The Daily Aztec

Campus activists silent in face of anti-Semitic author

by Anthony Berteaux, Staff Columnist

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An author accused of making anti-Semitic statements has been invited to speak at San Diego State.

On Sept. 29, SDSU’s Students for Justice in Palestine will host a discussion, “Palestine 101,” with Israeli author Miko Peled. Peled, the son of an Israeli general, has made a speaking career promoting non-violent resistance to the military occupation of the disputed territories in the West Bank.

Peled purports himself to be a “peace activist,” but he is not. Through Twitter and other social media, Peled regularly invokes ancient anti-Semitic tropes in his criticisms of Israel.

On Sept. 14, in response to the recently signed U.S.-Israeli aid package, Peled tweeted that Jews had a reputation for being “sleazy thieves.”

Peled’s tweet led to the cancellation of his speech at Princeton University. In a statement on Facebook, the Princeton Committee on Palestine wrote that Peled’s tweets were “anti-Semitic and hateful, (and) counterproductive to an educational event on the conflict.”

Leora Eisenberg, a Jewish freshman at Princeton University said that after his speech was cancelled, she was relieved.

“He is a bigot and an anti-Semite,” she said. “I was thrilled to see groups that claim to fight for human rights actually take their charge seriously by canceling his lecture.”

 

In the past year, Peled has tweeted that Israelis missed the “taste of Palestinian blood,” and compared Israel — the Jewish state — to Nazi Germany. He has advocated for continued missile attacks on Israel and Israelis and branded Israelis who serve in the IDF as “terrorists.”

His statement calling Israelis bloodthirsty regurgitates a centuries old anti-Semitic myth that accuses Jews of killing Christian babies for religious rituals. Worse, he justified his “sleazy thieves” accusation by saying that “for centuries Jews were portrayed as sleazy money lenders.”

Peled’s remarks and his upcoming visit have not gone unnoticed by Jewish students on campus.

“There is a line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism,” ISCOR junior Hilary Cohen said. “Peled has crossed that line. One can criticize Israel without using anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

Psychology junior Talia Raoufpur, who is Iranian and Jewish, said she was upset by the lack of attention his visit has garnered.

“Where are the activists who rose up against prejudice last semester?” she said.

SDSU has been the scene of several protests spurred on by activists that define the way our campus views oppression and identity.

In 2014, Take Back the Night drew attention to the violence college women uniquely face from rape culture.

In 2015, activists rallied to address several issues, such as faculty pay raises, racial injustice, economic inequality and Islamophobia, an intersection of issues that affect our students.

This year, when conservative writer David Horowitz posted fliers on campus branding members of Students for Justice in Palestine as “terrorists,” the hashtag #NoHateAtState became a rallying cry for students who wanted to fight back against racial profiling and Islamophobia. SDSU students were unified under a single message: Neither hatred nor bigotry would go unaccounted for and they were going to stand up against hatred and discrimination.

David Horowitz’ fliers accused SJP members of being terrorists and the campus rallied in solidarity. It is baffling and hypocritical for activists in SJP -— who know too well what it is like to be profiled -— to invite a speaker who similarly profiles Jews and Israelis.

SJP’s invitation to Peled suggests they accept and condone his anti-Semitism and that his rhetoric is something to be accepted, celebrated and pondered. Unacceptable.

This is an opportunity for a conversation and a reckoning with anti-Semitic speech and its ramifications. We are capable of having difficult, nuanced conversations about the conflict between Israel and Palestine without having to resort to anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Activists who are silent: speak up. Heed the words of the late Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

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12 Comments

12 Responses to “Campus activists silent in face of anti-Semitic author”

  1. Jay on September 23rd, 2016 7:57 am

    Disgusting that such hate could be tolerated by students, let alone faculty at SDSU. This man not only justifies terrorists targeting civilians, but argues against coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians wherever he goes, including campuses such as ours – the opposite of SDSU’s multicultural and peaceful mission. Furthermore, Peled enjoys full impunity as just another hate-spewing guest of SJP. Moments like these make me ashamed to be an alumni of SDSU

  2. b.grand on September 24th, 2016 7:45 pm

    This is an absurd comment, apparently by someone who has neither heard any of Miko Peled’s talks (readily available on Youtube) nor read his book.

    The one thing Peled consistently asserts is that Palestinians and Jewish Israelis have much in common, and full rights for Palestinians will result in a stronger Israel. In fact, he is often criticized as overly optimistic for his expectation of friendship, equality, and harmonious coexistence. He has titled his talk “The Keys to Peace.”

  3. Asher Garber on September 23rd, 2016 2:20 pm

    This says a lot about SJP and SDSU. SDSU, of course, can say something other than Intimidating Jews Is Justified if they want to.

    We’ll be listening.

  4. Dan Cohen on September 23rd, 2016 11:28 pm

    Why does SDSU allow such a bigoted wannabe Jewish Supremacist to represent their newspaper and the student body? This Anthony Berteaux spent an intensive 8 weeks writing daily blogs for racist and apartheid Israel…how about this for a headlione “Hasbara agent hired at SDSU.” EVERY single article written by this troll implicates someone as an anti-semite. Students are starting the learn that the Jewish Supremacists will bust this out ANY time ANY ONE criticizes the racist policies of Israel and the American Jewish Supremacists that support racist and apartheid Israel. Let’s don’t forget what Voltaire taught us…”if you want to find out who want to rule over you and dominate your lives, just ask yourself who you are not allowed to criticize?” Hey Anthony, why don’t you show that you have the balls to educate your fellow students that women in Israel have ZERO rights when it comes to getting divorced and they can only get divorced if their husbands choose to sign a legal document prepared by a Rabbi AND that husband can go impregnate a new woman and start a new family with a new woman without signing his original wife’s ‘release form.’ Or why don’t you write an article on the fact that Israel has more atheists and sodomites per capita than any nation on earth..it truly is the Sodom and Gamora written about in the bible with unlimited gay sex, murder and destruction of dignity and human rights. Imagine all of these Israeli women’s lives destroyed on top of all the human rights abuses carried out every single day in the illegally occupied territories and espeically in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Your a lost soul Berteaux but if you love the racists of Israel, you’ll also love the racists of Japan, one of the most racist countries on earth..BTW, how’s the diversity in Japan…how about an article on that you troll?

  5. Robert Tripp on September 24th, 2016 4:34 pm

    In no way is Miko Peled a bigot. He is an honorable Israeli-American who has the guts to say what the Israeli decades-long tormenting of Palestinians really is. He comes from an honorable family – his father was a general in the Israeli army.

    He is trying to get Israeli and American Jews to take off their self-applied blindfolds.

    I urge the people making these totally unwarranted accusations against Miko to read his superb book: “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.”

    Bob Tripp – 84-year old American Jew
    Reston, VA

  6. Robert Tripp on September 24th, 2016 5:22 pm

    To the Aztec editor:

    Please tell me what “awaiting moderation” means.

    Thank you.

    Bob Tripp

  7. Jamie Ballard on September 25th, 2016 8:38 pm

    Hi Robert, managing editor here. Editors have to manually approve (or disapprove) each comment that is made on our site. Since we’re a small staff, this sometimes takes a day or so, especially on weekends. We appreciate your patience. Thank you.

  8. Judith Levine on September 25th, 2016 12:13 am

    Thank you for a well written article. SJP and the BDS movement is understandably upset when anti-Muslim rhetoric is spouted. Then they turnaround and invite a known anti-Semite who hates Israel to speak. They disrupt pro-Israel activities and bully Jewish students, and then as this event demonstrates, the campus and the administration are silent. This is frightening to say the least. Today’s students are seemingly unaware of how much like the behaviours of these groups and the lack of reaction mirror the events of 1938 and 1939.

  9. Steve on September 26th, 2016 10:04 pm

    “Pro-Palestinian” activists don’t care about helping Palestinians. They don’t want peace with Palestinians and Israel. They just want Israel dead or erased.

    They will never accept peace with a Jewish state.

    They will only propose “solutions” that erase the world’s only Jewish state.

    They pretend to do this in the name of “democracy,” but only if it’s a Muslim majority. Israel is a Jewish majority, so they reject Israel’s democracy. They demand Israel merge with millions of Jew-hating Muslims, just enough to make Muslims a majority and Jews a minority, and then suddenly the “pro-Palestinian” activists accept democracy. Because their only goal is erasing the Jewish homeland to make a 23rd Arab state.

    “Pro-Palestinian” activists demonize Jewish nationalism (zionism) as something evil, yet they accept Arab nationalism, Muslim nationalism and Palestinian nationalism.

    “Pro-Palestinian” activists demonize the world’s only Jewish-majority state for being Jewish, yet they openly accept Arab-majority states being Arab and Muslim-majority states being Muslim.

    They use one standard against Jews, and a second standard for everybody else. Which is the textbook definition of antisemitism.

  10. Steve on September 26th, 2016 10:06 pm

    “Anti-zionists” don’t want Israel to merely hand land that Israel won from Jordan and Egypt in 1967 over to Palestinians and for Palestinians to then form a peaceful state next to Israel.

    “Anti-zionists” want the world’s only Jewish state erase/destroyed. “Anti-zionists” don’t want any of the 20 Arab states erased or any of the 50 Muslim states erased. They just want the one tiny little Jewish state erased. And turned into another Muslim state, which would put the lives of millions of Jews at risk.

    Because 99.999% of “anti-zionists” are hypocritical, one-sided bigots who just want Israel dead. None of them should pretend to be “peace” activists.”

  11. Arafat on October 7th, 2016 7:02 am

    Official PA television—the PA’s PBS—airs programs that feature children as young as six reciting anti-Semitic and violent poems. Just months ago, for example, a little girl recited a poem that claimed, (and I quote) “[Christians and Jews] are inferior, cowardly, and despised.” Three days earlier, on a different program, another young girl insisted that (and I quote), “Our wars are for the Al Aqsa Mosque, and our enemy, Zion, is a Satan with a tail.”
    This is apparently what passes for “educational television” under the Palestinian Authority.
    From cradles to kindergarten classrooms; from the grounds of summer camps to the stands of football stadiums, messages of extremism are everywhere in Palestinian society.
    In the international community, there is no shortage of individuals to lecture Israel about what it must do for peace. Yet these same “human rights advocates” stutter, mumble and lose their voices when it comes to criticizing Palestinian incitement.
    Ignoring words and thoughts of hate does no favors to the Palestinian people. It does no favors to families who seek to build better lives for themselves and their children. And, perhaps most importantly, it does no favors to Palestinian leaders who advance the language of peace instead of the dogmas of hate.
    Laying the groundwork for a stable peace in our region will not happen overnight. But those who would like to foster better relations between Israelis and Palestinians must start by speaking out against incitement in Palestinian society. The next generation—both Israeli and Palestinian—deserve no less.

  12. John Berg on October 28th, 2016 4:47 pm

    I’m an SDSU alumni (1971 graduate) and activist in peace-building for many years, currently serving as the [volunteer] “Network Coordinator” for the KAIROS Puget Sound Coalition (NW affiliate of the KAIROS USA movement led by Jewish peace-advocate Mark Braverman. I have heard Miko Peled speak numerous times in both Seattle and Portland, and I find the SDSU (and Princeton) ban on Miko’s speaking there to be a severe violation of not only the First Amendment but also of the human rights of students and the larger community to hear the voice of someone who thoroughly understands the Zionist movement — both its history and its current goals and strategies. Having grown up in that context before “leaving the cult” [as per another Jewish writer, Avigail Abarnbane — see: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/10/why-i-left-the-cult/%5D, Miko’s views are not all that radical. In fact a growing number of Jewish writers around the world are saying very similar things and are not retreating in fear from the hasbara [propaganda] accusations of being “self-hating Jews” or “ultra leftist” as voiced by people like David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes, Lee Kaplan, Mike Evans, etc. — indeed it is these writers who are the “ultras” (as in ultra-Zionist) who apply such labels to anyone holding the current Israeli regime accountable for its unjust behaviors towards “the other” sharing the land. I work regularly with numerous Palestinians and Israelis who are committed to nonviolence, conflict resolution, compassionate listening, restorative justice, and ultimate reconciliation with “the other” whether they be Muslim, Jewish or Christian — I’ll gladly supply you with lists of such brave souls who “refuse to be enemies” with ‘the other’ despite the best [worst?] efforts of the Zionist groups like AIPAC, Stand With Us, David Horowitz and so forth. So now, I return to the main subject: let Miko Peled speak at SDSU! Hear his thoughts, ask him questions, challenge him if you wish, but stop playing moral police’ at San Diego State!

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