Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tammi Benjamin and AMCHA Have People Upset

Michael L.

You have to give credit where credit is due.

Tammi Benjamin, through the creation of the AMCHA Initiative, stuck her neck out as an instructor of Hebrew within the University of California System, at Santa Cruz, when almost no one was willing to stand against the rise of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism within the academe.

And, for chrissake, what a place to do it?

The woman is risking her career for standing up for both Israel and the Jewish people within a university system ideologically ill-disposed toward Israel and now she is being ganged up upon, even as being called a bully by Kenneth P. Monteiro, SFSU's Dean of Ethnic Studies.

Benjamin, I assure you, is the underdog in this fight and I very much hope that her department is standing up for her rights to free speech.

In the Jerusalem Post, Gil Troy has some words:
I am confused.  Forty top Jewish Studies professors recently signed a petition “deplor[ing]” a threat to “the kind of spirited academic exchange that is the lifeblood of the university.” What so infuriated these academics? It wasn’t Israel-apartheid weeks. It wasn’t epidemic classroom anti-Israel bias. It wasn’t the fears many Jewish students have of being bullied this fall for supporting Israel. 
No, the professors were criticizing a group called the Amcha Initiative, the purpose of which is to “monitor centers for Middle Eastern studies on American campuses.... Amcha has also circulated a list of more than 200 Middle Eastern studies faculty whom it urges Jewish students and others to avoid because, it asserts, they espouse anti-Zionist and even anti-Semitic viewpoints in their classrooms.” 
As a lowly American historian, I am not as smart as these petitioners. But does the big threat to academic freedom come from a minor organization fighting campus anti-Semitism too passionately? Their worries seem misplaced, like warning firefighters confronting a 12-alarm fire that leaking hoses cause water damage.

I intend to have more to say about this on Sunday at the Elder's joint.


  1. Boy, they really don't like being called out, do they?

    Typical bully projection. Someone finally fights back against the bullies and thugs, then they scream and howl in rage about how they're being 'bullied.'

    It's alright for them to create campus environments in which Jewish students can be punched in the face for expressing their speech, but call them out for what they create and it's an outrage!

    Well boo-fucking-hoo, too bad. The days of bigots working in the shadows are over.

    I remember regularly being accused of 'bullying' at a certain blog, even though (especially by the end of my time there) it was often in the context of frenzied mob attacks consisting of just me against fifteen or twenty people at a time.

    Here's to Tammi Benjamin and AMCHA keeping up the good work.

    1. I think that I may focus on this for the next few weeks.

      Tammi Benjamin is fighting the good fight and although none of us are perfect, I much prefer brave souls who make mistakes to cowards who risk nothing as they watch their own people sold down the river.

    2. It's interesting to note that even AMCHA is, by necessity, a reactive actor always playing defense off the back foot, even if their defense sometimes takes the form of a hard sack forcing a fumble. So to speak. I'm pretty sure I think I know what I'm trying to say here. ;)

      These clowns who cry foul the instant somebody responds to their own actions appear all the more ridiculous when you remember that they aren't exactly innocent bystanders who were simply sitting in their offices, stroking their chins contemplatively over private professorial matters, when, from out of nowhere, Tammi Benjamin blew their house down and hulked out on them for no apparent reason.

      Those who AMCHA exposes style themselves as activists, after all, no? I'm sure some even fancy themselves heroic radicals.

      You can't be an activist only when you speak or act, then claim that your rights are somehow being violated when others who disagree with you exercise their right to respond to what you say or do. That's not how it works.

      There are far too many people who, subconsciously or not, dehumanize Israeli Jews to the point where they don't even realize that boycotting Jews is not exactly a novel, let alone innocent, or 'progressive,' strategy.

      They're not even getting anything close to a taste of the medicine they administer to others, yet their hysterical reaction betrays an insecure, juvenile inability to cope with thinking different from theirs. Their mindset is extremely disturbing, yet all too common anymore, on this issue and many others.

      And these are people entrusted with molding the minds of our future leaders?

      Maybe it won't be a long energy crisis that takes us down, after all.

      Perhaps we'll just take ourselves down in a Rush Limbaugh- / Ben Affleck-style, spittle-flecked rage, screaming 'racist' and 'libtard' at each other, and / or being transfixed by watching others do so, as events overtake us and eat our lunch.

      But hey, at least we'll have gone down pure!

      (Oh shit, did my mind wander there. Well, in my defense, I'm working some thoughts out, and thinking and re-thinking and re-rethinking a lot of things right now, so please pardon me for the moment...)

    3. Tammi is in a tough spot, I think, and I just hope that my advocacy is helpful to her.

      This is not a woman with a whole lot of institutonal power. She's an instructor of Hebrew at UC Santa Cruz who has put herself on the line for exposing anti-Semitic anti-Zionism on American campuses.

      It is not a thankless task, it is less than a thankless task.

    4. I am, if nothing else, certainly familiar with thankless tasks.

      I'm a (currently non-practicing, but eventually back to it at any time) wastewater operator, after all!

      I also drive trucks; worked for a year in the basement of a Red Cross blood donation center... spinning, squeezing, draining, clipping and nuking whole blood, red cells, plasma, cryo, etc etc... ;)

      I certainly thank Tammi for doing what she does for us.