Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

Anti-Semitic Graffiti in Berkeley, Again

Posted by Oyster on September 24, 2008

Where in the Bay Area do you find a hostile environment for Jews? Only in Berkeley.

Wow, would you look at the time? We’ve been long overdue for another round of Antisemitic graffiti in Berkeley. I know that I saw some prime examples in my short tenure in the People’s Republic. The self-proclaimed Progressive community (beware anyone who entitles themselves so immodestly) is known for Free Speech… but only the kind of speech that they agree with. In the above graphic, you’ll see one of the BlueStar PR posters that were vandalized earlier this month. In the graphic below, you’ll see a different poster that was vandalized recently outside of Eschleman Hall.

Looks like Chancellor Birgeneau issued a statement denouncing the hate crimes. “Crimes”, you ask? Well, there also was some anti- Students for Justice in Palestine graffiti found in a Dwinelle classroom, that eloquently read (quotation from the Daily Cal):

On Friday, graffiti appeared in a classroom in Dwinelle Hall, reading, “SJP, Don’t Fuck with Jews on this campus ANYMORE!” along with a Jewish star labeled “Never Again.” A nationalistic Israeli statement in Hebrew was also found on the walls of the classroom.

Probably planted there so that they could get some even-handed statement out of the Chancellor’s PR vending machine.

Them pro-Israel whipper-snappers! In my day, it took four Jews with black eyes, a smashed-in Berkeley Hillel window, and the occupation of Wheeler Hall to get such statements! Harumph.

Melissa Solin has the chutzpah to tell the world that equating a Star of David and the Nazi Swastika is, you know, Antisemitic. How dare you try to call those who hate Israel Antisemitic, you fascist whelp! Whoa, sorry there. Channelling one of my “progressive” professors there for a second.

Swastika = Star of David

The Algebra of Hate: Swastika = Star of David

Yaman rambles immaturely about how the “Star of David = Swastika” part of the hate crime was  planted by Zionist agitators. Nice. I guess he’ll like my equally baseless conjecture above about the origin of the Dwinelle Hall graffiti. Sorry Y, but it cuts both ways.

Hey Berkeley Jew-haters, did you not get your fill this week? Then have I got a deal for you! Come out to see the SF Voice for Israel get lynched as they fly Israeli flags at the “How Berkeley Can You Be?” parade. Nothing says Berkeley pride like a good ol’ Israel flag burning, as my professors always said:

Join San Francisco Voice For Israel as we march for the first time in the 13th annual “How Berkeley Can You Be Parade.”

Sunday, September 28th, 10:30AM
The parade starts at California and University in Berkeley. Look for the Israeli flags.

Join San Francisco Voice For Israel as we march for the first time in the 13th annual “How Berkeley Can You Be Parade.” “How Berkeley Can You Be” attracts 15,000 people from across the region to see the spectacle, described by the organizers as interesting, irreverent, funny, and provocative. Some participants come to be outrageous, and some come to promote their causes.

We will be promoting our cause, Israel. Berkeley has gained the reputation as a city that is hostile to Israel and even to Jews in general. Many people have convinced themselves that they can not be public about their support for Israel and the harsh and shrill rhetoric of the anti-Israel forces have helped to silence public support for Israel. San Francisco Voice for Israel has demonstrated several times in Berkeley and has seen firsthand that there is much more support for Israel in Berkeley than people had been led to believe.

By marching in this parade, we will be promoting a positive view of Israel. More importantly, we will be “coming out of the closet,”  as Zionists and supporters of Israel. We will be showing Berkeley that Israel is something worthy of our support and that we are proud to support the world’s only Jewish state.

Please come and join us. Come as you are or dress outrageously. Most importantly, come to be counted. The larger our contingent, the more impressive we will be and the more of a positive impact we can make for Israel.

San Francisco Voice for Israel


17 Responses to “Anti-Semitic Graffiti in Berkeley, Again”

  1. Tommy said

    I am always interested in different perspectives on mid-east politics. Obviously, it’s a tense topic for many people and often they have views that sound quite extreme. Even though I typically don’t agree with extreme views on from any side, it’s still interesting to listen and try to understand how the person feels and what their motivation is. I was disappointed with this article, because the mixing of the author’s views and sarcastic comments made if very hard to understand exactly what the author was even trying to say.

  2. yaman said

    Actually to correct the mischaracterization of my immature (it’s actually “amateur”) rambling, I did not say that it was “planted by Zionist agitators.” I am emphasizing the fact that nobody knows who actually did it, and yet one student organization engaged in immediate accusations regarding who was behind it. In my view those accusations are what led to the graffiti regarding SJP.

    And leeching my bandwidth in the same post you distort what I wrote? Come on now, bad manners.

  3. d2 said

    It’s nice to see Yaman engaging in what he claims to be against: student group bickering. He is unfairly attacking a student group for supposedly attacking his student group unfairly!

    Regardless, last year his group paraded around a sign of the entire land of Israel covered in a Palestinian flag. In fact, their t-shirts have the entire Land of Israel covered in a Kaffiya. Then they held signs calling an Israeli defense official a nazi who wants to commit another holocaust.

    I think it’s pretty obvious who the racist aggressors are on campus…

  4. Oyster said


    I’m sorry that you found it hard to determine what I was trying to say. That’s probably because I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to convey. I was merely letting my audience know of what happened, and venting. If you have particular questions, feel free to ask.

  5. Oyster said


    Sorry for that mistake. I’ll update “immature” to “amateur”.

    When you wrote, “maybe even somebody trying to frame a connection that
    does not exist between the two messages”, it is clear that you are
    implying that someone stood to gain by allegedly adding the clearly
    Antisemitic content to the already pro-Palestinian message. Invoking
    Occam’s Razor and conservation of character, one may deduce that you
    are not referring to the Amish, the Easter Bunny, or Clark Kerr. Do
    you feel that it’s an exaggeration that you were implying that
    pro-Israel actors (in the neutral sense of the word) might have had
    the motive to allegedly add the Antisemitic algebra? This is hardly a

    Speaking of bad manners… did you bother to check where that image is
    hosted? It links to your image, yes. But if you right-click on the
    image and go to ‘Properties’, you’ll see that the location of the file
    is on the Oy Bay site. Check your server logs if you don’t believe
    me… Trust me, I deplore hot-linking as much as the next blogger.

  6. Oyster said


    P.S.- I’ll link the photo to your post if you prefer. I just link my images in general to give credit to where they come from.

  7. Oyster said


    Good point regarding Yaman’s contradictory statements.


    I have to say, Y: your post was pretty skimpy on any substantial and
    specific references to what exactly Tikvah did that was so defamatory
    to SJP. Could you cite some emails, posts, pictures, flyers, etc.?
    Otherwise, it sounds like you are defaming them as much as you claim
    that they are defaming SJP.


    I’m going to dish out the same call for facts that I’m laying at the
    feet of Yaman: can you back up what you are claiming regarding what
    SJP did last year? I mean, I recall SJP doing much more extreme stuff
    in my day, but fair is fair…

  8. yaman said

    Oyster: thanks for clarifying image issues. If you want to see what Tikvah members were claiming, check the comments section on my post. There are images there.

    This is the last comment I’ll leave on this post, and I’ll try to wrap it up because I am bored of this issue now. My emphasis was on the impossibility of narrowing it down. No doubt, some people do have a motive of doing anything possible to discredit the phrase “Free Palestine” and attack the credibility of SJP, but that doesn’t mean they did it, and I never accused them of doing it. But that is not a central point of this discussion.

    Regarding D2’s claims, again, more distortions. We held signs calling somebody a Nazi? There’s another libelous claim. What D2 might be referring to is a die-in protest SJP had condemning the statements of Matan Vilnai, Israeli deputy defense minister, when he warned Palestinians that they were bringing upon themselves a “shoah.” His words, not ours, and we were condemning them, not using them as “proof.” Our group has never drawn analogies between Israel and Nazi Germany. In fact, at an event last year where a non-student from off campus held up a sign pointing at a Tikvah-member-disrupter in our audience with the phrase “Nazi” and an arrow, we requested that he take it down or leave the room because it was offensive.

    On the point about the map, yes, we have a map of Palestine with all the destroyed villages in what is now Israel painted with the colors of the Palestinian flag. It’s called history people: Israel didn’t exist before 1948. If that offends you, take it out on the history books, not SJP. That is like getting offended because a map of North America doesn’t say “United States of America” but instead shows where different tribes lived before they were murdered and kicked off the land that was to be stolen. I know it’s part of the Israeli government’s fantasy that it existed throughout history and always will but hey, Israel’s is just like every other government: it didn’t exist forever, and it probably won’t. No need to get mythical about it.

  9. d2 said

    First, Yaman is outright lying. They did not ask the person with the “NAZI” sign to take it down. In fact, a Zionist pulled the sign away. Then the antisemitic sign holder yelled slurs and attempted to attack the Zionist.

    Regarding evidence of my earlier claims:

    Here is a photo of their sign:

    Here are photos of their t-shirt:

    Here are photos of them equating Israel with Nazi Germany
    “No Holocaust in Gaza”: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3063/2887358168_5eeea208ab_o.jpg
    “Not Another Holocaust, Stop the Genocide Against Palestinians”: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3243/2886523915_fa4a58239c_o.jpg

    There’s more. At an ASUC Senate meeting someone testified the following:

    “Mr. White said he would like to bring to the Senate’s attention an event that happened during Israeli Apartheid Week. On the night of Monday, February 4, a lecture was held by Students for Justice In Palestine that he attended…and towards the end of the lecture, a man stood up and said, quote, “I personally feel that the current situation in Israel was worse than Hitler’s first six years in Germany.” Mr. White said that equating his people with Nazis was unacceptable. And the fact that this happened at an SJP event was deplorable. He never felt more threat¬ened or hurt, personally, in his life. He wouldn’t tolerate these kinds of things being said against his peo¬ple on this campus.”


    “Mr. Weinberg said that at the Israeli Apartheid Week, there was a big rally, and he heard chants of, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” The way he inter-preted that was the call for the destruction of a nation that exists at that time between the river and the sea. The message should be one of cooperation, not eliminating a country.”

    SJP admitted that they led a “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” chant last spring. It wasn’t just isolated members. It was led by one of the top leaders and most members of the audience joined in.

    Another student said:
    “There was a lot of cursing, a lot of “f” words, a lot of “f-you,” and a lot of “f-Israel.” For him, that was extremely disturbing…Mr. Moghtader said that when students from Students for Justice In Palestine came up to him, and point-blank in his face, said “f-you, take your sign and get the hell out of here,” after trying to rip it, was ludi-crous.

    “One of his friends mentioned someone saying something about “the chosen peo¬ple.” Somebody came up to them, a student from SJP, said, “You think you’re the chosen people. You think you have everything and that you can do whatever you want. You think you can just kill people.”

    Source document: http://www.asuc.org/documents/Spring08/1st0305.078.doc

  10. Dan said

    Hey Yaman,

    Israel did exist for 3000 years. The modern nation state was re-established in 1948, but that does not mean that people were not calling it Israel for thousands of years. Check your history books.

    While you are checking those books, let me know when there was a State of Palestine? I know one has been offered many times over the past century but it was continuously rejected. I also know that the Romans renamed Israel “Palestine” as an insult after expelling the Jews 2000 years ago, in addition to giving nice Latin names like “Nablus” to cities like Shechem, but that does not establish that there was state of Palestine there.

    So unless you are referring to states, Israel and Palestine both exist, but Israel existed longer.

    For hate material, one needs only look at hte SJP website.

  11. Tom P, said

    D2 and Dan, you really really are misinterpreting our message. On our website we say that “Our dedication to the human rights of the Palestinian people is rooted in a fundamental respect for the human rights of all people. These include the right of all civilians, including Palestinians and Israelis, not to be the targets of violence.

    Just as we condemn the racism and discrimination underlying the policies and laws of the state of Israel, we reject any form of hatred or discrimination against any religious, racial, or ethnic group”. http://calsjp.org/about/
    If this is hate speech, your definition of hate speech is pretty comprehensive.

    As for the map, yes, we do treat the whole country as one territorial entity. So what? If you watch weather reports in Israel you will usually see a map of the whole country too. Does this imply the weather reporters all want to throw Palestinians into the sea? the map you link to actually has a sign next to it that clarifies this is a map of historical Palestine, not a vision for an ethnically clean future. On the flyers we distributed at the event when this was taken we explained about the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948, and the final paragraph was –
    “Israel’s refusal to recognize this injustice has been at the root of the Israeli-Arab conflict ever since. For Palestinians this has meant sixty years of separation from their homeland, from the families they left behind, from their land and property, expropriated by the state. For Israelis this resulted in the creation of a militarized society, boasting the strongest army in the region but still unable to provide real security for its citizens. PALESTINIANS DESERVE TO RETURN TO THEIR HOMELAND. The ending of this forced separation between Israelis and Palestinians is an opportunity for reconciliation, for coexistence, for the creation of a just and peaceful society by recognizing the rights of both sides. The first step is to remember”.

    This is our message – recognizing the rights of both sides by remembering. None of this implies uprooting anyone or throwing anyone into the sea. If people are aware of all these things we say, and yet deliberately keep misrepresenting us, we are not responsible.

  12. Tom P, said

    as for Holocaust comparisons, the main purpose of that rally was to protest the deaths of over a hundred people over one weekend in Gaza, many of whom were civilians, justified by Vilnai’s threats to cause a “Shoah” to the Palestinians. This is what people meant when they said “no Holocaust in Gaza” – in other words, this threat is unacceptable. If anyone went beyond that and said what is going on is actually the same as the Holocaust we definitely condemn that and don’t support it in any way. And we definitely, by no stretch of the imagination, would ever compare jews as a group to Nazis, both because we are against racism and because many of us are Jewish.

    While we are on the topic, the recent “SJP stop fucking with the Jews” graffiti was accompanied by a Star of David and the slogan “Never again”, which also references the Holocaust. I’m sure you would like to equally condemn this implicit linking of our group to Naziism.

  13. D2 said

    Tom P: I’ll address each of your points:

    #1. What your website says is irrelevant. Your actions do not match the language on your website. You say all kinds of ridiculous things on your website, like that you care about Jewish civilian deaths just as much as Arab ones. All of your events prove that claim is clearly false; in fact, you practice a fairly strong racist message that Jewish deaths are nowhere near as important as Arab ones. (Your “die-in” event is just one example of that.)

    #2. The issue with the map isn’t that you treat the whole region as one territorial entity; it’s that you treat it as one territorial entity THAT IS ARAB. Even if you claim that the map really represents some narrative about a “people” that didn’t even exist at the time of Israel’s creation, the standard is really what a reasonable person would believe. And a reasonable person looking at that sign would obviously think it is calling for the destruction of Israel and its replacement by an Arab state. Whether that includes ethnic cleansing and throwing all Jews into the sea is a little bit more debatable, but I think a reasonable person could easily assume that–especially given the assumption from Palestinian leadership that any future Palestinian state would be erased of any Jewishness, including the dismantling of any Jewish towns, however important and historical they are, and the removal of any Jewish residents.

    #3. The very narrative you adopt, that there was a Palestinian-Arab people uprooted from their land in 1948, is an anti-Semitic lie. The Palestinian-Arab nation did not exist in 1948. At that time the term “Palestinian” meant Jews residing in the Mandate of Palestine. The notion of a Palestinian-Arab nation was created much later as part of an attempt to drive Jews from the land of Israel.

    The fact is that after Arabs rejected numerous plans to live in peace with the Jews, many were uprooted from the land in a war they advocated. The fact is that Jews are an indigenous people with a deep historical connection to the land. The fact is that most of the Arabs who were uprooted actually moved to the land in the few decades before 1948 because Jews had revived the economy in the area. They did not have that strong of a connection to that particular land.

    If SJP discussed the facts instead of spreading an anti-Semitic narrative only meant to destroy Israel, they would be a legitimate political group. But unfortunately they choose the anti-Semitic, hate filled path.

    #4. Regarding your coverage of Matan Vilnai’s comments, it’s obvious that when you use the word holocaust you are referencing the Holocaust. Again, a reasonable person would assume you are saying that an Israeli official literally called for something like the Holocaust to be committed against Arabs. Your signs and words clearly indicate that. If SJP actually cared, they would be careful about that language. But they don’t. They have never shied away from anti-semitic hate speech.

  14. Tom P, said

    1. D2, if we hand out a whole bunch of flyers at our event that call “for reconciliation, for coexistence, for the creation of a just and peaceful society by recognizing the rights of both sides”, I don’t really understand how any reasonable person would see that as calling for “a future Palestinian state [that] would be erased of any Jewishness, including the dismantling of any Jewish towns”. You seem to think that the hidden motives you attribute to us override what we actually say, so there isn’t really any way we can convince you otherwise.

    2.”The very narrative you adopt, that there was a Palestinian-Arab people uprooted from their land in 1948, is an anti-Semitic lie. The Palestinian-Arab nation did not exist in 1948″.
    I honestly never understood this argument. Almost a million people were living in the area that became Israel. Most of them (600-750 thousand) were driven out – either directly by force, or indirectly by not being allowed to come back. Some of them defined themselves before the war as Palestinians, others as arabs, and still others as the residents of a certain village or town. Why is the self-definition issue so important? one way or another they were made to leave or prevented from returning, and lost all their property in the process.

    3. “most of the Arabs who were uprooted actually moved to the land in the few decades before 1948” – that’s a claim made by one writer, Joan Peters, that has been discredited over and over again, even by mainstream zionist historians. And to say “They did not have that strong of a connection to that particular land” is just ignorant. There are accents, surnames, types of clothes, folklore etc which are typical of each village or town.

    4. “you practice a fairly strong racist message that Jewish deaths are nowhere near as important as Arab ones. (Your “die-in” event is just one example of that.)
    Actually at the die-in event Yaman spoke about the civlians attacked in Sderot and condemned that, and in previous events we had little flags symbolizing both Palestinian and Israeli children killed.
    For some reason people expect us to react to every single violent event happening on both sides, and if we don’t we’re racists. Do you regularly go and protest every single death, both Israeli and Palestinian? This was an exceptional case of scores of civilians dying over one weekend.

    5. “Again, a reasonable person would assume you are saying that an Israeli official literally called for something like the Holocaust to be committed against Arabs”. I have to tell you, as a native Hebrew speaker, that it’s pretty rare for an official to threaten anyone with a “shoah”, however you interpret it. And for goodness’ sake, apart from the terminology issue let’s not forget that people were actually killed, scores of civilians over a single weekend.
    Again, I have to say I find it surprising that you are (rightly) against Holocaust comparisons in the case of Israeli policies, but you can’t condemn implicit comparisons of a student group to Nazis. So who gets to decide when Holocaust comparisons can be used?

  15. Tom P, said

    BTW the claim that Palestinians never actually lived in Palestine appears in Dershowitz’s book “The Case for Israel”, but is actually lifted from Joan Peters’ book.

    Here is an article debunking Peters’ claims

  16. shanamaidel said

    Getting into this debate generally gets nowhere. And I do mean nowhere.
    I suggest that if everyone long term really does care about this issue about all the people who do live on those parcels of land- then what could you do to make sure there is good clean water there- or less trahs, or less guns, or less poverty and debt (which is universally bad between Israelis and Arab-Palestinians)

    How would you get these groups, at war with each other, to sit together and work on basic needs, especially if it would make he majority of political positions irrellent for a moment? Just so that basic services are met for everyone, so that various people are trained to take control of thier own lives?

    This ia by far the most desperate need in the “situatiatsia” A Need to learn how to control ones life for positive change, irrelevant of the warring around. And foot on the ground Israelis and Palestinian-Arabs need to do it themselves, and not to make a whole hoo-deal out of it. Only then can they start worry about major political actions.

  17. Leya said

    Hey Tomer! 🙂
    Haven’t been to your blog in a while. Keep up the good work!! Why am I not surprised to hear that this happened at Berkeley, brings back undergrad memories! 😛

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