Chosen Links – Colleges and Passover Edition – April 25, 2024

Articles, Threads, Videos and More about Israel and Antisemitism
April 26, 2024

This week, in honor of Pesach (Passover), and given the biggest stories in the zeitgeist seem to be about the hellscape that are college campuses, I’m going to do something different. The bulk of the digest will be about 2 topics: universities and the holiday. Nothing about any other subject. Dayenu. Let us begin.

I went to UCLA as an undergrad, and although I never had the classic dorm experience (I commuted from my parent’s house), I still have tons of classic college memories. The Jewish school newspaper where we’d hang out, “Ha-Am”; The long, beautiful strolls on the lush, green Bruin Walk; The early form of an “As a Jew” professor, telling me that if they can come to school on a Jewish holiday, so could I; The Liberal Arts professor casually referring to Israel as a colonizer. Okay, the last 2 parts weren’t so much fun, but dealing with your annoying professors is still part of the college experience, right?

But then came something a bit more sinister. It wasn’t illegal yet, but it certainly marked the start of making people like me uncomfortable walking around campus. On Bruin Walk, I would sporadically be greeted with large chalk writing, that said, “Zionists are murderers; Israelis are Zionists; Therefore Israelis are murderers”. A simple little logic puzzle at work, and it was blatantly clear that Jew-hatred had found a safe way to attack us in the public eye; just exchange the word Jew for Zionist, and it wasn’t a hate crime.

I had a few classes with the same male Muslim student. I made sure to always say hi to everyone I made eye contact with, because that’s the Boaz way, but I took particular care to always smile and say hello to him. As is the courteous human response, he got used to smiling and saying hello to me as well. Months went by. Uneventful.

Then one day, I was leaving Ha-Am, which was in the same hall as the other offshoots of UCLA’s Daily Bruin paper. As I entered the hallway, the Muslim student was leaving the Al-Talib office, the Muslim student paper at the time. He was walking with a female Muslim student. As they got to the doorway first, he did the human thing, and held the door open for me. THANKS I said, with a huge smile. The young lady turns to him, and loudly spat the words I haven’t forgotten over 2 decades later, “How dare you hold open the door for a ZION!” He looked ashamed, which I hoped meant embarrassment over her unacceptable, antisemitic insult, but instead, he did not smile nor say hello to me ever again. He had been chastised, and realized I was apparently the enemy. Perhaps he also secretly felt shame over it, I’ll never know. But his actions were no longer that of a friendly classmate, and this saddened me.

A lesson that has stuck with me ever since that day, is that Zionist (in all grammatical conjugations) was the new sneaky/clever way to be antisemitic, but, you know, make it technically about politics, so it’s okay. This girl didn’t know me, but I was a Jew with a kippah on my head, and her colleague was holding a door for me, and that filled her with disgust. If she had said, “How dare you hold open the door for a JEW!”, there could be repercussions from a university’s code of conduct. But Zionist and Israeli were, and continue to be, safe words for people to hide behind, and create lie after lie, and blood libel after blood libel. It’s just politics, right?

This photo I just found is perfection. That’s the Jewish a capella group Shir Bruin, led by Mayim Bialik performing proudly on Bruin Walk, on 4/23/00 – Yom Limmud, Passover!

Given how much I’m reading about the University of California school system, and in particular my own alma mater UCLA, I’m inspired to start with its own section – something I’ve only done once before – after the Glazer Oscars speech. Plus there are important updates to report out of UC Berkeley’s School of Law, USC, and no doubt you’ve heard about Columbia University and more. So I’ll put all of the college info together for your reading (dis)pleasure. And I’m selfishly relieved that as much as I saw a worrying trend on campus, I didn’t have to deal with what the kids experience today.


1a. David Myers has been a professor at UCLA for over 30 years, and is witnessing the eradication of political discourse, and mourns its downfall. He explains that many at the university have always shared common goals with the Palestinians, to ensure they have their own state, safety and self-determination. Many at the university have shared critiques over the decisions and actions of the residing Israeli government at the time. But it has become harder to get anywhere near polite, shared-goal discourse, due to angry closed minds, and blatantly antisemitic tropes.

In a recent meeting of the UC Regents, an effigy was erected, and it couldn’t have had more antisemitic imagery if it tried.
A Pig ✔️
Money ✔️
A Birdcage ✔️
A Blue and White Star of David ✔️

He provides a great history lesson, as to why each are antisemitic, and sums it up by saying, “It is hard not to see the staging of the two hands – the upper hand holding money and the lower hand holding the birdcage – as a visual representation of Jews’ domination of Palestinians. But what would seem to be the real tell with respect to the statue’s ultimate meaning is the blue and white bucket at the bottom left of the pig, which is emblazoned with a star of David.”

In my opinion he is too polite and kind in his accusations, but it’s hard to be critical of someone who’s attempting something unheard of these days – diplomacy:

1b. Regarding this effigy of the pig, UCLA condemned it, but come on, does every campus need to have incidents like this occurring nonstop?

“One of the issues discussed during the UC Regents meeting was a proposal requiring faculty departments to put any polemical commentary statements up to a vote before posting and clarifying who exactly they are speaking on behalf of. The proposal would also require that faculty polemical commentary be posted on a webpage clearly marked as an opinion page that’s not speaking on the behalf of the university. The proposal has been tabled until May; when it was first introduced by Regent Jay Sures, pro-Palestinian protesters shouted “shame on you!” and accused Sures of attempting to censor their point of view.” Jay Sures has been a beacon of light from the UC Regents. Aaron Bandler reports:

1c. I haven’t read UC Regent Jay Sures name since he wrote this fantastic letter on October 31st, which I was proud to share. “There are absolutely no words to how appalling and repugnant I found your letter….” You want something positive to read now, right? I’m happy to share it in these pages, as it’s an awesome letter:

2a. Let’s continue the deep dive into my alma mater, UCLA. A recent mandatory lecture for their medical students involved possibly the most egregious misuse of campus resources, to promote an extreme agenda. I have tried to avoid using the term “woke”, as it’s a rather lazy insult at this point, but if I did finally use it here, I would say this was the WOKEST woke lecture, I’ve ever read about. Let’s count the ways, and don’t forget – this lecture was MANDATORY:

-Free Palestine chant
-“What the settlers call L.A.”
-Chanting “land back” referring to L.A.
-“Crapitalist lie of private property” That’s not a typo.
-“White science” referring to modern medicine. (To med students!)
The audio is provided along with more. This is a prestigious medical school, where my own brother went to become a cardiologist; and it’s giving a platform to this garbage:

2b. Aaron Sibarium includes even more details about this lecture, including the fact that some students understandably felt intimidated by needing to participate. “When one student remained seated, according to students in the class, a UCLA administrator…inquired about the student’s identity, implying that discipline could be on the table. ‘The net effect was that UCLA staff intimidated first-year medical students into participating in a religious service in derogation of their own personal beliefs,’ UCLA’s Jewish Faculty Resilience Group wrote to university chancellor Gene Block on Sunday. ‘There needs to be an urgent and thorough external review and investigation of the [medical school’s] curriculum and systemic antisemitism.'”

2c. I suggest following the Jewish Faculty Resilience Group at UCLA Page on X/Twitter, if you want to see the goings on through the eyes of Jewish faculty and their allies – lots of great info. Founded and largely run by Dr. Kira Stein:

2d. Or go directly to their website to see their updates. An example is a lecture in the medical school’s psychiatry department, about “resistance” (with all the anti-Israel rhetoric you might imagine from those buzzwords). It included slides where they were idealizing Aaron Bushnell, who self-immolated to protest the war in Gaza:

3. Aaron Bandler reports on an important update, where the JFrg at UCLA gathered to speak at a UC Regents Health Committee meeting, about the multitude of antisemitic problems on campus. Dr. Kira Stein is helping do great work with the group, and is hopefully only gaining momentum, because it’s needed more than ever:

4a. A small group of people from UCLA visited Israel, and reported to Israeli news how bad things have gotten for them on campus. Med student Eliana Jolkovsky sent an email to friends after October 7th, and simply asked for people to show empathy to Jews on campus, and to attend a vigil at the Hillel House. Instead, the response she received was “We are disappointed in the JMSA, and demand you retract your false statements that Hamas took hostages, and went door to door killing families”. This was a reply from “An anonymous coalition of concerned classmates”.

She is part of the Jewish Medical Student Association (JMSA), which has a pretty straight forward mission statement, that you would think couldn’t offend a fly. “The Jewish Medical Student Association (JMSA) supports Jewish life for medical students at UCLA and promotes the study of the Jewish tradition and its contributions to the field of medicine. In addition, JMSA serves to fight antisemitism while practicing allyship to the Jewish community.” Apparently, that allyship is a one-way street, as we’ve seen so often lately.
You can follow the JMSA here:

4b. Dr. Nir Hoftman works at UCLA, and explains that people were taking knives and stabbing and removing posters of hostages, but the school defends that those were simply tools to remove the posters. He’s seeing so much disgusting hatred on campus. The video of their visit is worth watching:


1a. A totally out of line, and inappropriate thing happened, after something even more grotesque, but possibly more legally defensible happened. An antisemitic cartoon was drawn and put on display of the Dean of UC Berkeley’s Law School, Erwin Chemerinsky, depicting him, as Tabby Refael aptly puts it, “as a bloodthirsty Jew”. A week later, Dean Chemerinsky and his wife Catherine Fisk, were hosting 60 graduating students in their home. Their house. Not the school. At this garden party, a couple of people started to make a public spectacle, accusing their hosts of supporting genocide. They had the audacity to claim free speech, which the legal expert Chemerinsky said does not apply in the privacy of their home. Tabby has us imagine if this situation was reversed, how angry the response would be:

1b. He released an extremely polite statement, but you can feel the anguish that must be written between each word. “On April 9, about 60 students came to our home for the dinner. All had registered in advance. All came into our backyard and were seated at tables for dinner. While guests were eating, a woman, who led the group responsible for the posters, stood up with a microphone that she had brought, stood on the top step in the yard, and began a speech, including about the plight of the Palestinians. My wife and I immediately approached her and asked her to stop and leave. The woman continued. When she continued her speech, there was an attempt to take away her microphone. Repeatedly, we said to her, that you are a guest in our home, please stop and leave. Our home is not a forum for free speech. Indeed, even if this were held in the law school building, there would be no First Amendment right to disrupt the event. About 10 students were with her and ultimately left as a group. The dinner, which was meant to celebrate graduating students, was obviously disrupted and disturbed. I am enormously sad that we have students who are so rude as to come into my home, in my backyard, and use this social occasion for their political agenda.”

2. Melanie Mason interviews UC Regent John Perez, and I was incredibly impressed by this interview. I was expecting yet another boilerplate Q&A session, where I can predict every safe, doesn’t-really-say-anything answer. But that’s not what happened, and now I very much want to thank Mr. Pérez for his intelligent candor. Discussing what happened to Dean Chemerinksy, like the Dean himself, he explains why free speech is not an adequate excuse for doing this at a private event at their home. Punishing these protesters at his house will be dependent on if 3rd year law students should know the distinction between school property, and an employee of the school’s home property. If yes, then punishments would be appropriate, if no, then this was their first and last warning. When asked if things are disproportionate with antisemitism on campus, Pérez says yes.

When asked if things are bad for Muslims, he gives a long answer that was refreshing for my eyes to read, and I’ll provide in its entirety. “It’s interesting to me that the only time where we have to do this both sides-y rejection is when the victims are Jewish. When we saw a spike in anti-Asian hate crimes over the last couple of years, there was no immediate pushback that said, now you have to reject these other forms [of hate]. In fact, after George Floyd, when we were talking about Black Lives Matter, there was a clear distinction that if you responded by saying, “All Lives Matter,” that yes, that’s true that all lives matter, but if you were doing it reflexively you are denying the real pattern and problem of what was happening in the African American community. So we’ve got to be careful in that we should be able to have a conversation about the spike in antisemitism, the very clear expression of antisemitism, without then having to do a litany of [denouncing other forms of hate in order] to renounce the antisemitism… We have gotten to a point of both sides-ism in this question, which is completely not constructive. When I go around to different college campuses, I tend to meet with a cross section of students and faculty. I have only in my 14 years on the board been challenged once about trying to meet with a group of students. And it was trying to meet with a group of Jewish students on a campus where there have been efforts to target their Hillel. The campus told me that if you meet with Jewish students, you have to meet with the Muslim students. I said, “I’m meeting with students at Hillel because Hillel was targeted.” There’s no balancing that needs to happen. If you asked me to meet with Muslim students because I’m on campus, I’m happy to do it. But it can’t be because I’m meeting with Jewish students. When I go meet with Latino students, I don’t have to go balance that by meeting with somebody else. When I go meet with LGBTQ students, I don’t have to balance that with meeting somebody else. When I go meet veteran students that are dealing with the complexity of coming back after having served and navigating a college campus, I’m not told you now have to go meet with another group. The only time it’s ever happened was in one instance trying to meet the Jewish students. It shouldn’t be the case.”

This. This is what’s glaringly missing from most interviews and articles, including decent ones. People reflexively answer by insisting how important the “other” groups are as well. Because they are. But pointing out that being challenged with that question, is fantastic. It reminds me of the women who are sick and tired of watching their colleagues walk the red carpet, asked about their work, but when it’s the women’s turn, they are asked what they are wearing. The question is fine in a vacuum, but it is also a problem given the bigger context. Great interview from Mason in Politico:


1. Bandler writes a fantastically, comprehensive report on Columbia President Nemat “Minouche” Shafik being questioned by Congress about antisemitism on campus. There’s no single line I can give that would do it justice – just read the entire report, full of quotes and videos. It’s basically a less bad, but still bad enough version of what we saw from the Harvard/Penn/MIT testimony. Far more willing to condemn, but still unwilling to answer questions directly, or enact actual policies and punishments for those screaming hate speech. Plus, she continued the Columbia attack on Shai Davidai, a man who’s often the lone warrior fighting back against the school:

2. Joseph Massad is a long-documented antisemite, spending years in the faculty of Columbia’s Middle East department, MESAAS. His job has remained protected, even after his hateful speech should have gotten him in trouble time and time again. Even when he avoids politics, he finds a way to be offensive to Jews. “Massad’s scholarly record is similarly detestable. Several students who had taken his class told me that Massad repeatedly made patently false claims, arguing, for example, that Zionism shares a Hebrew root with the word zayin, or penis, allegedly proving the movement’s phallocentric and patriarchal nature. He continued to claim this even after several native Hebrew speakers informed him that the two words were spelled differently and had no etymological connection.” It would be funny, if he wasn’t consistently accusing them of genocide.

Liel Leibovitz writes about how the Middle East department isn’t limited to one detestable antisemitic professor. He also gives thorough examples of Hamid Dabashi and George Saliba. He quotes outspoken pro-Israel faculty Shai Davidai to comment on this situation. “Students come to Columbia wanting to learn about the Middle East, but they understand right away that if they don’t take a certain side, they won’t get a good grade. They are being denied the education they desire and paid.”

But Liebovitz is proactive, and has a great suggestion for how Columbia should be handling this massive problem. “The university can take one sensible step, rooted in academic tradition and Columbia’s institutional culture: it’s called receivership, an administrative act by which a university, convinced that an academic department is failing to meet its academic goals, takes over the department, and appoints and empowers a new chairman to make necessary changes.” He even tells us that the school did exactly that, with its English and Anthropology departments, and had good results. So we have a problem, and a solution. All that’s left is the university actually giving a damn:

3. Alan Dershowitz is 85 years young, and has no desire to retire. A man with a mission, this time to make it clear that what schools like Columbia University are doing is simply not okay. Legal free speech? Sure, go ahead and chant a genocidal mantra against Jews, I mean Zionists, that seems to be technically legal…maybe. But is there a double standard being applied that sticks out like a sore thumb? Without question. “Columbia and other universities must decide whether to ban or permit all racist, sexist, homophobic, antisemitic and other offensive speech…They cannot punish anti-black racism while tolerating anti-Jewish racism, even if the First Amendment protects both…What is unacceptable is what most universities are doing today: protecting some minorities favored by DEI and intersectionality over Jews and other minorities disfavored by DEI…These ideas have been the source of some of the worst anti-Jewish and anti-Israel demonstrations, petitions and harassment.”

He wants these schools to succeed. He spent a career as a trailblazer at these prestigious institutions. He wants Jews to be able to safely attend and work there too. And right now, civil liberties are being afforded some groups, but not others. And that double standard is where he cannot stay silent:

4a. As Sam Beckett would say as soon as he transported into a new scary “Quantum Leap” episode, “OH BOY!” Our resident pro-Israel Columbia crusader, Shai Davidai, won’t be scared, and won’t let their voices drown ours out. So in this tweet, you see him planning to enter the loud, violent, and frankly intimidating mob of anti-Israel protests in Columbia University, with plans to protest peacefully in the midst of it all. He drafted the letter publicly, and is requesting the city of New York send its police to protect him and others who may join him, and not rely on campus police. “I am going to be on campus Monday morning and I am requesting police escort…for simply going to my own place of work.” Keep reading to see how it played out:

4b. I can’t decide if this is a climactic, or anticlimactic result. The school made the cowardly decision to deactivate Shai’s ID, so he couldn’t enter the school. They claimed it was because they “cannot guarantee his safety”. Give me a break. If it’s for safety, then they may as well not allow any Jews on campus. Or better yet, don’t allow the aggressors on campus. Emily Schrader shares this post, and says, “I hope Columbia is sued into oblivion for this gross misconduct.” These colleges are doubling down, and picking the wrong side of history:

5. Jake Tapper, who shared this column’s Spotlight just last week with (Anderson Cooper), shares a message sent from the Rabbi of Columbia’s Jewish Learning Initiative (JLI), to his Whatsapp group of students. In it, he personally recommends staying away from the campus for their own safety as Jews. “It is not our job as Jews to ensure our own safety on campus. No one should have to endure this level of hatred, let alone at school.” Maybe that was the right messaging, or maybe they should be encouraged to show up draped in Israeli flags. The mere fact that a man who’s taken his career teaching youth to be proudly Jewish, now thinks it isn’t wise to be proudly Jewish, is enough to make you cry:

6a. Daniel Negreanu continues to be a rockstar on the internet. Most posts are about poker, which is what he’s famous for, but when he chimes in about politics, including Israel, he is incredibly reasoned, and well-informed. Here he sees the video shared by journalist Neria Kraus, and explains that it looks eerily reminiscent of “The Third Wave”. For those unfamiliar, that was an experiment, that helped demonstrate how crowds would end up going along with behavior and attitudes that they would not normally share. As Daniel says, “This is the early stages of a brainwashed cult.” Yep:

6b. Very cool to read more about “The Third Wave”, which took place in a high school in Palo Alto, CA, 1976:

6c. I can’t resist sharing my own interview with Daniel, given the context. He was brilliant, and a pleasure:

7. Robert Kraft’s organization Stand Up to Jewish Hate releases yet another strong message. “It is my hope that Columbia and its leadership will stand up to this hate by ending these protests immediately and will work to earn back the respect and trust of the many of us who have lost faith in the institution.”

Joel Petlin shares this message, and clarifies that Kraft has “suspended donations to his alma mater, Columbia University”, and Joel suggests everyone who supports the school should follow suit until things change:

8. John Aziz is a British-Palestinian musician, and someone I’m honored to be in touch with. He wants to find ways to coexist, and is sickened by not only Hamas, but those who are spouting their ideologies on college campuses. “But this ongoing pattern of failure has not stopped American students from falling into the arms of Hamas. While support for theocratic militants may for many be a juvenile silliness that most will simply grow out of and cringe about in future years, there is a risk of people following through on their words and turning to violence and terror, very literally globalising the intifada. At the very least, this is a fertile recruiting ground for radicals.” It’s true, what we see happening on college campuses, used to only be conceivable in radicalized Islamic countries. But no more.

In an attempt to calm things down, Aziz explains a recipe for actual success. “What is actually needed to resolve the conflict and bring dignity and freedom to the Palestinian people — and what I wish these students would advocate for — are mature, empathetic, and compassionate leaders on both sides willing to work together to build towards coexistence, economic development, and opportunities for the ordinary people living in the land. This means mutual recognition of the legitimacy and rights of both peoples on the land.” Right now, not only is Hamas not willing to listen, neither are its American student mouthpieces:

9. Kassy Akiva shares a screenshot of a friend’s rejection letter to Columbia University’s School of Social Work. Doesn’t feel safe there as a Jew, doesn’t want to feel unwelcome to be herself, nor unsupported by peers and professors. Good for her. Glad she found another school, and I hope it’s a good experience:

10. Dr. Sheila Nazarian went to Columbia, and does not mince words about how much they are failing their Jewish students, and the Jewish community at large. “Meanwhile, the same morning that Davidai was banned, the pro-terror professor Mohammed Abdou, who notoriously endorsed Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad right after the October 7 attack, was still roaming the Liberation Encampment and freely engaging with students.” What we have is Jewish students unsafe to enter a campus they pay a small fortune a year to attend, while people who are not affiliated with the school, can safely camp out and call for an end to the Jewish state:

11a. “I am writing to you as a concerned Israeli student at Columbia University, along with 133 fellow Israeli students.” This is a letter sent to Shai Davidai, representing 133 students who feel unsafe due to being Israeli on campus. Shai shares a screenshot of it, as they requested assistance getting this distributed to the general public:

11b. Shai Davidai shares a letter he sent to New York Magazine’s journalist, who he accuses of changing the facts from the interview. A combination of malice and laziness is the only reason that can be, and for a journalist, both are pretty damning descriptors:

12. Sarah Tuttle-Singer channels a dark, classic musical, and realizes the bizarre dancing we’re seeing videos of from protesters, reminds her of Nazi scenes from “Cabaret”. A lovely group of people singing, until you realize they are a room full of Nazis. “I’m getting major “stag in the forest/ tomorrow belongs to me” vibes from the Columbia protestors.”

13. Kaz Daughtry, the NYPD Deputy Commissioner, shares a powerful post by the NYPD Chief about their being in full support of free speech, but absolutely needing to make arrests for antisemitic behavior that cross the lines of legality. “Just because you hold a sign while you’re threatening, harassing, intimidating and assaulting people doesn’t give you a free pass from criminal conduct. Being anti-Semitic and spewing hate to kids will never ever be tolerated in our city.” This was a huge clapback at AOC’s post btw. Chief of Patrol John Chell says this to her, “Maybe you should walk around Columbia and NYU and listen to their remarks of pure hatred. I will ensure those “units” will protect you as they do for all NYers 24/7/365.”

14. John Aziz, Hamza Howidy, Ahmad Israel and Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib are 4 wonderful Palestinian men who I’ve appreciated the words of, and have enjoyed texting or seeing in person. They each have different ideas, but are truly interested in what’s best for both Palestinians and Israelis. They are true peace activists. So what did the organizing group of the college campus protests do? The Columbia SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine – an ironic name if ever I’ve seen one) blocked them, Yep, they blocked actual Palestinian peace activists. No red flags there, huh? “The “pro-Palestinians” are blocking the pro-peace Palestinians.”

15a. Bari Weiss is all for free speech, and defends it even when she calls it reprehensible, but when speech becomes assault or battery, she says NO.

“It is not…a First Amendment right to physically attack another person. It is not a First Amendment right to detain another person as part of your protest. And while Americans are constitutionally protected when they say vile things, like wishing upon Jews a thousand October 7s, we are certainly free to criticize those who say them. We are also free to condemn institutions dedicated to the pursuit of truth who have abandoned that mission, and who stand by and do nothing meaningful to stop scenes like the ones of the past 48 hours. The students who support terror have given in to madness. Refusing to condemn them is madness.” It truly is, but the world seems ready to embrace madness the past decade or so, doesn’t it?

She uses The Free Press platform to invite 2 recent students who were victims of assault or battery, and asks them to speak their truths:

15b. Jonathan Lederer is a member of the new, strong and impressive generation of proud Zionists. If you are pro-Israel you can either be someone who cowers and minimizes his or her public Jewish identity, or like Jonathan and his twin brother, you can go into the heart of the Columbia University protests, and sing in peaceful counter-protest. He had bottles thrown at his face, water splashed onto him, and vile words of hate screamed at him about both Jews and Israel.

They also forcefully grabbed his American and Israeli flags and took them to start to light on fire. He is likely too young to even know that he actually mimicked a very famous moment in Dodgers and Cubs baseball history. He braved the belly of the beast, and took them back before they were alight, similar to Rick Monday’s famous moment on April 25th, 1976, when he saved an American flag on the field. I never realized until this moment that the people trying to burn the flags were doing it on none other than the centennial. Classy:

15c. Watch the short clip of this iconic moment, with the wonderful Vin Scully announcing the action:


1. Now let’s continue our college tour at another prestigious Ivy League institution, Yale University. Sahar Tartak, like Bari Weiss, is all for freedom of speech, but that isn’t the problem in these schools. “The issue isn’t students who glorify Hamas—as morally perverse as I find that view. It’s that Yale administrators and professors have cowered to the mob and have refused to stand up for the most basic Yale values by condemning their glorification of terrorism and demonization of Jews. Indeed, Pierson’s head of college told me in October that Yale’s 14 heads of college were all instructed not to advertise a Shabbat dinner mourning the lives of those lost on October 7.”

It’s that double standard, that we keep discussing as the glaring problem throughout the schools, and really all over the world. Well, the double standards aren’t the only problem. Actually criminal battery is as well, as she experienced directly. There was a huge student encampment on campus. “As a student journalist for the Yale Free Press, I went to check it out. Other reporters from the Yale Daily News were already on the scene…”

When they approached, visibly Jewish, they were stopped by a human blockade, that was only created for them, no other journalists or people. When she finally got around, and through, things got violent. “They pointed their middle fingers at me and yelled “Free Palestine,” and the taunting continued until a six-foot-something male protester holding a Palestinian flag waved the flag in my face and then stabbed me with it in my left eye. My assailant was masked and wearing a keffiyeh, concealing his identity. He also wore glasses and a black jacket. I started to yell and chase after him, but the wall of students continued to block me as I screamed.”
And sorry, there’s no happy ending with the campus police actually assisting, just a student journalist who’s still in physical pain today, because she’s Jewish. It’s ok to commit hate crimes against Jews you know, because it’s not really a hate crime if it’s just a Jew:

2. Sam Yebri has been a stalwart supporter of Israel, and the fight against antisemitism. He went to Yale at a similar time I went to UCLA, and seems to have had similar experiences as a Jew. Speakers who were lying about Israel, groups trying to bash Zionism, but most of that being quite fringe. No social media yet to pollute and brainwash en masse. “What had been relegated to the dark fringes is now the mainstream cause célèbre. Absent from those chants is any recognition of the evil of Hamas terrorists or the humanity of Israel’s residents. Like progressive sheep being led to their own slaughter by anti-progressive butchers, the young people we expect to lead America one day are being radicalized to hate our own country.”


My friend Rabbi Howard Tilman is a proud Northwestern alum, and is NOT ok with their anti-Zionist Jews of JVP, rewriting the Passover story in the most ironic way to fit their goals. “Don’t you dare try to teach about Passover while you call for and rally to support Israel’s destruction. You’re just showing your ignorance about Passover and about Israel.”


1a. Aaron Bandler excellently reports on the drama at USC. Their choice of valedictorian was a student who has social media posts reflecting and supporting anti-Israel views that crossed the very thin line into antisemitic territory. And now her speech has been canceled. The story was broken by We Are Tov, and now the typical backlash that implies the Jews are stifling her free speech is basically happening. However I will say that I think the school canceling her speech under the guise of “safety” is BS, just as it was BS when Columbia cited the same reasons for blocking Shai Davidai from entering. If a school wants to have a controversial speaker, they can do it and have security. This works both ways. If they are going to cancel because they agree that her antisemitic attitudes should not reflect the school, then SAY THAT, and make me proud. I can’t find fault in the people screaming about this, and poking holes in the reason given, because the reason given of “safety” is just nonsense:

1b. Here is the We Are Tov post that “broke” this story in the first place:

1c. Tabby Refael, who went to USC for grad school, sums up not only what is happening with their valedictorian controversy, but echoes my own attitudes on the matter. “If my alma mater had done its due diligence, it would have been very easy to find an antisemitic link calling to wipe out Israel on her Instagram bio. In fact, any 11-year-old with a smartphone could have made that discovery in under five minutes.” She also correctly insists that the reason of safety given by the school is ridiculous:


Aaron Sibarium writes this insane story about Middlebury College. I referred to it in a recent article, but had not delved into the details of the story. He explains that the Jewish students were creating a vigil for the victims of October 7th. 3 days after the massacre, well before things became “complicated”, with Israel fighting back. Seems pretty straight forward, right? Nope. The dean of students demanded they remove any reference to Jews to be, you know, “more inclusive”. 3 days after the biggest tragedy of Jews since the Holocaust, and the Jews on campus in the early stages of mourning were “All Lives Mattered”.

Ready for the sick epilogue? A month later, that same dean approved the Muslim students request to have a “Vigil for Palestine”. We really are just saying the quiet things out loud now, aren’t we?


1a. Yael Bar-tur brings up a fantastic point. “Remember when Jews at Harvard had to bring in their menorah every night at Hanukkah because the school couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t be vandalized? This “apartheid wall” is on display now at Harvard yard, complete with quotes from terrorists, guarded 24/7 by school security.”
Adding insult to injury, there’s a quote highlighted on the wall, and it’s a quote by Ghassan Kanafani, the terrorist who’s responsible for a massive attack of citizens at the Lod airport, near Tel Aviv. 26 people were murdered, many dozens injured. This man is quoted on the wall, because he’s seen as a hero for the haters of Israel:

1b. A reminder of how Harvard dealt with the Jews on Chanukah. Light the menorah, photo op for Claudine Gay, who was still in charge at the time, and then make the Jews hide away the menorah “for its own safety”. No double standard here, no siree. Shared by Jacob Baime:

2. Michael Rapaport does his best Michael Rapaport impression, and yells at, and cracks up at the thought that Donald Trump, who he has a history of angry-ranting against, may get elected president. And that if it happens, it will be directly because of these very protesters, who will end up protesting Donald Trump. They are creating the largest threat to Biden’s campaign, and the end result they would achieve, is one that would make them unhappier than ever. Yep:

3. Matthew Minsk is a student at Yeshiva University, and makes a plea for all of these people calling to stop sending their kids to the top universities, to rethink that strategy. No doubt it puts a huge burden on the young adults who need to brave the unfriendly waters of today, but how will our futures look if we are not able to continue getting important, influential positions, where we can still make a difference for ourselves and others. “Jewish communal interests — including but not limited to American support for the State of Israel — require Zionists and committed Jews to have a foot in the door at the uppermost levels of government and public policy. Rightly or wrongly, those positions generally require elite credentials, and to have people in place 20 years from now requires braving the storm today. If, instead, the Jewish community abandons these schools entirely, we will be set back for a generation. The reality is, a large portion of future presidential administrations and congressional staffers will come from the ranks of Ivy League alumni or those who graduated similarly-regarded schools. It would be irresponsible to abandon the playing field.” Rage, rage against the dying of the light…

4. If you’re a numbers guy, this one’s for you. “ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) today released the final statistics for antisemitic incidents in 2023, reporting a total of 8,873 incidents of assault, harassment, and vandalism across the country. The total represents a 140-percent increase from 2022 – already a record-setting year – and the highest level recorded since ADL started tracking this data in 1979.” Oy!

I include this in this section, because unsurprisingly, this directly relates to the college campus problem. Ready for it? Think it went up something like double? I wish. “Antisemitic activity reported on college and university campuses increased by 321 percent from 2022. In non-Jewish K-12 schools, 1,162 incidents were reported, an increase of 135 percent.”

And what about the statistics for the protests, which we could wish were peaceful, and pretend are just political statements, but we are well aware largely spill into antisemitic territory. “Israel-related antisemitic incidents most often took place in public areas, with 1,540 incidents in locations like libraries, public transportation and on the streets. Another 644 Israel-related incidents took place on college and university campuses. Jewish institutions were targeted in Israel-related incidents on 377 occasions and 156 Israel-related incidents took place at K-12 schools.” I’d like to believe we can only improve from here, but that’s like saying “at least it’s not raining”. We know how that usually ends:

5. This topic continues by sharing a letter drafted by StandWithUs, whose head of legal is my friend Yael Lerman. In it, they strongly suggest that schools follow the suggestions of the Columbia University task force on antisemitism. Ironically, Columbia should be taking on their own task force recommendations. Some of the those include, but are not limited to, “Enact time, place, and manner restrictions for protests: Prohibit protests in academic buildings, libraries, dormitories, dining halls, and near the entrances of those buildings. Establish, publish, and enforce designated locations for protests and designated times. Limit sound amplification, such as megaphones…Restrict attendance to those with university IDs.” Just to name a few:

6. Karen Lehrman Bloch wants us to start calling it like it is, and stop pretending that every time you call out hatred stemming from Islam, that that makes you the bad guy. She lists many of the ugly incidents from college campuses in the past week, and argues, “Part of the reason these mobs have been able to riot illegally is because of the threat of one word: Islamophobia…An Israeli friend once said to me: “Israelis have to believe that there’s a difference between Islam and Islamism, the radicalization of Islam. We have no choice.” I understand that. Not believing in a distinction quashes all hope for peace in the Middle East. And the Abraham Accords as well as the help from Jordan and Saudi Arabia against Iran gives reason to provide hope. But none of this means that we have no right to fear the millions who want to “globalize the Intifada.”

7. Dan Schnur takes a break from discussing Biden and Bibi, and instead chimes in thoughtfully about the college campus problem. “Most of us can retreat to our homes and neighborhoods and offices and restaurants and communities, where we surround ourselves with those who either approve of our support for a safe and secure Israel or at least who keep their disagreement to themselves. Our children and grandchildren of college age enjoy no such luxury. If these students are to pursue the education to which they are entitled, they have no choice but to confront their most virulent haters face-to-face on a daily basis, too often without the support of university administrators…” It’s true, either go to the handful of Jew-friendly schools in America, or be in a constant state of trial-by-fire.

8. David Suissa brings a perspective that I kind of love. He mocks these protestors, as not being brave, not being fearless, not fighting the power, but rather as lazily following the narrative handed to them, without a drop of research, nor a drop of consistency. “The fact that the United Nations condemns Israel more than all other nations combined tells us plenty not about Israel but about the United Nations. The fact that college rioters are focusing their venom on the world’s most condemned nation tells us plenty not about Israel but about the rioters. It tells us, among other things, that they are not revolutionaries but lame conformists.”

I have pictured them as channeling the hippie movement protesting the Vietnam war, and he points out the fallacy in that comparison. “To come across as authentic, a cause also needs a minimal level of credibility. These Israel-hating groups lost their credibility right after Hamas murdered, mutilated, raped and burned alive 1200 Israelis on Oct. 7– before any war started in Gaza. Instead of condemning the carnage, they brazenly defended it in the name of “resistance” and “liberation.”” Great piece:

9. Hamza Howidy writes a wonderful, heartfelt article about how he’s a Palestinian from Gaza – he’s an actual peace activist – and what they are saying and doing on these campuses is hypocritical Jew-hatred, that only hurts the cause. These groups have even blocked him and others like him, which is literally a case of not only cultural appropriation, but where the person being appropriated is being refused entry because the faker claims to do it better! Insane. “You know what would help the Palestinians in Gaza? Condemning Hamas’ atrocities. Instead, the protesters routinely chant their desire to “Globalize the Intifada.” Apparently they do not realize that the Intifadas were disastrous for both Palestinians and Israelis, just as October 7 has been devastating for the people of Gaza.” Thank you Hamza:

10. Debbie Lechtman from @Rootsmetals does a PERFECT job spelling out a few parts of the protests that have been LEGALLY PROTECTED behavior, and a multitude of things that are NOT. With visual aids. So simple, that a child can follow. Let’s hope these children do. Great post:

11. This is the way to finish off the special category of university Jew-hatred. Eve Barlow never lets you down. She writes in a way that I adore: Intelligent, informative, passionate, and personal. She finishes off the topic for me this week because she encapsulates everything I’ve written about so far. Columbia, Shai Davidai, blockades, assault and battery of students, blood libels, pogroms, and giving you the tweets and video sources that correspond. Yes this is hard to read:

“We are not going to try and appease people. We have to fight them. There’s no negotiating with this kind of terrorism, and terrorism it is. Domestic terrorism. Universities have prioritized “safe spaces” over intellectual curiosity and reasonable debate for far too long. It’s fascist, it’s not liberal. And now it’s no longer safe for Jewish people as a result of decades worth of mainstreaming antisemitic ideas and bastardised history. These universities are training grounds for extremism. Did anyone have any success negotiating with the Hitler Youth? Are we just waiting for Jewish kids to die?”

Oh, and she also strongly ties it all together to Pesach/Passover, which is the other topic this week, so it’s perfection:


1. David Bernstein, the founder of the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values (JLV), writes a cover story for the Jewish Journal. In a timely way, he discusses the 4 sons from the Passover Haggadah, as a lesson in how to deal with our own anti-Israel Jews. He tells an interesting anecdote, about how a Chabad House recently had divergent ideas by the Rabbi and his wife. She felt these Jews shouldn’t be welcomed anymore. He feels they are still Jews, and not to cut them off.

Sooner rather than later, we may be put to the test, at our own seders. “They are somebody’s children and grandchildren, nephews and nieces. They attended our shuls, camps, youth groups and day schools. They were taught by our liberal educators and rabbis that social justice means identifying with the oppressed. They then graduated from the warm embrace of empathetic liberalism to the binary world of “liberatory” activism, a world that divides humanity into oppressed and oppressors and places “Jewish power” and Israel front and center. We’ve literally raised these young activists. And one or more may be coming to your Seder Monday evening.”

Bringing this even closer to the seder, Bernstein analyzes what to do about the “wicked son”, as a lesson for how much breath to spare on these anti-Zionist Jews. “In the Torah the Seder leader does not respond directly to the questioner, the Wicked Son, but to all the others at the Seder table. According to this reading, we should ignore the Wicked Son and use the provocative question as an opportunity to give the prescribed message to the whole table. I like this answer a lot, perhaps because it reinforces my own sense about how we should handle radical young Jews who scorn Israel: Mostly ignore them and stick to our larger mission and message.” There are so many worth talking to, and about, so why keep ignoring those who need our attention, for those who have already lost it.

2a. Yashar Ali shared the annual Passover greeting by President Biden, and unlike those I see throwing shade on it for mentioning a 2-state solution, I actually enjoyed the overall sentiment, full of support. Mostly. But Yashar does something particularly helpful, he put the previous year’s greeting up side by side for comparison. I would have loved to have seen mention of peace, prosperity and safety for Jews and Palestinians, and a 2-state solution, to at least show consistency. But given that it was a straight up, boring and safe holiday greeting, to a nation who has overcome genocide attempts, but no political pandering, I grew irritated about this year’s statement. I’m aware things have to be catered to the world we live in, as in the war that’s being waged. So bringing up college campuses was highly appropriate, though even that was only briefly glossed over. But bringing up a 2-state solution, which clearly is a divisive issue for people in Israel, who feel let down after generations of rejected 2-state solution offers, is a heck of a mic drop in a holiday about the freedom from bondage of the people you are making the statement towards.

If bringing up the 2-state solution is a message to us Jews, then it feels like a rapping of the knuckles while being praised, being told I love you but stay in line or else. And if the message was meant for those on the outside pining for the 2-state solution, then why do they warrant a message of appeasement during a message to us, on our holiday? “Hey everyone, I want to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day this year, and also want to remind you that you can be doing much more to improve the lives of your children.” I mean, maybe those moms CAN be better to their kids, but is Mother’s Day the time to reproach them for what they lack?

2b. Perfect example of the same problem, from Biden’s former boss, Barack Obama. Thank you for the Passover greeting and wishes. WHY do you have to bring up Gaza? Why does this have to be the epitome of a “both sides” style message? “And in a time when there’s been so much suffering and loss in Israel and Gaza, let’s reaffirm our commitment to the Jewish people, and people of all religions, who deserve to feel safe and secure wherever they live and practice their faith.”

Seriously, Israel AND Gaza…and people of ALL religions. It’s not even veiled how much people who would never dream to “both sides” other issues, have absolutely no problem doing it when it comes to Jews or Israelis.

Prove me wrong. Show me a message from Obama or Biden this year to Muslims on a holiday, let’s say Ramadan, where one of those presidents empathetically ALSO brings up Jews and Israelis. Show me a version of a “both sides” the other way around, where the Israelis are the ones who are also brought up inappropriately, even though it’s supposed to be a greeting to Muslims. Blah:

3a. Apparently there’s a new Haggadah ready to go, for the self-hating Jews, I mean, Israel-hating Jews, called “An Anti-Zionist Haggadah for a Liberation Seder. Gag me with a spoon.

But there’s such an on-point tweet by Rabbi Wolpe about it. “It is actually very easy to have an anti-Zionist Seder. Simply remove the story, the ending, the purpose and the prayers. On second thought, just go out for pizza.” Seriously:

3b. David May shows highlights (lowlights would be a better term) of this Haggadah. And it’s almost unreal that this isn’t satire. “This year the people of Mitzrayim are in Gaza. This year the IDF is Pharaoh…” I’ve been culturally appropriated by my own people:

4. A highly empathetic message from my friend Ahmad. “Tomorrow will mark the 200th day since the horrors of October 7…hearts remain broken as loved ones celebrate Passover with empty chairs at the dinner table.”

5. Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib is a rockstar. He has every emotional reason to be out there enjoying the mobs against the “Zionists”, considering his indescribable personal loss in Gaza, but yet he is a friend, and sends this wonderful Pesach greeting to us Jews. Note that he also keeps the hostages who are missing Passover in mind, and he does NOT “both sides” it like our aforementioned presidents. Thanks, buddy, see you soon:


1. “Go down in the tunnels, way under Gaza land
And tell old Sinwar, Let my people go!
For goodness sake let’s make a deal, Let my people go!
We need them back so we can heal, Let my people go!”

I love Ari Lesser’s music, which is tapped into our Jewish pride, and the geopolitics of the moment. Thank you to StandWithUs for partnering with him for this song, just in time for the Passover seders:

2a. I know there are a bunch of great a capella groups out there, but I seem to gravitate towards Six13 each year. There’s a cute new one about Pesach/Passover to the tunes of ABBA, but I especially loved this one that I missed last year – a non-satirical tribute to “The Prince of Egypt”:

2b. An older one, but to the tune of one of my favorite earworms, here’s “Uptown Passover”:

3. Not to be outdone, and wish they had a new Pesach medley, but I could watch/listen to this Maccabeats version of “Les Misérables” on loop, and never get bored. So damn good:

4. South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein records a message for Pesach. He wishes “that this Pesach, the time of miracles and redemption brings us the ultimate redemption…where freedom and peace will reign across the world.” He explains that the adversity Israel faces, is well beyond what can be expected, and that we overcome. “None of it makes rational sense. The very existence of the Jewish people is a mystery – we’re the only nation in recorded history to have survived mass exile, been scattered to every corner of the globe, and then regrouped and returned to their ancestral homeland.” He sees our path as continuing the trend that’s always been intended for us. We put all of our pain into the story that we tell in the Haggadah. We were born in slavery, and now we can channel the pain in our lives, and use it in the telling of the story, and eating the Bread of our Freedom, the matzah.


1a. Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney are Catholic Irish, and not proud of how their country has depicted Israel in the hours after October 7th. Brian Fishbach reports, “On the morning of Oct. 7, McAleer and McElhinney were in their homeland of Ireland. “We noticed, and even our friends, on Oct. 8, they started talking about…how terrible it was that electricity was being turned off in Gaza. There was a ‘need for a ceasefire,’ and all right away, Oct. 7, they were trying to forget Oct. 7. They were trying to push it down the memory hole and talk about something else…That really compelled us to go to Israel and to talk to the people. We thought, ‘we need to tell this story and we need to find a creative way to do that.’”

They have certainly done that, and more. They made their first ever visit to Israel, and documented what dozens of people were feeling and saying. Bringing it back home, they are turning those words – verbatim – into a play that debuts in New York on May 2nd. “Our plan is to bring this play on the road and we plan to go to the Ivy League colleges in the fall. We plan to go to Harvard to Princeton. That’s our plan. This is a not-for-profit, a 501c3.” If this manages to actually run in schools, I can’t think of a more necessary stage RIGHT NOW. Thank you, allies, let’s make this happen!

1b. To get tickets for the play, which runs May 2nd until June 16th:


1. I’m not sure that everyone in the comments section seems to be getting that this is a joke, but damn do I find it funny. A play on the “For everything else, there’s MasterCard” commercials, as brought to you by Facts For Peace, and the very funny L.E. Staiman:

2a. “I was the Ayatollah on the train” Craiglist ad. Fantastic, The Daily Brine:

2b. Ouch, clever, pointed, and edge-of-spear sharp humor:

3. The Mossad IL, aka Shawn Eni, with a great comment on this villainous piece about Qatar:

4a. While The Onion continues to disappoint me (used to be my favorite satire, but their anti-Israel bias is so thinly veiled it makes SNL look like Zionist sketch comedy), that it brings me to some wickedly clever pieces about the colleges this week – courtesy of The Babylon Bee:

4b. Amazing. “Columbia is an inclusive school and we don’t want to offend anyone…For that reason, we’ve banned all Jews from campus to make Columbia a safer place for protestors to chant ‘From The River To The Sea, Let’s Kill All The Jews’.”

The Jewish a capella group Shir Bruin, led by Mayim Bialik performing proudly on Bruin Walk, on 4/23/00 – Yom Limmud, Passover!

Boaz Hepner works as a Registered Nurse in Saint John’s Health Center. He moonlights as a columnist, where his focuses are on health, and Israel, including his Chosen Links section of the Journal. He is a Pico/Robertson native, and lives here with his wife Adi, and children Natalia and Liam. He can be found with his family enjoying his passions: his multitude of friends, movies, poker and traveling.

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