Monday, March 11, 2024






        The consequences of college administrators refusing for years to act against flagrant anti-Semitism on campuses around California and America are now becoming clear: More violent hate and more threatening hate speech. No one can be certain where this might lead, but it won’t be anywhere nice.


        This became obvious the other day with the unplanned convergence of two events involving anti-Jewish activism in Berkeley, the de facto left-wing capital of this country.


        In the morning came a federal complaint about months-long anti-Jewish activity, speech and displays in Berkeley public schools, much of it led by faculty.


        Mere hours later, a screaming, violent crowd yelling “Kill the Jews,” among other things, broke into a UC Berkeley building and shut down a pro-Israel speaker whose sponsors had gotten their event fully authorized. No one was punished, despite videos and eyewitness accounts of the event, which involved at least one broken window and several damaged doors. Instead, campus leaders including the chancellor merely deplored the incident, saying “We cannot allow the use or threat of force to violate the First Amendment rights of a speaker, no matter how much we might disagree with their views.”


        So another campus hate incident went unpunished, most of the 200-odd participants continuing studies on the campus whose principles they violated.


        Among witnesses to both the actual event and televised accounts were untold numbers of elementary and high school teachers and teachers-to-be. This was scarcely the first such event where they had watched hatred go unpunished.


        That began almost 20 years on college campuses, with many anti-Semitic outbursts sponsored or led by professors. It’s been seen at schools from Stanford to San Francisco State, UC Irvine to UCLA, UC Davis and Cal State Northridge. Discipline of faculty for these things has been rare and light, nor has any student  been expelled.


        The most anyone has done to stop the hate has been statements like the one from UC Berkeley. Yet, everyone involved knows that if any other minority were similarly attacked, punishments would be harsh.


        One probable consequence of millions of students witnessing all this became clear in the federal complaint against the Berkeley schools, filed by two anti-bigotry organizations.


        The complaint details teacher-led demonstrations and rallies against Israel’s invasion of Gaza starting soon after the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist organization massacred, raped and kidnapped more than 1,400 persons on Oct. 7. Protests against Israel’s invasion began the day after the massacre, more than a week before the Israeli military actually moved on Gaza.


        Berkeley teachers in this classic “blame-the-victims” campaign acted without permission of their bosses, who have not punished them. Some teachers instigated demonstrations by children as young as second-graders, the complaint charges, often leaving children who did not participate alone in unsupervised classrooms.


        While a few incidents were limited to small children pasting sticky notes on prominent walls saying “Stop Bombing Babies,” many others devolved into bullying where other children shouted “Kill the Jews” at Jewish classmates. No similar in-school anti-Moslem or anti-Arab incidents have been reported.


        Other public school rallies featured students yelling “F..k the Jews” and “Gas the Jews,” which is as outright anti-Semitic as language can get, even if teacher/leaders say they are merely anti-Israel.


        District officials said they encourage reporting such incidents and “vigorously investigate” them. But the complaint charges no teacher has been disciplined in any way for all this, despite cited cases where parents informed administrators and got no action while the episodes continued.


        How could this happen? One likely reason is that the teachers involved had seen similar behavior go unpunished on college campuses and correctly figured they also would not be disciplined.


        Comparable complaints have been filed by others against school districts in San Francisco and Oakland, where more than 30 families have asked to transfer their children to other districts. Students at some Los Angeles Unified high schools have walked out to protest similar bullying.


        The behavior reported in all these places was reminiscent of what many Holocaust survivors reported enduring in German public schools during the early 20th Century. We know where that led.


        Which is why action now, not mere words, is a must. For all it would take is one demagogue to turn uncontrolled hate into something much more concrete and widespread.



    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit

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