UC Berkeley Professor: “All anyone has to do is go into one of the bathrooms in Berkeley,” he said. “There are swastikas everywhere

Demonstrators on Upper Sproul Protest Drawings of Swastikas

By Katrina Escudero

Contributing Writer  Daily Cal.  Monday, May 3, 2010

In a response to the three swastikas recently drawn at the Clark Kerr Campus, approximately 45 protesters demonstrated on Upper Sproul Plaza Friday afternoon, addressing issues of anti-Semitism and calling for the end of “hidden hatred” at UC Berkeley.

Protesters said anti-Semitism is still a problem at the campus and is a “hidden hatred” because many incidents of anti-Semitism go ignored or unreported.

“I’ve been disappointed in how the administration has reacted and how people keep telling me I’m making a big deal out of nothing,” said freshman Shir Davidovicz, who lives at the Clark Kerr Campus.

John Efron, Koret professor of Jewish history, said the drawing of swastikas on campus is a common problem that has only recently been addressed because of the Clark Kerr incident.

“All anyone has to do is go into one of the bathrooms in Berkeley,” he said. “There are swastikas everywhere. People don’t know about it because, until this demonstration, Jewish students have been reluctant to file complaints and let the administration know what anti-Semitism means for them and how it creates a hostile environment.”

Ronald Hendel, Norma and Sam Dabby professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish studies, spoke to the group at Upper Sproul Plaza and said he believes the rise in anti-Semitic actions are connected to discussions of the ASUC divestment bill.

“In the wake of the bill, a number of anti-Semitic incidents have occurred,” he said. “For instance, during a discussion of the bill, a male student shouted to a group of Jewish students, ‘You killed Jesus.'”

The demonstration saw its only disruption when a man who had been observing the protest screamed, “That is a lie!” in response to a speaker’s allegation that the bill unfairly targeted Israel. The crowd chanted “anti-Semites out,” until the man turned away from the protest.

Demonstrators said they hoped the protest raised awareness and that in the future, students, faculty and staff will put an end to the “hidden hate.”

“These actions are really hurtful for me,” said history professor Paula Fass. “I have parents that are Holocaust survivors and five siblings that died in the Holocaust. We need to make it clear that the thought behind this symbol is unacceptable.”

Tags: clark kerr campus, upper sproul plaza, Divestment Bill

Article Link: http://www.dailycal.org/article/109366

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