Monday, December 13, 2004

Why I’m Flunking My Way Out of School

Over a month ago, I heard that there’s a sign in The Palestinian Club room saying something warped about Hitler and his victims. One day, when I had been told that the clubroom was empty, I went down armed with two other students to see what was really hanging on their wall. We walked in and found a club member standing around. She asked if we were there to see someone. I told her we weren’t and noticed that sitting on the wall behind her was the sign we had come to see. Right there, in the corner of the room, was a sign saying “History Repeats: Look What Hitler Taught Some of His Victims” in letters dripping with painted blood. Under the copy was a Magen David morphing into a Swastika. That's right, not an Israeli flag morphing into a Swastika or Ariel Sharon learning from Hitler--a Magen David--the symbol of Hitler's victims, the Jews, on the sign. I was offended. I was bothered. I had to do something.
I tried to consider the possibility that the people who made the sign and the club who hung it on their clubroom wall don't realize what it might be like for a grandchild of Hitler's victims to see a sign that calls her a Hitler. Maybe The Palestinian Club didn't mean to call me, whose grandmother spent her teenage years in Bergen-Belsen and whose grandfather's entire family--entire shtetl--was massacred by the Nazis, a Nazi, but intended, rather, to make a political statement. But regardless of their intent--they took it too far.
After many meetings with the president’s council of Jewish Student Life, our Hillel director, and a few adult mentors, I sent an e-mail to The Palestinian Club president, asking to meet with her and a couple of representatives from her club. Of course, I was not going to meet her alone but along with the president and treasurer of the Israel activism club because, while we would just serve as representatives of the Jewish Student population, the sign was clearly inspired by Palestinian-Israeli politics.
The Palestinian Club may have a legal right of free speech, but their sign has to come down. The Dean explained to our Hillel director that making them remove it would violate their first amendment right…but that the school, too, is not happy about this situation. We know that the only way to win anything in the long run is to keep our footing on the moral high ground. So while The Palestinian Club president keeps pushing our meeting off for one reason or another and threatening to cancel it at all if there is either a moderator or tape-recorder (just to keep things on the record), I keep doing more and more poorly in my studies.
As much as I'd like to walk into my classrooms and erase the situation from my mind so that I can focus, I can't. As hard as I try convincing myself that right now my priority is doing well in school and not combating anti-Semitism wherever I find its smelly breath stinking up the air around me, I simply can't be convinced. Part of why I can't be convinced is that only a week before I saw this Nazi sign, the Hunter Women's Rights Coalition decided not to cosponsor an event with Hillel (that the Women's Center and Women's Studies Department were cosponsoring) because "it was decided that the HWRC shouldn't get behind it since Judaism is linked to Israel, which is linked to the Palestinian conflict, which is extremely polarized. Bottom line is that would be a bad idea to be associated with any political ideas other than our own, especially when we're not yet known on campus" (from the minutes of the 11/03 meeting).
Not only does The Palestinian Club not recognize a distinction between the Israeli Defense Forces and Jews, but the HWRC wouldn’t do something with a Jewish group because they can’t differentiate between Jews and the Jewish state. Putting my mind to my schoolwork when it’s already in overdrive trying to placate my nerves just seems tedious. And so I end another day of avoided homework and wasted class time trying to make peace with the dole of fate given me.

1 Shpeils

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Blogger elder punk of zion said...

the browngirl is right, if millard fillmore was president, this would not be happening.
Millard would wack any nazi like antisemetic neofascist back to medieval times where they belong.

death to the tyrants

Sunday, December 19, 2004 8:13:00 PM  

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