Jewish Voice for Peace, Bay Area firmly denounces the antisemitic flyers found at UC Berkeley during the week beginning Monday, September 19, 2016. As JVP has outlined in its statement on antisemitism115:
Contemporary expressions of antisemitism include treating Jewish people as a monolithic group, stereotyping Jewish people as rich or greedy, or demonizing Jews as all-powerful or as secretly in control of political events. These tropes are evident when the U.S. is exempted from responsibility for its unconditional support of Israeli apartheid, and instead the U.S.-Israel relationship is blamed solely on Jewish power.
These flyers clearly use the trope of “all powerful Jews” to claim that “Jewish bullies” are behind the censoring of free speech at UC Berkeley, and also to blame the US-Israel relationship on Jewish power. It was pro-Israel, Zionist groups - not “Jewish people” - who attacked academic freedom at UC Berkeley. The university has an obligation to educate their community on the critical distinction between terms like Zionist and Jewish.
We state in the strongest possible terms that expressions of bigotry have no place in the movement for Palestinian human rights, a movement committed to justice, peace, and respect for international law.
All too often such incidents of antisemitism are wrongly blamed on the thoughtful and committed students who advocate on this issue, or even on those who seek to explore political solutions in the classroom. The accusation that students and scholars who seek to engage in open critical discussion on Israel and Palestine are contributing to a hostile climate for Jewish students only allows this hateful rhetoric to continue.
We note that the students enrolled in DeCal class Ethnic Studies 198 “reject any attempt to construe our movement to reinstate the course and restore our academic freedom as anti-Semitic, rhetorically or in practice. We denounce these deplorable posters as well as the racist coward(s) who put them up in an attempt to use our course as an avenue for proliferating their anti-Semitic rhetoric.” 116
We stand with all those at UC Berkeley who are fighting for justice and freedom for all people.