A Response to Yesterday’s Anti-Semitic Hate Crime from a “Whiny Brat Jew”

Photo by Ziv Stern '20.

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Clarification: The original featured image of this op-ed caused some confusion because it showed a cemetery that had been graffitied over. The Swarthmore incident occurred in a bathroom, and we apologize for the misleading effects of our original image choice. The current image was obtained after the article was already published, and depicts the actual Swarthmore graffiti.

By now you’ve probably already heard that on Tuesday night students discovered swastikas graffitied in McCabe. I’m not sure what’s worse: the fact that this incident happened or the fact that I wasn’t all that surprised.

You’d think that I’d be shocked to learn that the symbol of the regime that brutally murdered dozens of my own family members, including my great-grandfather and his brothers, was drawn in my campus library. Instead, I find myself feeling depressingly unfazed, almost numb.

Maybe seeing Nazi imagery across Europe when I was there last January desensitized me. Maybe reading about anti-Semitic incidents at colleges across the country has prepared me. Maybe constantly seeing images of anti-Semitic graffiti in the news shared by frightened Jews, like the image accompanying this article, has numbed me to the horror of what such graffiti represents.

Drawing swastikas, the symbol of Nazi Germany, has long been a method of intimidating and spreading terror amongst those groups targeted by the Nazis, particularly Jews. Yet, the growing global and national tide of anti-Semitism made this all too predictable.

The greatest barrier to confronting anti-Semitism in 2016 seems to be proving that it exists. As a liberal Jew, it is immensely disappointing to see so many people with whom I ideologically align on so many issues completely dismiss the reality of a rising tide of anti-Semitism.

The apathy and, at times, antipathy of many on the left when it comes to anti-Semitism is a deep betrayal of the Jewish people. We see it when Stanford students argue that propagating the Nazi conspiracy theory of  “Jews controlling the media, economy, government, and other societal institutions” is not anti-Semitic. We see it when the Vice-President of the UC Santa Cruz Jewish Student Union, a member of student government, is asked to abstain on a vote relating to Israel because of his “Jewish agenda.” And we see it most virulently on anonymous forums, when students on our own campus’s Yik-Yak assert that Jews should view their ethnic heritage as akin to being “descended from a Confederate officer” and that anti-Semitism itself is a conspiracy invented by the Rothschild banking family to let Jews oppress people of color.

Then, of course, there is the relentless and overwhelming victim-blaming of Jewish students for anti-Semitic acts committed against them. The rejection of victim-blaming is a key component of the left, and for good reason. Those that justify their disgusting Islamophobia based on the actions of ISIS or the Saudi government are neither justified nor excused. And yet, I cannot count the number of times I have been told that it is Israel, and the diaspora Jews who support it, who are truly at fault for rising anti-Semitism! Anti-Semitism seems to be the exception to how we confront stigma and discrimination on the left.

We see it when some illegitimate claims of anti-Semitism are used to delegitimize claims of anti-Semitism writ large, when the same standard is never applied on the left to other forms of discrimination. Just as some claims of anti-Semitism are incorrect and invoked to avoid important debates, so too are some claims of sexism or racism or Islamophobia. Yet, complaints of anti-Semitism are constantly singled out as uniquely suspect in many left-wing circles.

When it comes to most claims of discrimination on the left, the claim is true unless proven false. When it comes to claims of anti-Semitism, the claim is false unless proven true. This double standard is in itself anti-Semitic.

We Jews, so often described as ‘whiny,’ ‘paranoid,’ and ‘manipulative’ are assumed to be liars. The left is all too ready to use excuses that would never fly in most discussions of bigotry. Even at Swarthmore it’s somehow acceptable to say “I didn’t mean to be anti-Semitic, you’re just too sensitive and/or paranoid.”

As a Jew, it is clear to me what all this second-guessing and hypocrisy from many on the left means: they simply do not believe anti-Semitism is a problem. For them, bringing up anti-Semitism is merely a nuisance tactic employed by Jews to derail discussions about “real issues.” For some leftists, trafficking in common anti-Semitic stereotypes is a price they are willing to pay to achieve their political goals.

Make no mistake, this price is not small. It’s dangerous to condition people to tune out claims of anti-Semitism and to assume those who make accusations are, as reportedly described by the new CEO of the Trump campaign, “whiny brat Jews.”

We Jews are just a small part of this country, no matter how large our presence on this campus may seem. We are under 2% of the national population and a tiny fraction of a percent of the global population. A century ago, Jews lived relatively prosperous lives in Germany. We were disproportionately represented in fields of law, finance, and medicine. We even held some high level political offices. So naturally, when German Jews complained of anti-Semitism, they too were accused of “whining.”

This is not the early 20th century and we are presumably not on the verge of another Holocaust, but we are clearly seeing a rising tide of anti-Semitism accompanied by an overwhelming denial of that fact from both the left and the right. As the influence of the alt-right grows in the Republican Party, Jews in this country are more fearful than they have been in decades, yet many on the left remain in denial of this reality and even help perpetuate it.

What depresses me the most is that this is happening just a week after so many new students arrived on this campus. To Jewish first-years, and to the first-years of every other identity threatened by White Supremacy, I say this: you are not alone. Talk to Kehilah (our campus Jewish community), talk to CAPS, talk to your friends, and talk to Jewish upperclassmen who are feeling the same frustrations and fears as you.

And to those who are not Jewish, I urge you to listen. Do not be the person who only brings themself to recognize that racism is real when they see a burning cross in their black neighbors’ yard. Recognize that this incident is just the most visible and obvious form of anti-Semitism. Recognize that when you are talking about issues relating to Jews, Jewish identity, and yes, even the Jewish State, it is important to think carefully and consider whether your words are anti-Semitic. Recognize that anti-Semitism is a problem not just in the Middle East or Europe but here in this country and on this campus as well.

Remember that many, if not most, of the Jews you meet here had grandparents, great-grandparents, or other family members who were tortured and killed under the symbol that was drawn yesterday.

Never forget the pain of our past, recognize the anxiety of our present, and listen to our fears for the future. Listen to us. Not just today, not just when the next anti-Semitic incident occurs, but on every day to come.

Featured image shows one of the swastikas. By Ziv Stern ’20.


  1. Great article William. The double-standard you write about in this article is shocking. I was in disbelief that such an event could happen at Swarthmore, let alone in the first week.

    • First, I was interested in finding out whether I would be able to post any comments at all on a college newspaper as someone who is not a member of that community. I shall copy this in the event that I find that I cannot post it.

      Secondly, Mr. Meyer, I wanted to tell you that I had the same experience almost 50 years ago, at the City College of New York, arguing about the existence of anti-Semitism on a campus where Jews were well more than 60 percent of the student body, and were so radicalized that they couldn’t bear to talk about anti-Semitism for fear of losing their positions in the movements of that time.

      The exact circumstances were that, as a member of the student government, I attempted to integrate a closed door meeting of an ad hoc meeting of black students that was called to because of the anger that black students felt about the dominance of Jewish students over campus life. It is important to remember that CCNY is in the middle of Harlem. My objection to that meeting was that there was a rule at CCNY that prohibited groups from excluding any student from attending on campus meetings.

      I am telling you about something that happened literally two generations ago because it bears directly on your issue, the fact that people who we believe should understand about anti-Semitism simply cannot see beyond their own prejudices.

      Now. at a time when Jews and Blacks should be working together against a common threat, we seem further apart than we have been during my lifetime. The common threat is the ugly nativism that Donald Trump’s campaign as stirred up, a nativism which is clearly anti-Black, anti-Latino, anti-women, anti-Jewish, and anti- just about anything else you can think of that might be considered divergent from the Trump’s almost exclusively white lower middle class following. (I may be somewhat charitable. Statistics indicate that most Trump backers are better off than lower middle class.)

      My point, however, is that you are terribly mistaken if you believe that it cannot happen again. It is happening right now, right in front of us. Donald Trump is using precisely the same techniques that Adolph Hitler used to gain power in Germany, on almost precisely the same timetable. The personalities of the two men are strikingly similar in many respects, and Trump’s followers are exhibiting many of the same characteristics that Hitler’s followers did.

      The ugliness that we see unleashed at Trump’s rallies is a foretaste of things to come, especially after Trump loses, if indeed he does lose. Win or lose, Trump has uncapped a powerful force that will continue to distort American politics for a long time to come, because Trump gives these people permission to step out from behind their facades and show themselves as they really are….and what they are discovering is that they have the numbers to take control of this country, if not this time around or the next, then surely sooner or later.

      I won’t live to see that, but you probably will. You have to ask yourself what steps you are prepared to take to protect the Jewish people and yourself….remembering that the Jews of Germany chose wrong.


      • Your assumption is that these were “Trump’s men”. But – from following the American politics closely – I wouldn’t dismiss so easily the pro -Palestinian “left”. This may prove as being just a wishful thinking on your part. And I include movement like BLM, BDS and whatever other letters they favor. In my view, this is the real danger to the American Jews. Especially as they seem to be blind to what’s going on.

      • It’s so wierd to see all the anti Trump comments. I think Hillary and Obama that done so much harm to Jews and Christians in supporting “winey” Muslims and BDS against Israel. It’s the “left” you should be writing those things about. Trump is “for” America and Israel, not for our enemies like Hillary and Obama have been.

      • Antisemitism on college campuses started way before Trump. Suggest that you research what has been going on for the past 10 years on US campuses.

        • Antisemitism in Europe started way before Hitler. Suggest that you research what transpired during the 10 years leading up to the holocaust in Europe.

          Note how irrelevant your comment is?

      • That’s right blame the racist hatred on Trump. Second verse same as the first….democrats always blame Republicans. Watch out you are going to find out this was a hate group and I am willing to bet they align with the Democrat party.

        Democrats founded the KKK and still run them. Planned Parenthoods founder Margaret Sanger, Democrat, founded PP with the sole purpose of ridding the USA of black children and any less desirable people groups.

        Who spreads all the hatred they can in the USA….DEMOCRATS. if you don’t side with them you are a racist, Islamaphobic, white supremacist, zenaphobic (sp?)……,

        Come on quit pointing your fingers at Republicans and point them at the real problem which is all the bought and paid for Politicians. Did you get a chance to read the Soros files before the site was taken down? Play book for the Democrats bought and paid for by Soros. I am sure there are many Republicans on his payroll. I choose not to wear rose colored glasses and believe every lie the liberal-left is propagating. You should do the same.

        Soros wants us divided so he can conquer our nation.

        • You are very confused and perhaps living in the past. All those “Democrats” who founded the KKK were southerners who became Republicans when Nixon initiated his “Southern Strategy”. When Kennedy and LBJ were working for equal rights AND integration in the south, the Repubs worked to keep blacks as second class citizens and STILL work to do that to this day- including cooking up ways to change voting laws to keep them from the polls. Frankly any color glasses you wear will not help your blindness but perhaps you could learn to read braille and find some books with actual historical FACTS.

          • Sorry to say.. but a person can’t do anything to prevent another person or group from endorsing or supporting them.. What they can do is refrain from endorsing or rather calling them a mentor in return as Hillary did with a KKK grand dragon who she based on her own words considers a mentor ( http://youtu.be/p4wo9nqWrwE ). I don’t know what’s worse and scarier, the stupidity of some of these comments in support of lying democrats or the idea that people this blind and easy to sway are actually allowed to vote! What in the hell is it going to take for you fine folks to shake the haze and wake the hell up?! This woman has committed crimes that boil down to pure treason, that anyone else would have hung for! Just look into the trail of bodies in the Clinton’s past who have crossed paths with them and died of questionable causes! How you can defend any of this is just pure insanity!

          • Historical FACTS? Ever hear of the Boll Weevil Democrats who favored the New Deal but insisted on segregation all the way to the late sixties. I see you are just one more cherry picker.

        • Your ignorance is appalling. First, it’s not Clinton being supported by David Duke and the ultra right who hate Jews-it is Trump. All the hate groups are supporting Trump, not Clinton.Doesn’t that tell you something about Trump? The stuff about Democrats founding the KKK is true but irrelevant today. The South was Democratic because of the Civil War but once the party started supporting civil rights, they became Republicans. The reason that Republicans dominate the South is that they began moving away from Civil Rights. People like Strom Thurmond, who once were racist Democrats, became Republicans. I wonder why. It would be nice if you actually knew what you are talking about before posting. It would also be nice if you could spell.

          • Sorry- Black Lives Matter and BDS are hate groups. Look at the people who were appointed to the DNC this go round – anti-Israel anti semites! Blumenthal and Soros are hateful and pander to anti-semites. This liberal democrat as had it with the pandering. What is being allowed to occur on our college campuses is disgraceful – and is looking an awful lot like Germany in the early 1930s.

          • Marc Schneider: You say, “The reason that Republicans dominate the South is that they began moving away from Civil Rights. People like Strom Thurmond, who once were racist Democrats, became Republicans.” Comment: It is a commonly repeated theory that the racist Democrats in the south who were responsible for slavery and segregation became Republicans during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. If this is true, then an examination of historical data should reveal that southern Democrats circa 1960 switched in large numbers from Democratic party membership to Republican party membership. Here is the historical data:

            US House of Representatives: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Representatives_who_switched_parties

            US Senate: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Senators_who_switched_parties

            Here is a summary of the results:
            1) During the Civil Rights Era, one Senator (Strom Thurmond, in 1964) switched from the Democratic to Republican Party. In fact, between 1900 and 1999 only three Senators switched from Democrat to Republican – Thurmond (1964), Shelby (1994) and Campbell (1995).

            2) On the US House side, two southern state US Congressmen switched from Democrat to Republican – Watson (1965) and Jarman (1975). In fact, of all the known party switches in the US house in recorded history (22 total), over half occurred on or after 1995 – nearly a quarter century after the Civil Rights movement.

            Conclusion: During the Civil Rights Era, exactly three Democrats switched to the Republican Party. All of the other Democrats, who presumably were architects and advocates of the racist policies of the south, never changed to the Republican Party.

      • And your evidence that its Trump who has ginned up resentment is … because all evidence I see is that it’s been unleashed by the left smearing Trump. Its the Left and Democrats who have been busy at work doing their best to make Trump radioactive hoping to ward off Blacks that might be interested in a Trump outreach attempt and of course its patently absurd to claim Trump has an iota of anti Semitsm. His own daughter and grandchildren are Jews and he has a long history in support of Israel. So while the Left i.e. the Democrat campaign claims Trump’s campaign is violent and is run by an anti Semite and the likes of David Duke supports him – who is it that violently prevented Trump from speaking on Chicago? Who was it that waited outside a Trump rally in Minneapolis to follow and beat up the attendees? Who has taken Trump lawn signs and set fire to the homes there? Trump supporters have been shot, beaten and ALL who might want to use a number sticker to show their support of Trump know fully well it would mean their car being “keyed” as a result. Its Trump supporters who fear showing any outward sign that they support him for fear of retribution. But its Democrats who have using claims in a divorce battle of all things to try and show Steve Bannon is an anti Semite and by that we’re supposed to conclude then Donald Trump must be too. Claims made in a divorce battle? Seriously? It is just as likely that David Duke is being financed by Clinton’s deep pockets to make his Senate run in return for him making a pro Trump Statement, then it is for him declaring he’s all for Trump – what good what that do him? So lets not invent or carry water for the Clinton campaign and tar Trump with this nonsense. Today’s anti Semitism is coming from the Left including clueless leftist Jewish kids themselves who seem to think if they take an anti Israel position, they can endear themselves to their Leftist friends. WE Jews have seen this sort of thing for centuries – Jews themselves making a great effort they hate themselves even more then those who really hate them – today on the college campus thats coming from groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, Muslim Students Association, Black Lives Matter, Jewish Voices for Peace – ALL leftist groups. And many working hand in hand with Democrat political campaigns – and NOT Donald Trump.

        • Another example of victim blaming.

          No. Trump has brought this upon himself. Your failure to recognize racism in others and yourself is endemic among Trump supporters. It’s not us who are racist for pointing out Trump’s racisim and that of many of his supporters, it’s those who fail to understand racism and bigotry, both overt and covert, in yourself and others, in Trump’s policies, and the effect that it has in steamrolling of everyone’s rights – someday yours.

        • the last thing anyone can accuse Trump of is being anti-semitic. His daughter Ivanka, her husband (who is one of Trumps main advisors) and her 3 children – his grandchildren – are all Jewish and religious as well. If you don’t want to vote for Trump, just don’t – but don’t smear him with an epithet that is obviously far from true.

          • Yes, the “some of my best friends” argument works so well.

            It’s very common for a bigot to make exceptions. The ones he likes are “not like the rest of them.” Maybe Trump is an antisemite, maybe he isn’t. I haven’t seen as much evidence of it as I have that he doesn’t have a real problem with antisemitism in others, but the fact that he’s willing to have civil relations with Jewish members of his family (I have questions about how sincere his daughter’s conversion was, as opposed to something she did just for the sake of the marriage, but that’s not especially relevant here) or that he’s willing to employ Jews doesn’t mean that he isn’t antisemitic.

            Like it says in the article, “Do not be the person who only brings themself to recognize that racism is real when they see a burning cross in their black neighbors’ yard.” Don’t be the person who doesn’t see antisemitism unless Jews are being herded into gas chambers.

          • It is Obama whose pastor was a virulent ant-Semite. It is under Obama we’ve had an explosion of Jew hate. Yet he hasn’t said a word.

        • I knew when I first glanced at this article that Trump was going to be blamed in some way. That seems to be the Democratic way. Next he will be blamed for global warming.

          • 90% is aimed at the far left liberals hierocracy, with only 2 small paragraphs mentioning the far right hate groups that have embrace Trump and the Republican campaign

        • Right on. As a Swarthmore graduate and Jew, the anti-Semitism of what is a marginal far Right concerns me far less than that of the far Left – BDS, Students for Justice in Palestine, BLM, etc. Yassir Arafat could have given his people a state on several occasions, but chose not to. The most lethal person for black people is a young black man and a recent Harvard study by a black scholar confirmed that unarmed blacks are no more likely to be killed by a cop than unarmed whites, “hands up don’t shoot” was proven a lie by the Holder DOJ but the facts never matter, do they? When in doubt, just blame Trump. Hillary exposed state secrets to our enemies and granted government access and favors to those who gave her money, but no big deal. Up is down and down is up.

          • I suggest you read responses to the Fryer study to which you seem to be referring. His methods have a lot of issues, and his work is primarily as an economist, not a sociologist. Whether or not he is black has little to do with the contents of his study. The “most lethal person” for black people (whatever that means) is another black person, yes, but bringing that point up in this context is questionable, and fails to take into consideration a number of factors involved in the issue (plenty of thinkpieces or whatever have been written about this, I don’t think I need to elaborate further).

            Some facts certainly matter. Whether or not Mike Brown’s hands were, in fact, up when he was shot does not especially. Not far beyond the scope of Wilson’s trial, at least.

            I agree blaming Trump is too simple a recourse in these discussions. I believe Hillary to be as or more culpable for the present sordid state of our political system as he, but her having “expos[ed] state secrets to our enemies” is questionable, as is the claim’s motivation.

            Suggesting Students for Justice in Palestine and the BDS movement are anti-Semitic is absurd and offensive. I don’t support either movement, mostly for tactical reasons, but to suggest their motivation is anti-Semitism muddies the waters and serves only to foster erroneous notions of the nature of that term.

            I doubt any of what I said will be of any interest to you, but I hope no third party reading these comments is swayed by your misleading comments.

        • Steven you are so right. I just can’t believe that Alan Miller, who seems so intelligent, is willing to put in print so many untruths. He would rather have crooked Hillary running this country.

          • Considering it was TRUMP who had to pay a $2,500 penalty to the IRS for illegally donating to Pam Bondi through his Charity (and saying it was a group in the Midwest rather then her PAC, after which her office promptly dropped their investigation of fraud over Trump U. His supporters have some nerve calling anyone ‘crooked’ since it is well established he has committed fraud numerous times.

        • OK, but he did imply to a group of random Jews that they were all businessmen. And that they knew how to renegotiate a deal. He wouldn’t be the first person to dislike Jews as a group while still being close to the ones that he has reason to be, in this case, his own kids.

      • I liked the first part of your comments. On Trump you confusing me. Trumps daughter converted to Judiasm and thus Donald Trump has Jewish grandchildren. One of Trumps son is in the process of converting to Judiasm. Trump stood up and caused change at a golf course in Florida that did not accept Jews and blacks. You claim that Trump is anti-women. In reality by his proposed immigartion screening will prevent the spread of ideologies that have and support stoning women to death, force women to cover up, prevent education of women, etc. If you would be truly concerned about sexism then you would have spoken up about real sexism in Saudi Arabia, Iran, even Turkey, etc. I did not read Alan Milner speak up against the female honour killings in Arab countries, Canada, France, UK, Germany, etc. I did not hear him objecting to the female fetus abortions, I did not hear him objecting to the Muslim polygamy marriages in some Muslim counties and Ontario, Canada, etc. In the West he will come across women dressed such that only their eyes are visible and walk behind their male family members. When did this Alan Milner spoke up against the practice of women being stoned to death in the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, northern Nigeria, Aceh Province in Indonesia, and parts of Pakistan? Pakistani girl Malala was shot in Pakistan simply because she was going to school. The shooters do not want girls educated and going to school. I do not read Alan Milner speaking up on these issues. I do hope that Trump becomes the next US president and he will stand up to the above real women oppressions.

        • Don Calea- I have ONLY heard that any Drumpf son is converting from you- there is no other info anywhere about that so where did YOU dig that up? As to Drumpf himself- while we here in the US do not have the extreme anti- women customs that are still practiced in several Arabic countries and cultures, that does not make what we Do have non-existent nor acceptable. Drumpf has made numerous statements grading and degrading women by their looks, this from a “man” who only marries models. He is working with Roger Ailes who has been fired from Fox News for sexually harassing multiple women employees for years, and he is not the only one at Fox being accused. Drumpf has a special relationship with Fox. Mr. Milner does not have to address EVERYTHING in his letter (it was not about Arabic culture) nor as to the previous 2 commenters was he saying that Drumpf was the CAUSE or the start of anti-semitism here. But Drumpf is certainly stirring the pot of hatred, anti-semitism included. He is the champion of White Supremacists (not once has he condemned them or denied their support).

        • Why he is “confusing” you? After all he is “a liberal Jew”. It’s always Trump’s fault for him – not in the mirror that his sanctimonious self is looking into.

        • I doubt that Trump is personally racist or anti-Semitic. But he traffic’s in tropes that are racist and anti-Semitic. And, as Alan notes, he uses the same kind of tactics that Nazis used, catering to the resentments of lower class white people and scapegoating immigrants and African-Americans. The issue of anti-Semitism on the Left is a different and disturbing issue but it doesn’t make Trump less appalling.

          • Marc Schneider, I agree. Anti-Semitism on the Left is a different, disturbing and disheartening issue. Trump certainly did not invent hate and prejudice. He has, however, is validated it. Trump has given prejudice a center and someone to rally around, as the presidential candidate of a major political party. Jingoism and its components of hate and fear have become part of the American perspective and part of a political platform. It’s certainly not the first time this has happened; however, it’s just difficult to understand why we can’t stop it, and why it continues.

          • There is a major difference between any posturings Trump may have that resembles Hitler. The difference is violence. Hitler had thugs beating up civilians throughout his career, culminating in the most horrific mass murders using all the resources he had at hand. Where is the violence in Trump and his followers? And more pathetic, why do people not see this as the pivotal difference? Yet one does see violence emanating from the Left, and I venture will see more.

        • Let’s take a second and review what he said about sexual harassment in the workplace and his daughter. He said he hoped his daughter would leave there and find another job. How out of touch is that? How many women do you know who can afford to simply move on? This is the same as telling women what they need to do to not get raped rather than telling men not to rape. Women are still a notch below men in his mind having to rework our way around misogyny rather than insisting that men in power get their behavior in order.

      • I must say that I am dismayed and perplexed that American Jews would think for one minute that Conservatives would be racist or anti-Semitic. I was a Democrat for many years – even worked in the McGovern campaign in college, but I left the Democrat Party before I was forty because it had become too radical for me. It is the Obama Administration that has expressed hostility to the nation of Israel, to Prime Minister Netanyahu –I have been astounded to see American Jews still support him when he rammed through the disastrous Iran Deal (which is actually a treaty). I have found that Conservatives are much more supportive of Israel and oppose anti-Semitism far more than liberal Democrats. It is on college and university campuses that this evil is being propagated–it is one of the reasons my daughter has opted to not seek the traditional college route for my eldest grandson. She does not want him to be indoctrinated into these liberal philosophies that oppose individuality and respect for Israel. We have seen members of our own family sent to elite universities and come out hating their own country and being pro-Palestinian state.

      • Alan, thank you for sharing your personal history. I really appreciate learning about the reality that has yet to reach the text books for my young generation.

        • vandalism is destroying property
          putting a sign of fascist germany is making a political stance and considered a hate crime
          both are punishable by law
          what is swarthmore college going tobdo about this there must be cameras and college dirms have security guard and policies in place to determine eho has done this
          Are they being expelled?

      • seems to me that antisemitism and racial divide has really come on to its own during the last 8 years, starting well before Trump

      • You are so right! The left is and has been against all people of faith…Jews and Christians…..socialism and communism want the citizens to worship the government’…

        • I’m a leftist and while both sides have work to do, we are certainly not against all people of faith. Most Jews are liberals, my husband and his family are Jewish. Bernie Sanders is Jewish. You, are an interesting breed. We are against using religion as a political tool. There is a difference. I am a Catholic. many of my Catholic friends are liberals, especially those who listen to what out Pope has to say. We don’t want people to worship the government, that’s seriously insane of you to say. Please have a conversation with some liberals…..open minded and open hearted conversation. You’ll find that we have good hearts and just want our government to reflect our values; caring for the poor, sharing wealth, healthcare for all. These things matter. Your side, however, only care about rich white people getting to stay in power as rich white people.

      • The main part of your analysis that is incorrect is the fact that anti-Semitism is part of today’s Progressive political correctness. Your labeling of Trump as the next Fuhrer while he and Conservatives support Jews and Israel is quite a mind-twister. His daughter is a converted Jew and he has Jewish grandchildren. You should be ashamed to lie as you do, as your Progressive PC minions constantly compare Israelis to Nazis and apartheid South Africans in the midst of Islamic terrorists targeting all those malcontent factions you politically correct so strongly support.

        • It is one thing to be anti-Semitic and quite another to not support the government of Israel which has, indeed, created an apartheid State. I prefer not to send Israel hundreds of millions per year in military aid when they are using it to lob bombs into a prison they’ve created for Palestinians killing thousands of innocent people and children a year in an effort to catch just a few. I do not hate Jews, but I do not support the Israeli government.

    • For American Jews to have to deny their ethnic roots in their ancient homeland – that is an anti-Semitic expectation.

      Israel was recognised as a State as late as 1948 but it did not begin then. Go back five hundred, a thousand, two thousand or three thousand years to see the continuous Jewish connection and history. In the mid-1800s, under the rule of the Turkish Empire, the Jews were rebuilding their neglected home-land. In 1860 the population of Jerusalem was made up of more Jews than all the other religions put together. The pioneers were buying the worthless, malaria infested land and making it vital again. The Arabs who wandered through led miserable lives (see Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad). No one claimed to be a Palestinian except the Jews!

      The double standard applied to Israel is disgusting. Last week alone 250 more people were murdered in Syria. The liberals were silent. Israel has rescued and treated thousands of Syrians while the liberals do nothing. (Israeli doctors routinely save Palestinian lives.)

      Making American Jews the target for blame for the so-called wrongs of Israel is anti-Semitic.

      Jews are not claiming that any legitimate criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. What we are stating as a fact is that total bias, misrepresentation and lies about the only democracy in the Middle East are all anti-Semitic actions. That blaming a country for defending its citizens from thousands of missile attacks is anti-Semitic. That suggesting that not enough Israelis died – because we have shelters in every building which protect from incessant attack – is anti-Semitic. That demonising and delegitimising an entire country and its people is anti-Semitic.

      That changing the context by never once mentioning the lynchings, the executions, the honour killings and mutilation of women, the persecution of homosexuals, the intimidation of Christians in Gaza by the so-called good guys, the Palestinians, is by default anti-Semitic. (It’s also, ironically anti-Palestinian because the regular people are intimidated and brain-washed by their own vicious and corrupt leaders – the very ones the “liberals” fawn upon!)

      American Jews should not have to be afraid to claim connection to the Jewish State; to talk of the incredible contributions that this one tiny country (the size of New Jersey) has made to the world. Their reticence is the result of anti-Semitism.

      • The claim that in 1860 there were more Jews in Jerusalem than the other religions combined is true (if you don’t count the Christian pilgrims), but misleading. Jews were the largest demographic then, but in the 1860s, they quickly became outnumbered by Muslims as the city grew, as you probably know. You also seem to be implicitly suggesting the demographics of Jerusalem were reflective of those of what came to be Mandatory Palestine, and then Israel. This is a gross distortion. In the earliest British census conducted (in 1920), the population of Mandatory Palestine was over 75% Muslim. Over the next 20 years (post Balfour), that shrunk to 60%. Through the 19th Century, Muslims in Palestine (by which I mean Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, and Gaza) outnumbered Jews ten-to-one. Palestine was majority Muslim by quite a large margin since the Fifth Crusade in the early 13th Century.

        Indeed, nobody claimed to be Palestinian but the Jews because of the nature of the area’s political administration. As soon as the region passed out of the hands of one empire, it fell into the hands of another larger and more powerful one, one who uncontroversially denied the region’s inhabitants of their right to self-determination, a right established in the League of Nations mandate.

        Making American Jews the target for blame for Israel’s war crimes is undeniably wrong, and offensive, yes, but anti-Semitic? Possibly, but your using the term so glibly is concerning, as is your referring to Israel’s crimes as ‘so-called wrongs’.

        Nobody is blaming Israel for “defending its citizens”. Nobody denies any state its right to do so. That Israel has the right to defend itself is a vacuous claim, but in this context, its use is deceitful. Israel has the right to defend itself, but does it have the right to do so by force? Perhaps Israel could abide a ceasefire. Or perhaps Israel and the United States could join every other country on the planet (including the Arab states), and Hamas, too, in supporting a two-state settlement. International consensus is near universal on this point, besides the two glaring exceptions. The suggestion is never that “not enough Israelis died” — obviously even one is a tragedy — but rather that too many Palestinians have.

        I don’t think people view Palestinians as “the good guys” any more than those in the past viewed the blacks suffering under apartheid in South Africa, or the natives of any colonized state as “good guys”. The United States government certainly doesn’t view them as “the good guys”. Life is not a fairy tale, and I suspect most people are more capable of understanding moral complexity than you seem to believe. The reason the crimes of Palestinians are mentioned somewhat less often (though they are still widely mentioned in the media) in “liberal” discourse is that Palestine is not the United State’s closest ally in the region. The United States consistently vetoes UN Resolutions in favor of a two state solution presented to the Security Council, which are supported by almost every other country on the planet. Remember in 2006, when the Palestinian people voted in what the U.S. and Israel deemed the “wrong way”? It is widely known that the two nations responded by carrying out a coordinated campaign to destabilize the government. It’s only natural that people in the United States would be more concerned with those crimes which their own country supports. That preferential concern is not anti-Semitism.

        I agree that American Jews shouldn’t be afraid to claim connection to Israel. Many of the world’s great artists and scientists over the past seventy years have been Israeli. Israeli culture is rich and diverse, and the food there is wonderful, by all accounts. It would be disturbing, however, if American Jews spoke proudly of their (very tenuous or nonexistent) connection to the illegal occupation of Palestine. Thankfully, none whom I know personally do. I suspect (from my conversations with my Jewish friends) that their reticence is rather due to their awareness of these crimes, and that said crimes have colored their perceptions of the Israeli government, to which they may feel little or no connection.

    • I am many years beyond my campus life and after decades of working on behalf of the Jewish world am finally enjoying retired life. The insight and passion you bring to a most complex and perplexing issue bodes well for those of us who have fought prejudice on many fronts. What Jews and the State of Isreal face today in the guise of liberal egalitarianism must be confronted by those who truly understand that prejudice under any banner diminishes us all. While we must be critical when needed, truth and objectivity must prevail. I commend you on your article. The Swarthmore community is fortunate to have you in its midst.

    • The cover picture is from another horrible incident, though more dramatic than the actual incident: Graffiti on the bathroom stall door. That is also a very serious problem, though not as provocative as a defaced graveyard. However, the writer perpetrated a second desecration in his article. He blames this, with no proof, on “the left”, then launches into a condemnation of liberals for doing it. The basis for his claim is that some on the left have suggested that Israel should soften its treatment of the Palestinians, an opinion shared by a majority of the population in Israel. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.737973?v=5C5CE05393504BE4F62C2D0F8A4E9265
      I won’t further the abomination of using an attack such as this to prove an unrelated point. Let me simply state what most know, that all Jews are not Zionists. To draw an analogy, being opposed to say, Manifest Destiny in American history, does not make one anti-American nor even anti-expansionist.
      If the author wants to support Trump, he should do so without claiming to be a victim of someone who has yet to be proven to have committed the crime.

  2. A side point, on the interesting status Jews occupy at Swarthmore. It has long bothered me that the Jewish groups were removed from the IC community at some point prior to me showing up in 2007. I don’t know the full context, but the reason, as was communicated to me, was that the American Jewish experience in the 21st century was pretty far estranged from all the other groups involved. As in: sure, Diaspora Jews have multiple languages, multiple ethnic origins, cuisine, a complex intellectual history, a national memory of persecution, etc…. but the privileged, enfranchised status of many American Jews today still precludes formal membership in a supportive community designed to fight oppression.

    I always thought this was a missed opportunity: not for Jews to claim a particular oppressed status, but rather to do the same sort of innocuous cultural outreach stuff on campus that might convey the basic fact that yeah, many Jews have a meaningful group identity and peoplehood, too, beyond just religious observance. I do wonder if the gulf I observed between Jewish groups and other cultural groups on campus from 2007-2011 persists, and if that might play a role in the sentiments described here.

    • Are you kidding? “General disdain for social convention”? No one in history has ever interpreted the swastika this way, with the single exception of Sid Vicious (and even that’s only if you want to give him credit for thinking about it for two seconds).

      • IC = intercultural center, a building/facility on campus where various identity groups can use.

        Eduard Saakashvili

    • They had the swastikas cleaned off the stall, sent out an email condemning the graffiti, and are holding a special collection tomorrow. Pretty much all they can do since nobody knows who did it.

      • I disagree that it’s all they can do. As a Jewish student I’ve felt upset by the relative lack of allyship/outreach (except from our dear friends in the MSA)

        • Sorry to say, but when my own child attended there, I did not feel it was a good school for Jewish students.

        • What else _can_ they do? To my knowledge there aren’t cameras in the McCabe bathrooms (and a good thing, too, that would be a massive invasion of privacy) and any competent asshole would bring a bag to hide their graffiti stuff in. I /suspect/ that the asshole is not a student because a stunt like this is probably grounds for expulsion, so even if the administration does find them they have very few options and the courts won’t take a lawsuit over some asshole spraying Nazi iconography seriously. This isn’t Germany, we don’t have laws against neo-Nazi crap.

          Even if it /was/ a student, how is the administration going to find them? They can’t really search every student on campus and their room and bags, there’d be a riot, and even then if the asshole was smart they’ve already ditched their graffiti stuff–probably within a day of doing the graffiti. Should the administration call every student in to the Dean’s office and question them? That would take forever and there’s no way to know if they’re being honest.

          Frankly there isn’t a damn thing the administration can do outside of offering support to anyone who’s upset and condemning the asshole who put Nazi shit on the bathroom walls.

          • Yes, a camera inside the bathroom is problematic for more than confidentiality concerns. So some campus locations around the united states have placed cameras outside of the bathrooms, capturing who goes in and out. This was meant as a safety valve so they could potentially capture an individual who might have molested or raped a student. What they found, however, was that they were capturing people who had desecrated the bathroom, used graffiti or in some cases it was determined that drug sales were going down. I think a camera outside of the bathroom is a good idea.

        • Sure, here, I’ll quote the whole thing.
          “””Dear Friends,

          Please read below this important invitation from Joyce Tompkins, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life and Rabbi Adam Lavitt, Jewish Advisor. I hope that you will consider joining us and continue to seek out ways to share your support and solidarity to one another.

          With care and concern,

          Liz Braun
          Dean of Students

          Dear members of our Swarthmore community:

          In response to the recent disturbing incident that occurred in the library on our campus, we would like to offer the regular collection time on Friday as an opportunity for reflection and mutual support. As President Smith noted in her message yesterday, incidents such as these are an assault on our entire community and we know that many in our community have been deeply affected by this incident. Because of our conversations within the religious community, we ourselves are particularly aware of the pain caused to our Jewish students, staff and faculty. While a time of collection cannot erase the pain that has been caused, it can offer all of us an opportunity for support and solidarity. We hope many of you will join us in the Meetinghouse tomorrow between 12:30 and 1:15 pm.

          Joyce Tompkins, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life

          Rabbi Adam Lavitt, Jewish Advisor

          H. Elizabeth Braun, PhD
          Dean of Students
          Swarthmore College”””

  3. Hi,

    Jewish alum here. I’m sorry this happened. It is bad to put swastikas in public spaces and I do not like them. But because the swastika has also, in places like /b/, come to stand for general disdain for social convention, political correctness, etc., it’s not self-evident that Jews were the intended target. But it’s definitely evidence that someone on or near campus is a total asshole.

      • Hi Gary! I am not kidding. I am distinguishing between what is likely and what is certain. It is plausible that this was intended to be anti-semitic. But my experience with teenagers suggests that sometimes they latch onto the thing they think will most offend people without thinking the consequences through very well. It matters insofar as you think of this as being a targeted hate-crime or just a generally awful thing to do.

        • what you’re saying is satire, right ?? Please tell me it is. Painting swastikas on headstones is not the usual “adolescent ” behavior. Why even suggest to justify such a horrid thing?

        • Intent does not mitigate the harm. Intent has NOTHING TO DO with how people perceive the action. Whether or not this person INTENDED to harm the Jewish students and staff and faculty, they DID.

          In general, in our USian society, pretty much everyone except people kept in careful ignorance of actual world history, like, say fundamentalist homeschooled children, and people who lack empathy (see: sociopaths) recognizes that swastikas are a symbol of hatred that harm Jewish people and others. I think that a large percentage of this country would agree that using this symbol is a consciously racist act. Yes, this person may also be an asshole and a thoughtless teenager, but they CONSCIOUSLY CHOSE TO PERFORM A RACIST ACT.

          To try to throw this “doubt” into the situation is just derailing the conversation from the anti-Semitism that is CLEARLY present on the campus (see article above). This is NOT a conversation that requires a Devil’s Advocate. In fact, there are very few conversations that ever require a Devil’s Advocate. I’m afraid that your choice to do this makes you, sir, an asshole.

        • If the racist “n-word” was spraypainted on walls, ZERO black people would say “maybe it’s not racist, maybe it’s just kids being kids.”

          Yet somehow when anti-Jewish nazi symbols get spraypainted, somehow there are always some idiot leftist Jews whose stupid brains cause them to say “maybe it’s just kids being kids, let’s not jump to conclusions.”

          No Italians would do this when faced with anti-Italian hate. No Christians. No Muslims. No Arabs. Only leftist Jews do this crap.

          HELLO LEFTIST JEWS, the people promoting Hitler or promoting Israel’s destruction ACTUALLY LIKE HITLER, and they WANT ISRAEL ERASED OR DESTROYED. HELLO.

      • Gary, you do know that the picture at the top of this piece is not an image from the incident this piece is about, right? And as for swastikas graffitied on tombstones, a quick google search will show you incidents in the past few years that were clearly more general with no respect to religion. Muslim and, yes, Christian headstones have been defaced. A rush to judgment is not helpful.

    • Not unrelatedly, places like /b/ have in the past few of years proven to be hotbeds of “alt-right” style white nationalism, as evidenced by the transmission of channer-style language, tactics, and memes into the more traditional white supremacist spaces like Stormfront. Perhaps this is, because instead of merely ‘disdain for social convention,’ normalizing hate speech in this fashion also signals that such communities are safe spaces for those who authentically hold these views to share them, coordinate, and align tactics and values. Perhaps, even this talk of “disdain of social convention” is itself a smokescreen at least and willful self-deception at most, all underlying genuine sympathy for the hate being “incidentally” promulgated in the same spaces.

    • It wasn’t just swastikas, there were overt “SS” and “Hitler” tags too. How is this not clearly anti-Semitic?

      • Thank you for the article, it is very sad indeed to see this kind of behavior in this day & age. The article focused mainly on defining anti-Semitism yet I wonder if having a thoughtful opinion of the state of Israel’s actions is considered anti-Semitic. The comments have been interesting. I am pro-human, treating others as you would like to be treated. I personally have found Jewish settlements outside of their borders an interesting developement in the spiritual evolvement of the Jewish nation. Who better to know & understand how it feels when your lives are turned upside down. Your homes & property lost and to not be able to move freely in your own lands, to be persecuted for your ethnicity or faith than the Jewish nation. Palestine did not start WW2 and we’re not responsible for Germanys actions but it was their ancestral lands that were forcibly taken to make way for the creation of the Jewish state. If right is right than German lands should have been given up to create a Jewish state. The argument has been that the ancestral home of the Jews is the area of land known as the Jewish state of Israel even though there are ppl who are of Christian & Muslim faiths who have lived there for many, many, many generations. I am not opposed to a Jewish state but I am opposed to the expansion beyond their borders & not allowing Palestinians to fully integrate or create their own state. If we are in the market of returning all lands to some of their original inhabitants regardless of what has happened over the last 2000 years, than I would like to see all indigenous lands returned to all indigenous peoples. We, the United States of hypocrisy, can start with Hawaii & the Black Hills of S.D.

        I wish your school the best & all young people, regardless of race or color the opportunity to live in a safe, awake, aware & peaceful world.

        • Lynn
          How on earth can you comment that Israel was built on ancestral so-called Palestinian land when the Palestinian Arabs did not even feature as a separate group until the 1960s? During the period of the British Mandate for Palestine, the Palestinians were the Jews. It is historical fact that much of the land which actually became the State of Israel was, in fact, purchased from absentee Arab landowners in Egypt & Syria. Most of those Arabs who claim to have lived on this land are actually squatters who entered the Mandate to seek jobs from the Jews. Incidentally, the fate of only 26% of the Mandate land was actually decided at Flushing Meadows in Nov.1947. Prior to that, in 1922, 74% had been (illegally) hived off to create Transjordan (now the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan). Only after this was it suggested that the remaining 26% would be subdivided into a Jewish State & (another) Arab State. The Arabs, still not claiming to be a separate group of ‘Palestinians,’ rejected this as they have done every offer of a state since. Many Arab commentators/ historians also state, quite unequivocally, that the so-called Palestinians are not a separate group or people, distinct from the Arab people as a whole.
          The only people whose ancestral land this is is the Jewish people with over 3,000 years of continuous residence within it.

        • You are absolutely right, Jacqueline. And, also, don’t forget that most of the Sephardic Jewish citizens of Israel trace their backgrounds to other middle eastern (i.e., Arab) countries from which they were expelled when Israel became a state. The “Palestinian Arabs” weren’t run off by the Jews in 1948, but we’re encouraged to leave by the Arabs.

          And, by the way, I was raised in Hawaii. That state was stolen from the original Hawaiian people by the United States in 1898, something only recently recognized. Ditto most areas of the mainland U.S. Those areas were taken from Native American tribes. But that has nothing to do with this particular conversation.

        • Lynn, I believe your intentions are good, but it’s disappointing that you started to go on about Israel in this case when this article had nothing to do with it. This article is about an anti Semitic incident at swarthmore and a student’s frustration at not receiving more support. Instead of offering your support and understanding for an incident that was unquestionably anti Semitic–a Swastika–you went off and started challenging Jews about their interpretation of criticism of Israel. There is a time and place to discuss that and I completely agree that settlements are out of bounds and that criticism of Israel is not criticism of Jews. I’m happy to discuss that with you another time. But this article is about how Jewish students don’t want to be dismissed when they’re pointing out legitimate cases of anti Semitism. Unfortunately I think your comment here was another part of that dismissal, despite your good intentions

        • Lynn, since the aspiration and potential borderlines for a Jewish State existed long before WWII, how can your logic about Germany be true?

          Shall the nations of the Middle East also restore the 1300 year old Pact of Umar and force indigenous Jews to to wear yellow stars again? Muslims have been throwing stones at Jews for over 1000 years – and is this a result of Israel’s settlements, too?

          How about the massacres of Jews in Fez in 1465? In Israel in 1517 and 1834? Perhaps, this is a result of the settlements?

          Why do Arabs hate Jews? In 1937, Saudi Arabia’s King Ibn Saud told British Colonel H.R.P. Dickson: “Our hatred for the Jews dates from God’s condemnation of them for their persecution and rejection of Isa (Jesus) and their subsequent rejection of His chosen Prophet.” He added “that for a Muslim to kill a Jew, or for him to be killed by a Jew ensures him an immediate entry into Heaven and into the august presence of God Almighty.” Decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues were enacted in Egypt and Syria (1014, 1293-4, 1301-2), Iraq (854­-859, 1344) and Yemen (1676). Despite the Koran’s prohibition, Jews were forced to convert to Islam or face death in Yemen (1165 and 1678), Morocco (1275, 1465 and 1790-92) and Baghdad (1333 and 1344)

          Perhaps Arabs were able to predict Israeli settlements 1000 years into the future?

  4. An eloquent and strongly needed response to the rising tide of unabashed and increasingly institutionalized anti-Semitism on our campuses.

  5. Excellent, excellent essay.

    And Seth Green, would you say the say thing to a black person if someone put a burning cross on campus? Seriously.

    • What about a Confederate flag? I think that might be a closer equivalence – and you can see those on college campuses across the country.

  6. What is the most shocking to me is your opinion of conservatives. It’s conservatives that support Jews and Israel at all costs. I am a reformed Democrat, raised Catholic gal working in the film industry and I’m appalled at liberal Jews who, to me, sell out to liberalism. It was one of the main reasons I became a Republican. The holocaust deeply affected my view of the world. My father, raised in utter poverty in Paris, France, recalls the day his two best friends were required to sew stars on their coats…and then the day they didn’t come back. My father is a strong man, and recalling this is the only time I’ve ever seen him cry. He was 10 and couldn’t have done anything, yet he bears intense guilt for not doing anything. I have personally made it my mission to never let it happen again…yet I don’t seem the same determination from liberal Jews. Their behavior seems like the German Jews who thought they could duck and cover and just outlast the little indignations that came at first. Then it got worse and worse and then they couldn’t get out. And I feel it is happening again…bit by bit the little indignations are happening again…and they’re being justified by liberal media making their misguided case for Palestine.

    My husband and graduated from UCLA but made a decision to NOT send our only son to UCLA because of their divestment of Israel and persecution of Milan Chatterjee. I think you need to take a closer look at conservatives and not listen to the liberal media’s charges about racism. I simply don’t understand why this little conservative shiksa cares more for Jews than they do themselves because remaining a liberal is most definitely against your interests.

    • Yes there are liberals who are blind to anti-semitism or allow themselves the cover of being anti-Israel. Let not forget that there are dangers on the right as well. The alt-right, white supremicist, David Duke, neo-Nazis are all lined up on the right . Anti Semitism is a disease that is beyond politics.

      • your reaching, the so called alt right is not putting anti semites on gop committees nor voting against Israel on issues like Iran. They are the congressional support, even Jewish democrats have been voting with obama against the best interests of Israel. Your analogy is preposterous, you should be focused on the alt left like obama hillary and sanders; who now are the leaders of the democratic party.

      • The importance of this article is the rise of bigotry against Jews on the Left. We know the KKK and the Farrakhans for what they are, and for the most part they don’t deny it.

        The author correctly is calling out the people on the Left who are committed to fight against bigotry — except for that against Jews. It is particularly hypocritical and particularly heinous in that it is both vehemently denied and argued that it is somehow appropriate.

        It is particularly dangerous as it is being accepted and spread by those who are otherwise our “friends” — by those who are our colleagues in our political positions … Etc.

    • I won’t comment on this thread except to respond to this, because I would never want my critique of some on the left to imply I agree with those who claim the Republican Party is a better home for the Jews:

      I assure you I am not liberal despite my Judaism, I am liberal because of my Judaism. I have sold out nothing. I can and have critiqued those on my own side, but I will never join a party steeped in the same sort of bigotry that has plagued my people throughout history. I will definitely not switch to a party that wants to stop the inflow of refugees just 70 years after my own family was denied entrance to this country as refugees and forced to wait decades more before entering, resulting in the death of my great-uncle along the way. You acknowledge you aren’t Jewish and still presume to know what is best for the Jews. You fail to consider that it means to be Jewish and to hold an identity synonymous with a history of persecution. That is why the vast majority of Jews embrace progressivism.

      • It makes no difference to me that you are Jewish, you are human and I would fight for your rights not be persecuted if you were a Chinese half breed Jew with a homosexual father. The intolerance the world unleashes on itself in the name of someone else’s superiority is the biggest scar on mankind that will never allow humanity to ascend to the heaven you hope is there. You and I are nothing more than monkeys with an over evolved sense of superiority, don’t ever be ashamed of calling yourself a Jew a Muslim a Christian when people like me will defend your rights as a human being first.

      • Thank you for this.

        And forgive me for bringing the word “Zionism” into this, hoping not to derail the importance of this discussion, but this holds true for me as well, with the addendum: I am not Zionist despite my liberalism; I am Zionist because of my liberalism.

      • First, nice piece, I really enjoyed it, well said.
        And let me preface this by saying I’m left leaning, though can’t really identify with the left these days largely for the reasons you enumerated, but even more so because of what your post above highlights so perfectly about the left.
        I have to say, your post really bookends your piece nicely in that you’ve highlighted why the left can’t deal with its own anti-semitism. Did you even notice that you just dismissed an entire half of this country as xenophobic bigots? You realize some people are conservative because they have thought deeply about the same issues you have and just disagree with you for reasons that have nothing to do with bigotry or callousness? It’s almost like, I donno, saying all democrats are nazis because a BDSer in a Bernie t-shirt thought it was brave to draw a swastika in your library.
        But that’s not even why I really responded. It’s your whopper about holding the Republican Party responsible for the death of your great uncle in the holocaust. I’m sure you’re aware, but just in case, it was the democrats who wouldn’t let our great grandparents, or my grandparents, in, not the republicans. It was FDR who literally sent boatloads, well at least one boatload that I recall (look up the St. Louis), of Jews back to the camps rather than let them enter the US. And yes, I know, different times, it’s more complicated than I’m making it out to be, and now most democrats are in favor of more immigration, but that’s exactly the point! True blue lefty union activists fought immigration tooth and nail within the Democratic Party until relatively recently. Democrats in coal districts support coal… Shocker. We don’t have a monopoly on compassion or logic. have a little humility my man. We all have our blindspots.

        • Yours is the best comment I have encountered in similar discussions. I feel like a diaspora Jew ‘tho born and bred in the US because I have been a Zionist all my very long life…..along with being a left-leaning progressive, and I have no “home”
          in any political party. Thanks for your insight!

        • I suggest reading Wikipedia about Varian Fry and his colleagues or watching the HBO movie “The Secret War of Varian Fry.” Among other things (sales of scrap metal, munitions, etc. by US businesses to Nazi Germany…the companies of Prescott Bush and Rockefeller and their families among others) were supported by Cordell Hull, US Secretary of State and his boss FDR until Eleanor Roosevelt (who clandestinely helped many Jews escape Vichy France) put her foot down in 1943 and helped turn FDR around. (They also sold to the Japanese; my uncle was wounded in Okinawa and the removed shrapnel said “Made in the USA.”) Greed trumps morality (pun intended) most of the time. With regard to Israel, who certainly has done things wrong at times, all it would take is the Saudis and associated countries fully recognizing Israel and vice versa at the same time, and making Jerusalem a truly international city, the Capitol of Israel and the Palestinian State, with open travel. (I do like to fantasize.)

      • William: The survival of The Jews over the past 2,000 years is rather miraculous and it probably would not have happened without the existence of Christians like Giselle. I find your ungracious response to her embarrassing for you.

        And by the way, as you do not seem to know much history:

        Republicans were the party of equality way back when the Democrats embraced the KKK.

        Refugees are a complex topic. Simply taking them in is not a solution and never was. The west was faulty for tolerating what Hitler was saying in the first place. Today’s Muslim refugees are in an entirely different situation from that of 1930s Jews and sending them to western countries is not the optimal way to help them..

      • We Jews did not cause the persecution heaped on us throughout history, nor did our escape to other countries allow us the freedom to abuse the countries that gave us refuge. Not so when you look at the Muslim mass migration to Europe, not to mention the previous influx of Muslims to Europe in the past few decades. Although it is not every individual, you have to look at the group dynamic, and the attitude and behavior of the refugees in Europe should be a warning to America. A nation of immigrants, as we like to characterize ourselves, is also a nation of citizens whose rights supersede. The comparison to the holocaust is misplaced here.

    • I appreciate your comment. However, I don’t agree that all liberals are anti-Jewish or anti-Israel. Take the example of my New York elected officials. Governor Cuomo, Congressman Nadler, Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and Mayor de Blasio are all strong supporters of Israel and not at all anti-Semitic.

      • I suppose “a strong supporter of Israel” means different things to different people. Congressman Nadler (and by the way I am Jewish and live in his district) and Senator Gillibrand supported what majority of Jews and American people consider a disastrous Iran Deal. Schumer voted against it after much pressure from the Jewish community but refused to press his colleagues, which would have been standard politics on any other issue. Yes, Duke and other unsavory characters are on the extreme right, but it is disingenuous not to mention BLM, Cornel West, Jeremiah Wright and all other BDS supporters in liberal academia and progressive groups who buy into “intersectionality” on the left.

    • You are obviously indifferent to history. But that doesn’t distinguish you from my fellow Jews who, like you, believe that Republican administrations have treated Israel better than Democratic administrations have.

      But the truth is just the opposite.

      George W. Bush pressured Israel to permit Hamas into the 2005 Palestinian elections, an utter disaster.

      His father forced Israel to stop settlements or face a cutoff of military aid. Then there was his Secretary of State James Baker, who once said “Fuck the Jews. They didn’t vote for us.”

      But the worst was Reagan. When Israel destroyed Iran’s nuclear facility in Osirik in 1981, his administration voted in the UN Security Council to condemn Israel. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, he then broke off the SCA (Strategic Cooperation Agreement with Israel and canceled Israel’s purchase of desperately needed F-16’s. He also went to Bitburg Germany and placed a wreath on the graves of Waffen SS soldiers.

      Even Eisenhower forced Israel to retreat in the Sinai during its 1956 war with Egypt.

      The one bizarre exception was Nixon, an irredeemable Jew hater who came to Israel’s aid at a desperate time during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

      Criticism of Democratic administrations, real and imagined, pale in comparison to the way Republican administrations regularly treated Israel like a baby treats a diaper.

      So you can become subservient to the Republican noise machine and buy into the bullshit. Or you can do some research on the authentic history of U.S.-Israel relations as it pertains to presidential administrations.

      Finally, would you care to guess which is the only administration that has never voted against Israel in the United Nations?

      HINT: Think black guy with the Muslim sounding name…

      As an Israeli who loves truth as much as I love the Jewish Homeland, I haven’t the luxury of drinking the rhetorical Kool-Aid.

      That’s why if my vote in an American election was based solely on the security of Israel, I would NEVER vote Republican.

    • Giselle, I agree with you. I find it disconcerting that the majority of American Jews (including those who seem to care about Israel) vote democrat. Obviously there are many other issues involved with the election.
      Even with that being said, the fact that most Jews vote democrat continues to baffle me. just downloaded the book “why are Jews liberals”, which a friend recommended bc it talks about the outdated reasons for why Jews continue to vote for a party that is not In our best interests (I am speaking as a Jewish American who thinks it is so important to support Israel).

    • Thank You Giselle for your wonderful comment above. I am Jewish & I lean conservative politically wise. I graduated from B’klyn College, & basically never gave religion too much thought, mingled with all religions & races, & valued people on who they were not what they were. In my latter yrs. I have mingled with the most wonderful, super bright, caring, loving Christians who have such respect, knowledge & understanding about Israel that it is most heartwarming. And also, to my surprise, I have met more liberal Jews than ever, & can’t believe their apathy and/or their inability to open their eyes to reality instead of their tunnel vision ingrained in their minds, possibly by the slanted liberal media. You are so right on that little by little the indignations are happening again, and numerous college campuses are already seeing it on their campuses as the school year has just begun. And I love your final sentence about the ‘little conservative shiksa caring more for Jews that the liberal Jews” , because you are so right on that it is definitely against their own interests. Thank You, for your comment, & just want you to know how much you are appreciated.

    • I don’t understand Jews aligning with the left for one reason only: abortion. Talk about a Holocaust. On all the human race, to be sure. However, don’t believe for one minute those who want Jews eliminated wouldn’t use this to achieve that goal.

    • I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head here Giselle. More power to your for speaking your mind. I find it appalling that liberal Jews think Donald Trump it anti-Semitic. His own daughter is a convert to Judaism. (Modern Orthodox though it may be).

      Taken from the Tablet – “Trump’s Jews”
      “On the other hand, Trump has an intimate familiarity with Jewish practice and Jewish life. His daughter, Ivanka, converted to Orthodox Judaism in 2009; if elected, Trump would be the first president to be the parent and grand-parent of observant Jews. Ivanka’s husband, real-estate magnate Jared Kushner, is an Orthodox Jew and one of Trump’s top advisers. The Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer and general counsel are both observant Jews, and Trump has the support of perhaps the single most important political donor in the American Jewish world—Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Though he is a deeply repellent political figure to many American Jews, Trump can plausibly claim that Jews and Judaism are closer to the center of his life and work than they are for his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

      Sad that our own people don’t have a clue who’s really out there on our side.

    • “one day they didn’t come back”…. I am from a family whose Great Grandparents had 11 children. My grandad and his brother for some reason emigrated to the America. That is the only reason I exist today. They were a close-knit family, kept communicating until one day….. they disappeared and were never heard from again.

    • Dont worry. American concervatives and evangelicals support israel and jews and we have a LOT of guns. We wont let it happen again. #NotHere

  7. There is increasingly little safety for Jews on American college campuses, especially Jews who express being pro-Israel. Yeshiva university, Tufts, University of Maryland remain safely-Jewish, safely pro-Israel. And the thinly-veiled criticism of Israel and BDSers have morphed into the most unequivocal mouthpieces for frank anti-Semitism.

    • For anyone who is considering attending Swarthmore and is pro-Israel, and looking for a Hillel experience, please realize that several years ago, Swarthmore students voted to disassociate from Hillel on the issue topic of Israel. So it is now called Kehilah, and issued the following statement:
      “In December 2013, the Hillel of Swarthmore College declared itself an Open Hillel, saying it would not abide by Hillel International’s rules prohibiting partnering with or hosting groups or speakers who deny Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish or democratic state; delegitimize, demonize or apply a double standard to Israel; or support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.”
      “The name change announced on Sunday follows the decision by the campus Jewish organization to drop its affiliation with Hillel International”

  8. I don’t know about Strathmore, but I have not noticed any anti-Semitism from people who are truly on the left. It simply is against everything the left stands for, therefore, I do not understand why you made you article appear to only be bashing those on the left, when it should be obvious that most of the visceral anti-Semitism comes completely from the right. I agree that the anti-Semitism propaganda and movement has risen, but it has risen from those who feel justified because of the hate being spewed as free speech coming exclusively from the right side, those who have joined the Adolph Trump movement. Perhaps you should rethink you accusations.

    • Hi Bob Daniels,

      How about instead of being sure, as an outsider looking in on Jewish liberals, that there is no anti-Semitism from true lefties, you defer to the voices of those who are telling you that it just is not so.

      You are right, Jews and the right have had an interesting relationship in the last few decades. Some of it supportive, some of it not. Some of it for reasons that respect Jews as individuals and as a religion, and some of it for other motives. That is a much larger discussion than I think you want to be having here.

      But that you are right, at least in part, means rather little, as it does not detract from the stark reality that anti-Semitism is rampant among the left. And just as you would not ask someone who is black to point to instances of racism to prove it is there, or just as you would not ask a woman to point to instances of sexism to prove it is there, so to should Jews on the left telling you it’s a problem be enough for you to acknowledge that it is so.

      I’m not really sure how much more clear Will could have been in his piece, it is a problem. And to me it appears that he wrote to the left specifically because of the reality that the left does not want to admit that it has this problem. It goes without saying that active, rabid anti-Semitics are anti-Semitic and need to be addressed. There would have been little point in Will writing that piece, all it would have done is give everyone the satisfaction of being able to nod in solidarity. Perhaps what you’re asking for is the ability to feel good about opposing something that is bad. I’m not sure.

      But that would be asking a lot. It does not address any of the very real issues that go to the at minimum tacit toleration that anti-Semitism receives in other forums where perhaps it ought be more acknowledged. And in an overwhelmingly liberal campus, both in terms of individuals and overall feel and makeup, it seems perfectly appropriate to me that a piece be written to meet people where they are at, and really delve into what is just beneath the surface.

      Clearly Will’s words were insufficient to make this point to you, so let me echo it: in my time at Swat, there was plenty of anti-Semitism. Not of the overt neo-Nazi brand, but of the more dangerous, subtle, tacit variety. And whereas with issues of sexism, racism, ableism, xenophobia, LGBT+ issues, and other forms of persecution it is expected that allies support the speech of target group members and speak out themselves, no such support was afforded when it came to anti-Semitism because the transgressions came not from one place, but from all sides. Anti-Semitism on the left is real, and you should believe it because I’m telling you it is. Feel free to disbelieve, but you’re only doing exactly what Will’s piece describes.

      • I agree that left-leaning people, which describes the majority of Swatties, need to be reminded of our own biases more often than we are. Many lefties/liberals/progressives have a self-righteous, morally superior attitude towards our beliefs and opinions, assuming that because we believe in equal rights then any other beliefs we have must be consistent with that belief. But people are self-contradictory, irrational beings, and political views don’t change that fundamental aspect of our humanity. So antisemitism, racism, classicism, sexism – all these are present in us who sincerely oppose those with our thinking brain but don’t always apply that same thinking brain to the unthinking parts of ourselves.

    • I have experienced anti -semitism from progressive anti-racist communities. It would seem to be counter to everything they stand for which makes it very confusing, especially when that is the community I otherwise align myself with.

  9. To criticize the “Jewish State” – you mean Israel which has citizens of all faiths – you think that makes me anti-Semitic? That’s a huge stretch. How can you prove that is true? How would you know?

    • Author doesn’t say not to criticize it or even that criticizing it would be anti-semitic. Author merely suggests to consider the words one chooses (and to be cognizant of anti-semitism) when speaking on topics related to Jewish spaces. Author gives only a caveat to be always vigilant against anti-semitism, as far as I can tell; to “consider whether” one’s words might be anti-semitic…not that they are.

      “Recognize that when you are talking about issues relating to Jews, Jewish identity, and yes, even the Jewish State, it is important to think carefully and consider whether your words are anti-Semitic.”

      Often we may see articles where the author conflates criticism of the Israeli state with anti-semitism, and so it may be a knee-jerk reaction to assume this author did so. But they did not. And author’s point is a fair one to consider, I’d say. Much of the criticism is not anti-semitic. Much of it is. So it’s fair for them to ask you/whoever who is non-Jewish, especially, in speaking on Jewish topics, to think about it.

      • It’s not difficult to distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism. 1) does the criticism demonize Israeli actions in a way unsupported by facts, claiming desire to harm civilians needlessly, or claiming that it commits ethnic cleansing or genocide, or is part of a conspiracy against the Arab or Muslim world? 2) does it delegitimize the existence of Israel, claiming that the Jewish people have no rights to a nation in a portion of our historic homeland? 3) does it apply a double standard of behavior, holding Israel to a standard of conduct in its actions that is not applied to other countries in the region, or even to other democratic countries? The more a criticism meets these criteria the more we can legitimately call it anti-Semitic.

    • There are legitimate criticisms of Israel. I generally support Israel but I don’t agree with everything they do. That said there are a LOT of people who oppose Israel and talk about it being “anti zionism” instead of “anti semitism” that are really just hating the Jews. I’m not saying you do this (how could I I don’t know you) but there’s no question its a problem in general.

    • There are different ways to “criticize.” Yes, some ways — ways that distort complex reality for scoring political points, that are disproportionate, that demonize or delegitimize Israel — are indeed anti-Semitic.

  10. I visited a Jewish cemetery in Germany, 1986. No security, I walked right in. Not one sign of desecration! I met a conservative Jewish man tending the graves. He told me they never have a problem with desecration or attempts to do so. The German people have learned the lesson. When will we?

    • Germans have shame, Americans don’t. That’s why people proudly fly their white supremacist (i.e. Confederate) flags openly in daylight from their trucks.

      • Germans also have laws that forbid displays of Nazi symbols. That’s undoubtedly a more direct reason than shame. I don’t think that would fly under the First Amendment here.

        1986 was also 30 years ago, when Berlin was still divided, the Cold War was still a focus, and institution of the Euro was still more than a decade away.

        Antisemitism and extreme nationalism have made a resurgence in this decade, not that one, and it’s arguably a backlash to the pluralism of the last several decades. Anecdotes from the state of society 30 years ago don’t seem entirely relevant to a discussion about the state of society in 2016.

    • There is a lot of antisemitism in Europe, including Germany.
      “Antisemitism has increased significantly in Europe since 2000, with significant increases in verbal attacks against Jews and vandalism such as graffiti, fire bombings of Jewish schools, desecration of synagogues and cemeteries. Those incidents took place not only in France and Germany, where antisemitic incidents are the highest in Europe but also in countries like Belgium, Austria, and the United Kingdom. In those countries, physical assaults against Jews including beatings, stabbings and other violence, increased markedly, in a number of cases resulting in serious injury and even death.[33][34] Moreover, the Netherlands and Sweden have also had consistently high rates of antisemitic attacks since 2000.[35] A 2015 report by the US State Department on religious freedom declared that “European anti-Israel sentiment crossed the line into anti-Semitism.”[36] (wikipedia)

      • Guess what increased in Europe over the same period!
        I live in the UK. When I was an elected local councillor I received notes attached to bricks through my window from the BNP (ultra right). In later years, walking home on a summers’ evening, groups of white Polish refugees(!) would mutter in Polish about what they wanted to do to the ‘Yidden’ walking past whose Star of David they could see…not realising that the said Yidden could understand them through her knowledge of Yiddush. Now the insults/verbal attacks come from Muslims and the left-wing groups that support them, including the Labour Party . It’s not called the longest hatred for nothing.

    • You are talking about West Germany. Two years ago I was in East Germany. The land of Martin Luther . I felt that anti Semitism was alive and well there .

      I do agree that in the western part of Germany they have done everything to educate the community of the horrors of the holocaust.

  11. “That it is not one (enemy) alone that stood up against us to destroy us. But that in each generation there are those standing up against us to destroy us. But the Holy One Blessed Be He saves us from their hand.”

  12. When my kids were applying to college, I was impressed at how Swathmore seemed a cut above the rest in terms of integrity and brotherhood. What a tremendous shame. I wait to see how you will deal with this ugliness in your midst.

  13. It is unfortunate that for many, the solution to ‘Never Again’ is tolerance, tolerance for multiculturalism, tolerance for political correctness, tolerance for safe zones. It has become second nature in some communities to disregard civil laws and ordinances. How does this relate to our topic? It is these small and common infractions and the rationalization allowing their nonconformity that triggers the acceptance to the nonsense and support of such organizations as BDS. Time to make a stink.

  14. William, thank you for this essay. My heart has been broken over the increasing anti-Semitism on Swarthmore’s campus, normalized by BDS and other causes. Swarthmore is a wonderful school in so many ways and contributed greatly to my personal growth and development. It has been hurtful to feel increasingly alienated by incidents like these. I too consider myself a Jewish liberal, and I do not see a contradiction in those terms. It gives me comfort to know that you are on campus speaking out against this trend.

    If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?

  15. “themself” is not a word. This was a wonderful essay, but that sentence was like scratching the chalk across the blackboard. There is nothing wrong with using “himself.” Isn’t this much better: “Do not be the person who only brings himself to recognize that racism is real when he sees a burning cross in his black neighbors’ yard.”

    • Not seeing the wood for the trees comes to mind.It’s like saying that a dreadfyl event was overlooked because”he was wearing a tie”….

    • Definitely not better when using male pronouns to refer to “all people” misgenders more than half your audience!

      For a perspective on how the singular they has been used throughout history without issue (including by Geoffrey Chaucer, Lewis Carroll, Walt Whitman, George Eliot, Shakespeare, C. S. Lewis, William Thackeray, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, and many others) see: https://motivatedgrammar.wordpress.com/2009/09/10/singular-they-and-the-many-reasons-why-its-correct/

    • I am guessing that “themself” is a way of including people of all genders – male, female and trans. If it is an understandable form of communication (especially one that helps all people feel more included and less marginalized), it can become a word in English. We have a wonderfully malleable language. 🙂

    • Of course it’s a word. Will, an English speaker, used it in a sentence, as have many English speakers before him, and its meaning was clear to almost everyone who read it. If that doesn’t qualify something as a word, what does?

  16. Every Jewish parent should not send their children to any university that turns a blind eye to the antiSemiticbought on their campuses.BDS is simply another excuse fore antiSemitism,funded by Islsmic states,and supported by too many Jewish professors.Boycott the boycotters.

    • Exactly. NO ONE should attend these schools which, by choosing to be blind to prejudice, allow it to flourish. I am a professional college counselor, and I actively DISCOURAGE students from attending UCLA and other schools of its ilk.

  17. Jewish parents should stop sending their children to those universities that tolerate thisantisemitism on their campuses.Boycott them Discussion is useless.They are funded by Ilamic states,and Muslim Student Assiociations,who are spreadimg their poison.It is the academic jihad!

  18. All oppressed peoples must get it together and stop the child like name calling and behave and be productive, stop time wasting hatred based on imagined idea of those who fear the truth that they do not have anybody paying attention anymore

  19. Mr. Meyer, you make very good points, but haven’t expressed the one that seems glaringly obvious to me. Out of all the various groups and sects, castes, ethnicities that make up the loose coalition that is “the Left”, our Jewish brothers and sisters are virtually the only ones that come to mind who advocate, and even more critically to the uber Left, EFFECTIVELY, use violence to defend themselves in the embodiment of Israel. The horrors that the Israelis continue to experience, and the support given them by American citizens seem to stir up something primal and ugly among many who are nominally liberal. They commit so totally to the idea that violence is bad, that any who use it are thus tainted and unclean. Doing this, even makes any incipient anti-Semitism they may harbor more palatable. After all, they don’t dislike them because they’re Jewish, perish the thought, they dislike them because they are VIOLENT. Well, I am a life long liberal, and am pro-Israel and very much anti-Alt-Right. All we can do, is fight this disease wherever it rears its ugly head. Fight it tooth and nail if need be. My uncles and Father didn’t sacrifice blood and sweat to defeat Nazism to have my sons have to fight it here. Keep the faith.

  20. I’m not a liberal but I find a lot of food for thought in this. As a Libertarian, I might disagree in regards to How to deal with certain things but I believe strongly in equality as pertains to human dignity. The fact that that bigotry and persecution even still exist in this country is a sign that there is important work yet undone before we live up to the potential our country’s founding principles provide.

  21. I am a Jewish father of a high school senior who is considering applying to Swarthmore. Like many Jewish parents, I am concerned by what appears to be a rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric and acts on college campuses, but I am heartened and impressed by William’s essay. It speaks well for your school, even as the campus left’s blindness to anti-Semitism that William describes speaks poorly.

    My own observation is that today we hear voices on the far right, louder and more self-assured than in any time in my long life, that hold that Jews are not white, and voices on the far left that hold that Jews are super-white, possessed not only of white privilege but a special Jewish privilege. Both voices are anti-Semitic. Jews of my generation expect the first — right wing anti-Semitism helped make many of us liberal, after all — and know how to respond to it, but struggle to respond as well to the second. I am glad to see that young Jews like William and some of the commenters here are not hesitating to name this bigotry, and to insist on the validity of their own experiences of oppression, even as other commenters deny the possibility that the left can be guilty of this particular sin, or perhaps of any sin at all.

  22. Many liberals, Jews and gentiles alike, are profoundly disturbed by the behavior of the state of Israel. We disapprove of the Israeli government’s policies, in much the same way that we might criticize the human rights record of China or the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia.

    No one seriously claims that criticism of Saudi Arabia’s government equates with bigotry towards Muslims, or criticism of Chinese human rights equates with anti-Asian bigotry. Yet somehow the state of Israel cannot be criticized, no matter how horribly it behaves, without howls of antisemitism from some quarters of the Jewish community.

    When your liberal, gentile friends don’t respond quite as aggressively as you’d like when antisemitism like this rears its ugly head, realize that the willingness of many Jews to conflate the state of Israel with Judaism probably has something to do with their tepid response.

    The harsh reality most of us are far too polite to tell you in person is this: A horrible history of being oppressed does not justify oppression. Today, Israel is more than just a symbol. It is now a modern state with a huge, powerful army and nuclear weapons. We are going to judge Israel, as a state, on how it behaves now, and we aren’t going to give it a moral pass in compensation for the past immorality of the Holocaust. The sins of the past do not forgive the sins of the present.

    Does that mean I am somehow arguing that the excesses of Bibi Netanyahu justify antisemitism? Of course not. Antisemitism remains as ignorant and wrong as it always has. And it IS getting worse, as the white, Christian hegemony is dissolving and a more multicultural country is slowly emerging. But in a world where intolerance of all kinds is seemingly on the march, antisemitism may not get as much attention as it deserves, simply because a lot of liberals are deeply offended by the policies of the Israeli government. Much easier to get exercised over the anti-Hispanic bigotry of Trump, or the murder of poor black people, than to expend a lot of bandwidth on behalf of a bunch of people who actually DID build a wall. I am not saying that sentiment is fair, or right, but I suspect it has a lot more to do with this than many Jews realize. We liberals certainly don’t hate you for being Jewish, many of us are secular and it is basically impossible to be both truly progressive and religiously intolerant in any event. We do hate that too many of you turn a blind eye to what Israel does. We think your unwavering support is largely what allows Israel to behave the way it does, and that inevitably tempers our sympathy, at least at the margins.

    • I see a lot of comments like this from non Jews whenever Jews bring up anti-Semitism. Unfortunately I think you have missed that your comment is actually part of the problem that this article is responding to. As you’ll notice, this article took no position on Israel (save a small reference to the Jewish State) and didn’t talk at all about anti-Zionism or BDS. The writer of the article was asking you to empathize with Jews’ fear and the history of our oppression, in an incident unrelated to Israel, and you responded that it’s hard to do that because we are all people who “actually built a wall.” Personally, as a non Zionist Jew who’s lived in the US my entire life and advocates against the occupation and against blind support for Israel, I did not “build a wall” and I resent the implication that all Jews are monolithic and that anti Semitism, even when completely unrelated to Israel, should be ignored because of Israel. I do agree that because some Jews and other non jewish right wingers conflate all anti Zionism with anti Semitism, it has the effect of “crying wolf” and making it harder for actual anti Semitism to be taken seriously. I assure you I’m very frustrated by that. However, there’s a flip side to that, too. When comments like yours completely detail from the issue at hand and start attacking all Jews on the basis of Israel, it gives people an example of people criticizing Israel who are anti Semitic. So, I agree, anti Zionism is not anti Semitism. But you’re not helping my non/anti-Zionist cause when you’re anti Semitic in the course of your anti Zionism, and right now your comment strikes me as contributing to anti semitism. Please take that into consideration.

    • “Much easier to get exercised over the anti-Hispanic bigotry of Trump, or the murder of poor black people, than to expend a lot of bandwidth on behalf of a bunch of people who actually DID build a wall.”

      Jim, I’m an American Jew who’s lived here my whole life. This is my home and I have no desire to live in Israel. I can’t vote in Israeli elections and haven’t served in their government. I didn’t “build a wall.” My family didn’t build a wall. You say, “the willingness of many Jews to conflate the state of Israel with Judaism probably has something to do with their tepid response.” But do you not see that you yourself are conflating the state of Israel with Judaism right now? Do you not see that you are contributing to this very problem? It’s especially creepy when you keep using “we” and “you,” with the the “you” ostensibly addressed to the author of this article. Did you notice that the author of this article didn’t say anything about his politics or thoughts on Israel? So why are you directing this at him personally?

      You say, “we think your unwavering support is largely what allows Israel to behave the way it does.” In addition to once again offensively grouping a large diverse community into one “you,” you’re also incorrect and oversimplifying here, Jim. Yes, many Jewish groups and families do support Israel and visit and feel connected to it. Yes, there are many mainstream Jewish organizations who lobby for Israel. But, if you look at polls, you’ll see that Israel is actually a low priority for many Jews when it comes to voting in the U.S., and they are much more invested in other domestic issues before letting Israel affect their vote. (Note that Jews in the U.S. overwhelmingly vote for the Democratic Party, despite the fact that in recent years the Democratic Party has been comparatively more critical of Israel than the Republicans). Evangelical Christians are actually oftentimes much more supportive of Israel than Jews are, and Christian Zionists make up a big part of the pro-Israel lobby. Why aren’t you asking them about their unwavering support? Furthermore, the U.S. government has its own strategic and political reasons for supporting Israel. I don’t agree with them and you probably don’t either, but let’s not pretend that the U.S. government is a poor little puppet being pulled at the strings by the mighty minority Jews (a common anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that you’ve fed into with your comment). The U.S. is powerful and it wouldn’t be making the foreign policy choices it does if it didn’t think their was some benefit for America.

      I hope you recognize that there’s a large portion of Jews who are either non-Zionist or who are actively very critical of many of Israel’s policies. (I can point you to some of these groups, though if you don’t know about them I think you might not know as much about Jews as you thought you did.) Yes, it really frustrates me, too, that many in my community are blindly supportive of Israel. Though this doesn’t justify any of Israel’s actions, when thinking about this I do try to remember and understand the effect of intergenerational trauma following the Holocaust and years of oppression before that, and why many Jews believe they need a state in order to truly be safe (I personally don’t think nationalism is the solution, but I can understand why so many people saw it as a solution). Furthermore, many of us grew up as minorities in the US who were told and taught that Israel could be a home for us and that it was a wonderful welcoming place. Earlier in the century, American Jews saw Israel as the place that rescued their families or friends from the Holocaust, or gave them a home after they survived the Holocaust (because, for many, it did). When this is what you know and are taught, it becomes harder to look at Israel with a critical eye, and harder to believe that it could possibly be engaging in some of the actions it does. It’s the same thing as when we grow up believing in the U.S. national myth about “liberty and justice for all” and it’s very hard to come to terms with the fact that the U.S. has been responsible for so much violence and injustice domestically and around the world.

      Finally, Jim, unfortunately, anti-Semitism only adds to the problem that you’ve described. When anti-Semitic things happen, Jews feel alienated and scared, and many start to cling to Israel as a representation of Jewish safety (and obviously, many others like me disagree with that response). Unfortunately, I find a great deal of anti-Semitism in your comment. So, if you care about ending unwavering support for Israel among the institutional American Jewish community, a good place to start would be to stop making anti-Semitic comments and stop pigeonholing all Jews into one monolithic entity. I took the time to respond to your comment because I have hope you might be able to hear me, and that you might see how this is anti-Semitic and reflect and change. I hope you prove me right.

  23. Great article. Unfotunately, many faculty, who should be the adults in the room, are pro-BDS and fan the flames of anti-Semitism. And the administrations of our institutions of higher education, and their trustees, are complicit through their spineless failure to stand up against anti-Semitism on campuses across the country. Either that, or they too support anti-Semitism. There really isn’t a nuanced middle ground, despite their protestations to the contrary.

  24. Shalom, I got to this article from Facebook and wanted to offer solidarity and condolences. However, as I read into the comments thread, I believe it necessary to point a few things out.
    While many of the comments here are seeking to vilify trump and his connection to the alt right, touting your own liberal values, does anyone recall the fact that the American president, engaged in illegal negotiations to make a bad treaty with Iran? This treaty is essentially a blank check to Iran in order that they can build nuclear weapons to erase Israel from the map. I know that in the short term trump and his minions seem like stunt doubles from “American History X”, but David Dukes ensuring dream of a Jew free America will seem like a joke when a Persian nuclear bomb with the words “Made possible by a generous grant from Barack Obama” is pointed at tel Aviv.
    And as far as smaller scale and closer to home leftist anti semitism is concerned, have y’all heard of #blm or #bds? Both movements have embraced the fallacy that Israel is a colonialist aggressor, intentionally and viciously hunting and oppressing Arabs. These movements are built on lies of the most egregious kind, are openly anti semetic and are non negotiable ideals of the mainstream American left.
    I am not a trump supporter and am not trying to get him off the hook for his quite nods to racists and bigots, I am trying to point out that small time Jew hatred has been embraced on both sides of the aisle, but that giving Iran nuclear capabilities has been the initiative of one man alone who proudly wears a D on his name tag.
    I moved to Israel from America in 2004, and this election cycle makes me gladder than ever that I did so. The Jews are the smallest and weakest members of any society, (no matter how much #blm would like to proclaim their status as world’s greatest victim) and when Jews become targets of hatred and violence, it is a sign that the society which persecutes them is becoming one that is dangerous for all peoples. Keep in mind that Jews were wealthy, powerful and assimilated in Greece, Spain, Russia, Poland and Germany (and others) before each of these countries in their own time and manner chose to single out the Jews and deport, destroy, dehumane us.
    I am hurt but not surprised at the anti semitism I read about plaguing American colleges. You might have convinced yourselves that you are Americans first and Jews or israelis second or third or fourth. But, just like in Germany or Spain, your neighbors will remind you just who you really are.

  25. Thank you for your article and for opening up a dialogue on the subjects of intolerance and prejudice. Just as Muslims are judged by ISIS and behaviors in Saudi Arabia, Jews are judged by what’s going on in Israel/Palestine. But Muslims renounce these groups that have so tainted perceptions of their beliefs, while Jews will not bring up or worse defend the Holocaust going on in the Israel/Palestine right now. I was sad that your article didn’t even address it. And though you use the terms anti-sematic or anti-Semitism over 60 times and your article, it is not anti-sematic to oppose the slaughter of innocent people in the holy land. Nothing will change until ALL the cards are on the table.

  26. Anti-Semitism is real and most of it comes from either right wing bigots or from radicalized Muslims, at least here in Europe. It seems to me that in the American discourse, being opposed to the policies of Israel is commonly conflated as being anti-Semitic “send them all to the gas chambers” kind of bigot who is opposed to Judaism and Jews in general.

    This is especially apparent whenever talking to rabidly pro-Israel conservatives who never found anything Israel did that they couldn’t support, no matter how vile. When the pro-Israel factions poison the well like this, you are sooner or later going to get a backlash of the kind where those they unfairly target and malign will simply begin to respond by dismissing even legitimate complaints of anti-Semitism.

    Like it or not, Israel claims, very loudly, to speak for all Jews everywhere in the world. This colors the views toward Jews, everywhere in the world. Even of those who do not buy into the ridiculous conspiracies. And until you clean up your public discourse about these issues and stop conflating criticism of Israel with support for the Holocaust, things will not change and liberal and moderate Jews will suffer the consequences.

  27. As a Swarthmore graduate, a Jew, and an American who proudly supports the values that once were understood and practiced in our country, I am profoundly sad. I am sad not just at the swastikas, but at the twisting of truth and evidence that has occurred even on campuses claiming to honor these virtues. Today I and my husband, 4 sons and 11 grandchildren live in Israel. Surrounded as we are by those who pervert human rights, the rule of law and the sanctity of life even for their own people, we preserve an imperfect but striving society built on just those values. During the years when Swarthmore students are on their exquisite campus to learn from the best of teachers, our grandchildren dedicate that time to protecting us from the terror that is too frequently unleashed across and within our borders. And yet with all this, we search for the way toward peace, ever hopeful that one day our neighbors will choose life rather than death and see the extraordinary benefits for their people that can come from working with one of the most creative nations in the world.
    Is this the Israel that is known and spoken about at Swarthmore? Is this the Israel that often supports outbursts of anti-semitism when Israel is seen as the perpetrator of conflict rather than its target? Is there an open and respectful forum available for students to learn about the complex, multi-dimensional Israel?
    From the comments posted about this excellent essay, it seems that the connection of distortions about Israel to swastikas on the library walls, is largely unnoticed.

  28. The double standards Jews are subjected to needs to be discussed even more, especially in the LGBT community. In 2010 I needed police intervention after a series of gay and lesbian bloggers inflamed an enormous amount of anti-Semetic hate against me for a cheap laugh–at the time I was told that being gay justifies such actions. I’m still being told that I’m an “anti-gay bigot” for not supporting such behavior.
    I’m a gay man, BTW.

  29. It’s a sad day in America when we see this level of hatred toward any people group. I find the level of hatred growing toward the Jewish people alarming.

    I find it even sadder that you brought hate speech into your article. You see alt-right is a new term of hatred for Republicans. BTW you will find by and large Republicans support Israel and the Jewish people. We recognize the horror that took place in Germany. Sadder still that the liar heading up the slaughter of ten million people used religion to do it. He was not a Christian, he used that to scare the Germans into going along with his wicked scheme to destroy the Jewish people.

    I have a magnet on my refrigerator “Never Forget” I have educated the children in my family of the atrocities committed against the Jewish people. We have watched the videos and we have talked about what happened and why we must never let it happen again to any people group.

    You obviously haven’t listened much to Mr. Trump he refers often to Israel as our greatest ally. That’s the Republicans really feel about Israel. We support her and will always defend her right to her land and her freedom.

    We do not promote violence that’s the lie the Democrat party is propagating against us. Study our nations REAL history not what your liberal teachers are saying happened. You will find a very different history then the lies being shoved down your throat.

    I am sorry you woke up to hatred in America. I am willing to bet Republican students had nothing to do with it.

  30. @Seth Green Your denial of the obvious anti-semitic nature of the crime is exactly the point the author makes in his OP. You are the problem on the left, the holder of the double standard, the denier, the excuse maker. The swaztika will ALWAYS be the symbol of the Nazi. Only in your need to deny it do you create some thinly veiled alternate construct ‘allowing’ for its legitimate use. God forbid! This is anti-semitism in its worst most insideous form. This is what “NEVER FORGET” is all about; fighting the slow corruption, tolerance, and eventual acceptance of anti-semitism as the norm. Swathmore needs to enforce zero tolerance period! This should be pursued the same as if black effagees were found hanging from nooses. Where is the solidarity? That is the OP’s point, and sadly what I comment to reinforce to you.

  31. For American Jews to have to deny their ethnic roots in their ancient homeland – that is an anti-Semitic expectation.

    Israel was recognised as a State as late as 1948 but it did not begin then. Go back five hundred, a thousand, two thousand or three thousand years to see the continuous Jewish connection and history. In the mid-1800s, under the rule of the Turkish Empire, the Jews were rebuilding their neglected home-land. In 1860 the population of Jerusalem was made up of more Jews than all the other religions put together. The pioneers were buying the worthless, malaria infested land and making it vital again. The Arabs who wandered through led miserable lives (see Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad). No one claimed to be a Palestinian except the Jews!

    The double standard applied to Israel is disgusting. Last week alone 250 more people were murdered in Syria. The liberals were silent. Israel has rescued and treated thousands of Syrians while the liberals do nothing. (Israeli doctors routinely save Palestinian lives.)

    Making American Jews the target for blame for the so-called wrongs of Israel is anti-Semitic.

    Jews are not claiming that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. What we are stating as a fact is that total bias, misrepresentation and lies about the only democracy in the Middle East are all anti-Semitic actions. That blaming a country for defending its citizens from thousands of missile attacks is anti-Semitic. That suggesting that not enough Israelis died – because we have shelters in every building which protect from incessant attack – is anti-Semitic. That demonising and delegitimising an entire country and its people is anti-Semitic.

    That changing the context by never once mentioning the lynchings, the executions, the honour killings and mutilation of women, the persecution of homosexuals, the intimidation of Christians in Gaza by the so-called good guys, the Palestinians, is by default anti-Semitic. (It’s also, ironically anti-Palestinian because the regular people are intimidated and brain-washed by their own vicious and corrupt leaders – the very ones the “liberals” fawn upon!)

    American Jews should not have to be afraid to claim connection to the Jewish State; to talk of the incredible contributions that this one tiny country (the size of New Jersey) has made to the world. Their reticence is the result of anti-Semitism.

  32. @Seth Green Your denial of the obvious anti-semitic nature of the crime is exactly the point the author makes in his OP. You are the problem on the left, the holder of the double standard, the denier, the excuse maker. The swaztika will ALWAYS be the symbol of the Nazi. Only in your need to deny it do you create some thinly veiled alternate construct ‘allowing’ for its legitimate use. God forbid! This is anti-semitism in its worst most insideous form. This is what “NEVER FORGET” is all about; fighting the slow corruption, tolerance, and eventual acceptance of anti-semitism as the norm. Swarthmore needs to enforce zero tolerance period! This should be pursued the same as if black effagees were found hanging from nooses. Where is the solidarity? That is the OP’s point, and sadly what I comment to reinforce to you.

  33. Informative article but you misquoted the Ceo of the Trump campeign as calling “whiny Jews”. That actually came from his ex wife accusing him of saying during their divorce trial. Needless to say, that is not very reliable as people accuse spouses of many false things during that time.

  34. I’m not a member of, nor even know much about, the Swarthmore community, and congratulate you for a thoughtful editorial. A lot of this struck (including the replies in this mostly respectful, intelligent comments section) a nerve with me, as I fear the rising tides of anti-Semitism abroad, on campuses, and in many other places.
    As a “liberal” Jew (and wired as I personally am), I’ve always felt racism and other prejudice(s) even more strongly than anti-Semitism. Sincerely.

    My other quandary is that – in the last X number of years – there has been a widespread abandonment of Israel (I’m talking well beyond normal criticism of policies) and Jews in the name of so-called progressivism…a “progressivism” without any kind of clear-thinking, or fairness. It’s almost enough for me to consider leaving the Democratic party — almost, and in a year where I am not on board with “our” candidate. Of course, the alternative (Trump) represents virtually everything that I detest, so I stay, and hope.

    But yes, this issue is even greater than this Presidential election. It would be nice if all good people of all backgrounds and humanistic beliefs stand against the rising tide of all hatred, including anti-Semitism – however it is couched.

  35. This is excellent piece that addresses a growing crisis of a political left that seems to have increasingly abandoned a struggle for a better world in exchange for wandering lost in the field of “who is the greatest victim” of identify politics. I cannot help but notice that you wrote “To Jewish first-years, and to the first-years of every other identity threatened by White Supremacy, I say this: you are not alone.” It seems to me that you still feel a need to identify acts against Jewish people within the context “white supremacy” and align yourself with the “victims” in the far-left worldview. This strikes me as odd given that most of your piece is addressed to the Antisemitism of the left. Would it make any difference if the person who drew the swastika was black or Arab? While the act would indicate a level of disconnect on the part of the perpetrator, I assure you it is not out of the realm of possibility. In the long run, left-wing social justice warriors are a far greater threat to Jewish people than neo-Nazi skinheads that you can easily recognize and have no future politically. I would not want to be a student on a college campus in this environment. Good luck to you. Shabbat Shalom.

  36. Dear Colleagues and Friends Jews;

    ; With psyche (soul) containing altruistic feeling, high degree of intelligence and strong character.

    A rabbi son, those dialogues with me, said that I am a Goy Gadol.
    All following this link is in Portuguese but grace the many of intelligence Jews there is Google Translate to facilitate the understanding.


    I hope this scientific analysis can clarify this problem said floating in the world today, on the concern of many Jews.

    Good reading!


    Health, with respect and fraternity,
    Paulo Augusto Lacaz

  37. I think the author’s agenda is clear when the term “left’ is used 11 separate times without any definition (and this is echoed in the comments). Presumably, this “left” is a monolithic organization akin to the Comintern, than can just declare what it’s members believe. It is so recognizable (those great anti-Semites, the Democratic Party? the Green Party? Bernie Sanders?) that it needs no clarification. Is the author then suggesting that “the right” (whoever that is—Trump? moderate Republicans? the KKK?) is a historical bastion of pro-Jewish empathy? In my world, that’s not the case.

  38. Swarthmore Swastika comment Sept 2, 2016

    As a Swarthmore graduate, a Jew, and an American who proudly supports the values that once were understood and practiced in our country, I am profoundly sad. I am sad not just at the swastikas, but at the twisting of truth and evidence that has occurred even on campuses claiming to honor these virtues. Today I and my husband, 4 sons and 11 grandchildren live in Israel. Surrounded as we are by those who pervert human rights, the rule of law and the sanctity of life even for their own people, we preserve an imperfect but striving society built on just those values. During the years when Swarthmore students are on their exquisite campus to learn from the best of teachers, our grandchildren dedicate that time to protecting us from the terror that is too frequently unleashed across and within our borders. And yet with all this, we search for the way toward peace, ever hopeful that one day our neighbors will choose life rather than death and see the extraordinary benefits for their people that can come from working with one of the most creative nations in the world.
    Is this the Israel that is known and spoken about at Swarthmore? Is this the Israel that often supports outbursts of anti-semitism when Israel is seen as the perpetrator of conflict rather than its target? Is there an open and respectful forum available for students to learn about the complex, multi-dimensional Israel?
    From the comments posted about this excellent essay, it seems that the connection of distortions about Israel to swastikas on the library walls, is largely unnoticed.

  39. How awful that this happened on your campus… That it happens anywhere… However I need to ask… Was this photo created for your piece? I cannot find it online. Why did you not post a photo of the library? While shocking, it is a bit irresponsible to use such imagery to further your point… The use of an ACTUAL photo from your school… Or even photos from the various hate crimes that have taken place around the country recently, would’ve been just as effective. No need to “photoshop” to emphasize such crimes… The crimes themselves are plenty. Peace.

  40. How disingenuous of those on here to state that “Democrats” founded the KKK and committed horrible acts without also admitting that was a time when the Democratic Party, particularly in the south, was made up primarily of conservatives. Are you so ignorant, or think everyone else is so ignorant as to believe such obvious nonsense?

    • Almost every horrible thing that happened during our history happened during Democratic administrations: the Trail of Tears, the Confederate government, the resistance to reconstruction and all of the Jim Crow laws, putting all Japanese Americans in concentration camps. Democrats never disavow their evil past, in fact they embrace it. Calling a Grand Wizard of the KKK a mentor, as Hilary Clinton has of Robert Byrd, is proof enough of that. Claiming that there was some mysterious transmogrification of Southern Democrats into Republicans is just absurd. Reagan did that.

  41. The blame game never solves anything and both parties are well responsible and should claim their share. Obama has done his share is stirring the pot of racism and hatred in our country. And it doesn’t seem to matter whether it is hatred against the blacks, Jews, Hispanics, or Christians – once fueled by those parties who want to see our great USA go down. People’s pride becomes overtaken by the hatred that these groups stir up and everyone is out to hate each other. This is what the elite (George Soros, Bilderberg, any group) who believes they are superior to the majority of the masses, want to see happen. They want us to hate each other, stay focused on this discontent, while they do their dirty work in building what they think is best for the elite. Just look at the ridiculous upset in this country of the bring down the South, i.e. flags, statues, headstones, etc. My Lord, they want to destroy history and make their own lies realistic for the newer generation. They fuel on lies, deception, discontent, and of course racism so that we The People will hate each other while they build their empires. Wake up American – we are under attack. Not sure I have the right quote, by to quote Oliver Hazard Perry of 1812, “We have met the enemy and they are ours; …”.

  42. The far-right wants Jews to leave North America and Europe and go to Israel

    The far-left wants Israeli Jews to stop defending themselves and let Palestinians/jihadists erase or destroy Israel, which would result in Israeli Jews either dying or fleeing to North America and Europe.

    The far-right is open about it, though.

    The far-left screams about “human rights” and “justice” and “peace for the Palestinians” but seems to support everything that makes Israeli Jews more vulnerable to attack and seems to refuse to criticize Israel’s crazy neighbors for (1) being crazy and (2) Openly seeking Israel’s destruction, regardless of any so-called “settlments.”

    The far-left hates Jewish neighborhoods in the West Bank, yet openly accepts “NO JEWS ALLOWED” Arab-only neighborhoods across the REST of the West Bank and in Gaza and across a lot of that entire region.

  43. Jews learned our only meaningful role in changing the world would be supporting other peoples’ struggles; in making ourselves useful. that means we often stay quiet about anti-Jewish persecution: We learn to fight in support of other groups without requesting the solidarity that we, ourselves, need. Thought bubble: If Israel is an apartheid state, why should any BDS supporter think it has a right to exist even within 1967 borders?

  44. Reading these comments it’s like everyone has to ride their hobby horse and ignore the message of the article.

    Woosh, right over everyone’s head.

    Anti-Semitisim is a fact of life. There are Anti-Semites on the right and on the left, they are White, Black and Asian, they are Christian and they are secular. The campus should be a sanctuary from such hate, instead it has become a petri dish where the infection is spread. That’s the shame and the Administration fails to step up and make a strong statement about it and Student Government is itself infected.

  45. I think that between a third and a half of Swarthmore students are anti-Jewish. There is a lot less anti-Semitism at a place like University of Oklahoma that a liberal bastion like Swarthmore. Jewish parents need to think twice about sending their kids to Swarthmor

  46. I use to care take our twp.ships cemetery. I loved it, though it was hard work, raking and pushing the old mower. But tending to those who were in my care, was a great joy. I took pride in all the resting places,my daughters, as well. Sometimes, people would steal all the lovely bushes, plants, flowers, statues etc..and knock over some of the old old 1800 stones….I was always heart sick at this evil. With another Memorial Day coming up, I decided to write a editorial to our small town paper and to the small “city” paper, about the raping of the cemeteries in our townships. WHY did these people CHOOSE to STEAL and DESTROY what were loving, caring gestures for people who had loved ones buried in our cemeteries? THIS picture is not only evil, it is a hate that these young inhumane people are definitely ignorant of its TRUE MEANING. It isn’t just a sign,a insignia, it REPRESENTS EVIL BEYOND ANY IMAGINATION OF HATE. iT is what was created by a follower of satan, named hitler. WHO, with ALL under his command,who had EVERYTHING to do with the MURDERING OF 7 MILLION PEOPLE, who just happen to be Jewish.. These monsters of murder are BURNING in Hell .This sign,began before and in World War 11….. So you who did this, I am so thankful you were SEEN & CAUGHT by at least one Person. You forgot to LOOK UP, because GOD SAW ALL OF YOU DO WHAT YOU DID. ……. I hope if you have any brains, you check just what that insignia REALLY means. You need to hope NO ONE else of YOUR cruel intents, desecrates, rapes YOUR FAMILIES FINAL RESTING PLACES. Gee Ma

  47. “As a liberal Jew” Mr. Meyer should own up to liberal policies he helped to promote that resulted in antisemitic incidents that he writes about.
    “As a liberal Jew” he should own up to Iran deal forced on the country by his liberal President.
    “As a liberal Jew” he should stop being “a liberal Jew”.

  48. It’s a good article but whenever I read an article indicting “the Left” for condoning, if not practicing anti-Semitism, it always seems to conflate the farthest left with liberals in general. The vast majority of liberals would condemn this. Now, college kids tend to go to the extremes on a lot of things, especially politics, so it isn’t surprising, although certainly disturbing, that you have extremist views that certainly border on anti-Semitism. But is this the majority of the Left? Plus, while there is no doubt that anti-Zionism and anti-Israel sentiment frequently shades into anti-Semitism, there are times when supporters of Israel conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

  49. Having read such appalling situations (I chose to bypass the Trump v. Clinton rhetoric) I just thought I would share a more positive experience. If there is a university Campus with a more symbiotic relationship between Jew and Gentile than the State University of New York at Albany, I would love to visit it. As a 1995 Graduate, my Irish Catholic derrière was afforded the opportunity to keep Kosher my Freshmen year in Dutch Quad (Food was superior). As a Sophomore I pledged a fraternity that’s historical origin and some secret practices were intertwined with the KKK. That being said, OUR chapter of Sigma Chi was equal parts Jew and Gentile but also African American, Latino, East Indian, Middle Eastern Muslim, MyFraternity was NOT the exception but an example of the RULE of the Greek organizations on that campus. I left that campus with a new found appreciation for cultures and religions other than my own and life long friendships as a result. From the reading above, it won seem that the general state of higher education in our great nation, should take a page from the SUNY Albany book.

  50. Dear Mr Meyer,

    Thank you for writing this important piece and for concluding it first with a positive message of support and community for your fellow young people who may feel threatened, and finally an appeal for others to listen. I am one of the others I guess. I’m neither Jewish nor a member of your campus community but I feel strongly that antisemitism is a very real and growing problem. I see it all the time. Unfortunately, while antisemitism is not the only form of nasty xenophobia and scapegoating that goes on, there is a long, ‘rich’ history behind it. This makes it easy for the either angry, ignorant neo-Nazi types to adopt as focal point for their fears and jealousies. This is also fertile ground for many of ‘more benign’ and yes sometimes liberal dispositions, who don’t understand or see eye-to-eye with a Jew or Jews in their life, community or the world. While they may not go in for the ‘blood libel’ they may give credence to other more modern conspiracy theories. As you point out, many of us have difficulty understanding the impact and the justified sensitivity around these ‘little’ incidents. We prefer to think, as was my first reaction, ‘it was probably just one drunk loser acting out’ than think of it as a stark reminder of a terrible personal tragedy and menacing reminder that there are people in the community who harbor this kind of hate. While I have always tried to understand the place where others are coming from and see everyone as a person like myself, I hope reading your piece will help me to stand up even more against antisemitism and similar prejudice in others and myself.

  51. How very lame and amateurish that you used that original picture. We don’t need hate in this country. We also don’t need crappy journalism.

  52. We are all connected – this is an evil meant to terrorize. We know evil and good are not the same – there is no way to cure evil with evil. Its like being on a run-away horse – the harder you pull the faster he runs – let go and he has nothing to pull against …

    Its sad for the people who did this as well – shame on them!

  53. Sorry to hear you are experiencing this but also sorry to say this-but you need to stop being a liberal Jew- (emphasis on the word liberal) I can direct you to lots of great resources to help you understand how why this is really happening and that it is really never going to stop in our lifetimes

  54. I find the tenor of this debate puzzling. As a Swarthmore grad my first questions is, “What has happened to Swarthmore?” This is a College with a Quaker background and a deep tradition of teaching and promoting social justice. It has always had a strong representation of Jewish students. It also has been often left leaning in its politics. I’m sure there are many students on campus who are not sympathetic to Israel’s policies toward Palestinians. But if I were on campus today I would be urging people to bring into the daylight what prompted this racist action.

  55. As an alum, I am very sorry to hear this has happened at Swarthmore. Seemingly no place is immune, but this is an ugly and terrible start to the year. Sadly we are living though a time of hate and intolerance where some think that free speech give them license to denigrate and demonize others — too often in this cowardly way. Unfortunately, these demons have been let out of the box once again to torment us. But we must not succumb and fight among ourselves. We must all work to make a better world where common sense and respect for others will prevail. I trust the Swarthmore community will arrive at a creative path for moving forward.

  56. I spent years hoping my child would be able to attend Swarthmore… then a few years back your school sponsored a talk that was interrupted – and shut down! – by what was later characterized as a “few students.”
    My calls to the school to inquire were met with and resulted in a call from the Dean of Admissions to the head of placement at my child’s school… which only reinforced the notion of “nothing to see here, keep moving along.”
    This “Swastika event” was not an isolated issue. Swarthmore is afflicted with the BDS malignancy, resulting from permitting these “few students” to worm their way into the academic life at a Liberal Arts institution, acting out with no boundaries and little concern about retaliation/retribution/censorship.
    Glad to say my child was able to avoid this mess entirely, and is presently attending a school higher up on the food chain. I am dismayed about all those years that I considered Swarthmore to be a worthwhile destination.
    Shame on the Administration for enabling this behavior. If you wish to save your school, you must remove this malignancy.

    After all, WHO in their right mind would send their kids to endure this crap?

  57. I can’t believe this. I’m an alumna and work with prospective college students now. One of whom is set to visit Swat next month. And now, I feel the need to apologize on behalf of Swarthmore. I’m utterly… flabbergasted that this happened.

    This is so, entirely, COWARDLY. If you have something to say, say it. If you want to start a conversation, start it. But don’t spray paint it on in the wee hours of the night.

    And once that conversation has been started – such as on this comment section – be respectful. Isn’t that what we learned at Swarthmore? State your thoughts, back it up, take into account the claims against you, consider, revise if necessary, rinse and repeat? In a civilized way.

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  59. I don’t think that graffiti is by any means above board behavior. I think it is something a bunch of punk kids would do- in fact I would be more intimidated by paint or blood or something with a little more….intelligence or class.
    Vandalism is vandalism. I personally don’t know how high the proportion of “Jews” are at this school but it was described as a small proportion.
    The symbol was a sign it was used on flags, uniforms and marked various other territory. You are correct that it stands for white supremacy; lest we forget the disabled people who were tortured and many others viewed as imperfect. I think there is a strong association to the symbol and Jewish war crime and I’m not denoting paranoia by any means. I personally wouldn’t give trash and vandalism more attention and energy then it takes to clean up the mess and sum it up as a waste of time.

  60. It is just a university kid defacing public property on a small scale in a loo.
    graffiti is dirty and cheap and says more about the person then what is written.
    I feel sorry for the poor janitor that has to clean it for having his time wasted and to the people who had to view It as any form of vandalism is distasteful.
    All it takes is a screen shot a few views and HYPE and support groups.
    Why give this person the attention they obviously so desperately require? Clean it up move on think its stupid and the kid will get bored.

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