellite towns. If Eugene still follows Berkeley, and Iím almost certain it does, Iím happier than ever to be free of both it and Salem.

The East Bay Express, found via Roger L. Simonís comments section, has another creepy article about hatred in Berkeley.

On the day after September 11, Micki Weinberg walked to the UC Berkeley campus still in shock. At the entrance to campus, facing Telegraph Avenue, huge sheets of blank paper were spread out as an impromptu memorial on which students, faculty, and other passersby were invited to write comments. Glad to have found such a forum, Weinberg scanned the inscriptions. Then he saw one, large and clear, that stopped him dead in his tracks:

"It's the Jews, stupid."

[Ö]

Almost three years later, Weinberg graduates this month as a student whose days at Cal were marked by what he calls "pinnacles of horror," in the pinched tone of a man betrayed. He remembers pro-Palestinian protesters insisting that Israeli border crossings are as bad as Nazi death camps. He remembers the glass front door of Berkeley's Hillel building -- where he attends Friday night services -- shattered by a cinderblock, with the message FUCK JEWS scrawled nearby. He remembers the spray-painted swastikas discovered one Monday morning last September on the walls of four lecture rooms in LeConte Hall accompanied by the chilling bilingual message, "Die, Juden. "

[Ö]

Such anti-Semitism has always seemed the sinister province of fascists and neo-Nazis, Spanish Inquisitors and tattooed skinheads. How topsy-turvy, then, to discover that some of the most virulent anti-Semitism in America today seethes amid the multicultural ferment of American college campuses. And at UC Berkeley, which owes as much of its allure to radical rhetoric as to academic excellence, it thrives.

Read the whole awful thing.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at May 23, 2004 7:45 PM
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