On Dec.16, 2015, Vice Chancellor Janina Montero released an email in reference to anti-Semitic Facebook posts shared by a member of our community.
While I applaud Vice Chancellor Montero for condemning the hateful rhetoric, the email – without context or explanation – was inadequate.
Individuals at UCLA have long accused the Jewish community of having what they refer to as “Jewish privilege.” That email, without context, may be used to play into their twisted narrative. Moreover, many students were unaware of the incident before receiving the email, leaving them confused. Therefore, for the sake of transparency, I write this piece to share with the Bruin community the words that were so offensive they warranted such a response.
On Dec. 8, 2015, the administration was made aware that a student at UCLA, who also works at the UCLA Center for Prehospital Care, had made unapologetically anti-Semitic comments on a Facebook post by UCLA alumna Mayim Bialik about Zionism.
This individual employed traditional anti-Semitic rhetoric to attack the Jewish people, the Jewish state and the Jewish faith. These statements are rooted in nothing but hate, which is why they can and should be characterized as nothing other than blatant anti-Semitism.
She makes dehumanizing and stereotypical allegations about Jews and the power of the “Jewish collective,” saying, “You’re f—ing trolls, armchair politicians who do nothing but pick your nose, scratch your a– … you come into our communities and destroy our small businesses.” She then goes on to say, “You own the entertainment industry, and apparently you have so much power that you want to get me fired and sent back to the ditch I came from, don’t you? Flex your little muscles, do your worst … Where I come from, people like you, with your privilege and your wealth, are not welcomed because we know that with you comes the end of our world, sacrificed at the whims of your fancy.”
The student then attacks the Jewish state and the legitimacy of Jewish self-determination saying, “Go back to Israel, then f—ing Zionist pigs. You don’t belong here either, this land belongs to the indigenous people who were already here. Since you’re so superior, go murder some Palestinian children so you can have their parents arrested and move into their home. Greedy lifeless pieces of s— people. Capitalist colonizers who steal and kill from other races to promote your dead ideologies.”
To add pain to injury, she has the audacity to speak ill of the Jewish experience during the Holocaust. She says,“… Spare me your (H)olocaust stories. My people have been systematically enslaved and destroyed by this country, who removes them every time they become a nuisance to white people. No one is hauling your Jewish a– to a concentration camp today …”
She adds, “… go back to Poland or whatever freezer-state you’re from, and realize that faith does not constitute race,” completely denying the fact that Jews were almost always treated as second-class citizens in Europe, if they were treated as citizens at all.
Lastly, the student then savagely denies any and all diversity of the Jewish community saying, “If you’re a Jew, you’re white. Not black, not middle eastern, not Asian – white.”
And let’s not forget her final farewell, “Kiss my a– you Zionist bastards – I hope you all burn in hell on earth for the crimes committed by your people in the name of their Gods.”
In just a little over a year at UCLA I have interacted with remnants of anti-Semitism far too often. They come in the form of “conversations” about Israel, speeches about purported human rights, and eligibility for student leadership positions. It is the new normal and it is numbing.
But what sends chills down my spine is that in this instance, anti-Semitism has manifested itself into the most clear, evil form of rhetoric. It can no longer be absolved or manipulated by subjectivity. In this instance, anti-Semitism is indisputably right before our eyes.
Anti-Semitism is alive and well all over the world – least of all at a revered higher education institution like UCLA.
This incident is not unique, nor are the statements shared by the perpetrator new. Hateful rhetoric, discriminatory attitudes and bigoted sentiments against the Jewish community exist across the UC – it is a fact we can no longer afford to deny.
Am I appalled by this incident? Absolutely.
Am I surprised? Never.
This is the reality of being a Jewish student on a UC campus today.
Mokhtarzadeh is a second-year political science student and vice president of Bruins for Israel.