Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Note to Ollie Benn at SFSU Hillel

Michael L.

{I wrote this as a personal note to the guy, but he did not respond. I guess that he has my number. What I really miss, tho, are the purple sweatshirts with "San Francisco" written in Hebrew, but I can get that kind of stuff elsewhere. What I really want is for Jewish guys in this kind of position to stand the hell up, y'know?}

Be strong. Fight back.

BennDear Ollie,

between the kid with the dreads and GUPS yelling and screaming at Jerusalem mayor Barkat, I do not envy you, nor Professor Astren, one little bit.

The truth, of course, as you know, is that Jewish kids on campuses across the country are getting defamed, or even physically attacked, if they stand up for rights of Jewish sovereignty and self-defense within the Jewish homeland, which is the State of Israel.

I am a PhD from Penn State who earned a Masters degree in American History from SFSU in 2000 and who has taught at Penn State, SFSU, and City College of SF.

I saw the hatred and contempt for the Jewish people and the Jewish state when I was there as a student.

I will never forget walking by the Malcolm X Student Plaza and seeing a bunch of students from an African-American student organization standing on a platform with a big American flag behind them with Stars of David replacing the normal five-pointed stars in the American flag.

It was surreal.

I suggest that you encourage the students of Hillel to take up a martial art.

Krav Maga would make good sense.

Jewish college students need to learn self-defense, both physically and in terms of the history of the Jewish State of Israel.

They need to know that the Jews are not the aggressors in this conflict.

Peace to you, please.

Michael Lumish, PhD

Editor, Israel Thrives

{By the way, I met my wife at SFSU.}


  1. He's the new director of SFSU Hillel, since 2014, and he did not respond.

    I don't really blame him, actually.

    Astren can go to hell because he has had plenty of opportunity to speak out and, unless I am missing it, he fails to do so in a public manner. He's the head of Jewish Studies and it is my sincere wish that at least behind closed doors he is not a mouse.

    Ollie Benn, in a certain sense, has yet to be seen, but he seems to have the word on me.

    That is, I am a trouble-maker.


    But maybe the Jews need more trouble-makers.

    After all, if we do not stand up for ourselves, who the hell will?

    1. Meir Kahane was a trouble maker. Look at what happened to him. And his children. And now his grand kid.

    2. Mike,
      He probably thinks you're from the JDL. It might have been better to begin by asking him what is being done to fight antisemitism at SFSU.

      Were you a troublemaker maker on that campus? How so?

    3. Personally, and of course I'm not advocating anything, but I think it would be fun to see some fearless activists touching up that Edward Said mural with a little black paint under the nose, on a regular basis.

    4. Jacob,
      Meir Kahane was a truly dreadful man. And so was his son. Believe me, I know. Sadly.

      Everyone should read this re universities and Jews, it's amazing. Not in a good way:

      Just another jolly story from the UK.

    5. Kate, without innuendo, what exactly was dreadful about Meir Kahane (murdered by the first World Trade Center bombing coconspirator), or his son (murdered together with his wife while driving in Judea with their little children).
      I know he's been designated a Jewish Right Wing Boogeyman by the Left, but what exactly are his crimes?

    6. Jacob,
      I oppose everything Kahane stood for. So do many people.
      Without going into any detail that would make me exposed, I can only tell you that personal experience of his son, and his son"s politics, was extremely unwelcome to people I am close to. I know that is annoying and unsatisfactory. For which, apologies. Genuinely. K.

      To be clear: I take no pleasure in any way - in fact, I utterly oppose - both their assassinations. Disagreeing with someone's ideology does not mean one wishes them harm. And certainly not death.

    7. Y'know, Kate, I've often had a sense that there is more to you than meets the eye.

      I have occasionally asked myself, as I have read your comments, "Who is this woman?"

      As far as Kahane goes, there are many people rethinking his legacy.

      "Kahane was right" is a slogan throughout Israel.

      Israel is a secular state and my understanding of the guy is that he wanted a Torah-based country.

      I am basically a secular guy, despite the fact that Laurie and I are holding Passover seder for 20 people next week.

      And, in truth, I have never had a problem with religiously-minded Jews... so long as they do not rule.

      Kahane was correct to the extent that he understood that the Arabs in the Middle East, for the most part, have proven themselves to be enemies of the Jewish people. It's a terrible thing. They outnumber the Jews in that part of the world by a factor of 60 or 70 to 1 and therefore have a much larger loudspeaker to the West.

      Kahane wanted to get the Arabs out of Israel.

      I just want their leadership to stop screaming for the blood of the Jews.

    8. k,
      Feel better. This is for you.

    9. Jeff,
      Thank you. Will watch with interest later today.

    10. Mike,
      Kahane wasn't "right." And the fact some people are saying he was doesn't make it true. Is the situation depressing and seemingly intractable? Yes. Can one solve "problems" if one is prepared to do anything regardless of its morality? Yes. In a sense. - Should one? Absolutely not. Nothing is worth selling your soul for. It never could be.

  2. Has anyone polled the Jewish students? I bet no more than half of them object to this and a third are avid rabid supporters of Jew hate themselves. Ask them what kind of Haggadah they're using this year. Is it from Tikkun? Dead giveaway. Do they even know what Pesach is?

  3. Did anyone watch tonight's Democratic debate?
    Bernie Sander's had me seething. A prejudiced and ignorant man.

    1. I did just read the write-up in the New Yorker. Sanders does seem both ignorant and prejudiced.
      Staggeringly ignorant! Lot of journos seem to think he's broken some taboo. Nothing he said hasn't been said before. ( Bush, Obama.) Still, it got him lots of brownie points from his base.
      Hope he's pleased.
      He knows nothing about foreign policy on any subject. Doesn't stop this kind of tub-thumping, though. It's funny how this one particular subject is so appealing to so many people.
      It's like catnip.

    2. Also, this from John Podhoretz is interesting:

      It's interesting for the section on I/P.
      Clear blue water between Clinton and Sanders, at least last night. Interesting.

    3. I have now read John Cassidy's take on that exchange in the New Yorker. It makes me ashamed to be a native New Yorker. I might need to hold my nose and vote Republican. Don't worry, I've had some practice holding it while reading Nicolas Kristof columns in the NYT.

    4. Difficult to get through a Kristof column any other way.
      Or a Friedman one. I could go on...

      I don't blame you for feeling lousy about the debate and the response to it. It's not surprising.
      I'm interested that you might bite the bullet and vote Republican. I can imagine that's a really difficult step. It would be great if things were different. It really would be.
      I don't vote Tory over here ( well, not so far ) but I still hope they stay in government. And I massively disagree with them on major issues. Really disagree with them. Some of their ideologically driven economic policies are really hurting people. But the alternative, the Labour party, doesn't bear thinking about. Whole thing's awful.

      Btw, Just watched the Ruth Wisse link. Thank you so much for that. She's so, so impressive. Real clarity and intellectual heft. Her arguments and analysis are so insightful, uncluttered and lucid. And so without rancour. She has such a fine mind. It's inspiring.
      And it did help.
      Thank you.

      Oh, and if you can ignore the liberal, progressive elite - difficult, I know - New York is, as they say, one hell of a town. :)

    5. Just walking the streets of Manhattan always makes me feel alive.

  4. BTW, San francisco State University students Lubna Morrar and Linda Ereikat have been identified as ringleaders of the band of thugs that disrupted SFSU last week.