Anti-Semitism has been an ugly part of Jewish history. As a Jew growing up in the United States, a country that has embraced and given me the full opportunity to practice my religion unharmed, it has truly been a privilege and right that sometimes I take for granted. I wear my yarmulke around Berkeley and on campus without issue. My children attend Berkeley public schools wearing yarmulkes, embracing and taking pride in their Jewish expression.
As a Jew living in this amazing country, with all of its faults, I feel blessed to have the freedom to live a vibrant Jewish life. I can sometimes become complacent and even want to ignore anti-Semitism when it is right in front of me.
To see the online Daily Californian anti-Semitic cartoon depicting professor Alan Dershowitz was a reminder that as Jews living in our open society, we are still plagued by undertones of historical anti-Semitism. There should be no excuse or rationalization for this cartoon as “simply” a critique of Israeli policy or the artist’s opinion.
Like any bigoted cartoon, it should be called out, and the leaders of the Daily Cal need to take responsibility for their actions. Jewish students on campus have every right to be included, practice their beliefs and express their passion and love of Israel — their Jewish homeland — without experiencing anti-Semitism.
As a rabbi and educator on campus, I encourage the editorial board and the entire staff of the Daily Cal to take time to learn about the anti-Semitism currently plaguing our society, along with its history. Berkeley Hillel and the entire Jewish community stand ready to work with the Daily Cal, offering training and education about the continuing reality of anti-Semitism. I look forward to hearing from the Daily Cal staff.