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Claremont Independent | April 21, 2014

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Professor Raviv talks bias, Pitzer, and cockroaches

claremontindependent

By Brad Richardson and Colin Spence

 

Up until now, CMC Associate Professor of Economics Yaron Raviv has remained completely silent on his involvement in a March 4 conflict between himself and members of a pro-Palestine student group, Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). When the Claremont Independent requested an interview March 12 via email, Raviv politely declined, saying he wanted to wait for the review process to take its course before going public with his side of the story.

Raviv, an Israel native, has been accused of using a racial slur and offensive language when he called a Pitzer student and SJP member a “fucking cockroach.” The group also alleged that Raviv tried to shut down a demonstration that they were performing, which included checking IDs at the front entrance of Collins Dining Hall during dinner service in order to simulate a West Bank and Gaza Strip Israeli checkpoint.

CMC President Pamela Gann sent an April 19 email to the Claremont Colleges Community reporting the findings of a comprehensive review conducted by the administration. Although Gann ruled that, “The CMC faculty member made statements to the Pitzer student that were inappropriate and unprofessional,” she also wrote that, “even if bias is assumed, the comments made, when viewed in the context and in their totality, were not sufficiently severe or pervasive as to constitute a violation of the College’s Harassment Policy.”

Furthermore, she ruled that, “the SJP event was not in compliance with CMC’s Demonstrations Policy and the Claremont Colleges Demonstration Policy, both of which prohibit disruptive and/or non-peaceful events,” and “The CMC faculty member did not improperly interfere with or attempt to stop the event.”

Now that the review is complete and the administration has ruled on its findings, Raviv agreed to take part in an interview with the Claremont Independent. Below is a transcript of that interview.

 

CI: What happened the evening of March 4?

Raviv: I was sitting in [my office] grading a midterm exam. It was around 5:20 and a Pitzer student called my office. He said, “Can I come to your office? I really need your help.” He sounded very distressed, and I said, “Sure, come to my office.” He was probably just downstairs, and he got to my office in a minute. He said, “Listen, there is some demonstration in the dining hall.” I said, “Okay, calm down, let me…go and check what is going on.” So I [went] down to the dining hall, and once we [got] on the main sidewalk, he took a turn because he was afraid to be seen with me.

 

CI: Did you know the student?

Raviv: Yeah, I knew the student. He was not my student. He knew that I was Israeli. I met him once at some kind of social event.

 

CI: What did you see when you got to the dining hall?

Raviv: I saw a couple of students [handing out] some fliers, a couple of students standing on the side of Collins Dining Hall and crying, and I saw a line of students blocking the entrance to the dining hall.

I went up to go into the dining hall and the students were standing shoulder to shoulder, and I could not pass. They told me, “Show us your ID.” I said, “What?” “Yeah, yeah, this is an Israeli checkpoint, show us your ID if you want to come inside.” I said, “I’m not going to show you my ID. Have you ever seen an Israeli checkpoint?” One of the students said, “Yeah, yeah, I saw an Israeli checkpoint.” I said, “Who is your leader? Who brought you here?” Then they told me, “We don’t have a leader. We’ve come by ourselves, and this is an approved demonstration.” I said, “Okay, okay, let me in.” They let me in, you know, so there was not any physical contact.

I went inside the dining hall. I was looking for the dining hall manager. I called her from inside the kitchen and I told her, “Listen, the students have the right to demonstrate, they probably have approved that, but they cannot block the entrance. Please move them 10 feet aside. They can do their political activity there. Just move them 10 feet aside so they will not block the entrance and hassle students. That’s illegal.” She went outside and she talked with the students, and at first it looked like they complied. So they took off the ropes—they had some ropes on the side of the dining hall—and they moved aside. However, the moment she went inside, they immediately blocked the entrance again. I went inside the dining hall again. I was looking for [the dining hall manager], and I could not find her, so I went to the cashier and I asked her to use her phone. I called [Campus Safety]—I was the one who called [Campus Safety]—and I told the dispatcher, “Listen, the students have the right to demonstrate, but you need to send someone to move them 10 feet aside. They cannot block the entrance.”

The [Campus Safety] officer arrived and he parked his car 30-40 feet south of the entrance in front of Story House. I saw the guy and wanted to go talk to him to explain what was going on. I started to walk toward his direction, and a [student from the demonstration approached me] and told me to my face, “Who are you? Show me your ID! Are you faculty or a visitor? If you are a visitor, you cannot be on campus after 5:00 p.m. Show me your campus pass!” I told him, “I will never show you my ID. It’s not your business who I am. I can be a faculty or a visitor; it’s not your business.” I kept walking toward the officer and this guy is in my face, you know, like overly aggressively. I started to talk with the [Campus Safety] officer and I said, “Listen, this student event has been approved for this demonstration, but they cannot block the entrance, you need to move them 10 feet aside.” To give [the Campus Safety officer] some validity to what I was saying, I pulled out my faculty ID. The [student] who was in my face basically said, “Oh, you are faculty! I will hunt you down!” And I said, “What? You will hunt me down? You’re a fucking, little cockroach.”

So [the student] heard that and said, “Oh! Now I’ve got you!” The moment he said that, I was really concerned—not because of the “cockroach,” I was concerned because of the f-word. I immediately disentangled because I didn’t want there to be a physical [altercation], so I went back to the Pitzer student who had asked for my help. I told him, “Listen, campus safety is here. They will take it from there.” And I left.

 

CI: So, I’d like to get more into what SJP accused you of. They accused you of trying to take down the event—

Raviv: Yeah, the two main accusations were, first, that I tried to take down the event. And then, they assumed that I meant to demean the other student as a Palestinian [through a racial slur]. So, first of all, you can read it in the report, I never asked that the event stop. I just asked that they move it 10 feet aside, and this was confirmed by [Campus Safety] and the dining hall manager. [Regarding] the “cockroach,” when I came home and told my wife [what had happened], I said I was really worried about the f-word and I didn’t talk about the “cockroach” at all.

First of all, Israelis do not use that kind of expression with respect to Palestinians—that’s a total lie. But I don’t need to use this argument because there was no way that me, or any other person, could tell that the person in front of me was Palestinian. How could I know that he was a Palestinian? His English was much better than mine; he grew up here in the states. He, on the other hand, knew that I was an Israeli based on my accent when he said, “I will hunt you down.”

 

CI: But you did know that this was a pro-Palestinian event.

Raviv: Yeah, I knew that. But the probability that you see an American Jew is much higher than the chance that you see a Palestinian.

 

CI: So you didn’t know the student and you didn’t know he was Palestinian before it was reported?

Raviv: No, and I didn’t have any way to know it, so that’s ridiculous. To say that this is the way that Israelis talk is ridiculous, but my argument is that I didn’t know that he was a Palestinian. Nobody could know that he was a Palestinian. I didn’t know his race. The report of the [Campus Safety] officer describes him as a white male. How could I know that he was a Palestinian?

I’m actually a two-state solution person. [The SJP] blames me for being racist, [but when] I was on sabbatical last year, I rented my house to a traditional Muslim-Arab family—and [the SJP] still calls me a racist.

 

CI: Another claim that the SJP made was that you said, “All Pitzer students are [fucking] cockroaches.”

Raviv: Not true. It’s not true. I only used the word “cockroach” once to the best of my recollection, and it was directly to that student. All I said was, “You’re a fucking, little cockroach.”

I poorly chose my words. I regret using bad language. We should all aspire to higher standards and not chaos. That’s not appropriate, so I’m sorry for that. But we need to understand what provoked this kind of language. What the student did to me, there’s no equivalence. Worst case scenario, I curse at somebody. But he has caused me real damage.

[Raviv said that since the incident, he has received several unpleasant and downright threatening emails. He shared a couple with the CI.]

Raviv: So, this is an email, for example, from “Juice2”: “Hitler had the right idea, he was just an underachiever. I thought you might enjoy that since you seem to be such a huge supporter of genocide. Cheers.”

I got several like this: “I am one of your students. What right do you have to call one of my colleagues a ‘cockroach,’ you filthy Israeli cunt? Please, could I ask you to leave the U.S. and return to the land of Zion-Nazis where you can slaughter innocent cockroaches at whim? See you in class you wasted inbred.”

 

CI: How many emails did you receive?

Raviv: Eight. Something like that.

[Finally, Raviv claimed that reckless reporting on the initial controversy has been the cause of these emails and several other damages that he has incurred.]

Raviv: At least the The Student Life didn’t publish my name initially—that was the Claremont Port Side. When I talked with Carlos [Ballesteros of TSL], I asked why he posted my name, and he said, “Well, the students have been complaining about you.” I said, “If someone had complained that I was a pedophile, would you still publish my name?” Why wouldn’t you wait to see what happens first? If someone claimed that I was a rapist, would you publish it? They really damaged my reputation. I have some Arab students in the class, I have some Palestinian students in the class, and they accused me of being a racist.

This has never happened in the college, this kind of persecution just because of political views. And you try to ask yourself, if I was an Irish-American, would they accuse me of being a racist? Or are they accusing me only because I’m an Israeli-Jew? So now, I ask you, where is the bias-related behavior? If I was an American and I said, “Fucking little cockroach,” would they accuse me of being racist?

Comments

  1. 5C Student

    I’m sorry, but 8 angry emails is NOTHING on the in-person threat and physical retaliation Mr. Hamideh has been subjected to as a result of this incident. In case anyone is unaware of what I am talking about, Mr. Hamideh’s car tire was slashed and his library carrel reservation was altered such that it read “This carrel is reserved for me to fuck N. Hamideh in the skull.” This death threat is far worse than the example provided here, and considering the extreme bias of this article one can assume that the example provided was the most sensational available.

    • MyNameIsJack

      Eh, maybe the carrel was a date invitation? You can skull fuck someone and not kill them…

    • 5C Thinker

      You should be sorry for sullying the internet with your poor logic, cold blooded politics, and irrelevant statements.

      It is a tragedy that Hamideh was threatened and harassed. But Raviv was not the aggressor of these acts. The fact that Hamideh’s threats were worse has nothing to do with whether or not Raviv deserved to be labeled as a racist – the entire point of this article. Hamideh’s struggles have been well documented elsewhere. God forbid Raviv actually has a chance to defend himself.

      Don’t both parties deserve sympathy for threats against their livelihoods? Given your bias, one can assume, you do not believe this is the case.

      • Bias

        Amen. Can’t we agree that the harassment of any member of our community is unacceptable? As a Jewish student, I feel personally threatened and incredibly offended by the statements in the emails that Raviv received and I would hope that members of the Claremont community would agree that this sort of bigotry, regardless of who is targeted, is absolutely wrong.

  2. FuckingHugeCockroach

    Seems odd that he blames student publications for outing him, since the SJP published his name first: https://www.facebook.com/sjpclaremont/posts/539677082721691. It also seems odd he’d blame student journalists for the emails and that sort of stuff, since he refused to comment on the incident until now. He had multiple opportunities to tell his side, but didn’t. Not only that, but his comparisons kind of work against him — newspapers don’t wait until rapists and sex offenders are convicted to publish articles about them, they publish them after they’ve been arrested or charged or, every once in awhile, outed through a journalistic investigation. Further, to call Raviv a pedophile would be libel. To write that he’d been accused of calling a student a “fucking little cockroach” is just how reporting works.

    • Bias

      He made it pretty clear that he wasn’t going to talk until the review was complete, so I don’t think it’s fair to say that he had “multiple opportunities” to publicize his account of the incident. I think that the important takeaway from this interview is his very valid point regarding bias-related behavior. If he had been anything other than Israeli, I seriously doubt that the situation would have reached the level it has.

      • FuckingHugeCockroach

        Oh, he definitely made it clear that he wasn’t going to talk until after the review, and I respect that decision. But he did have multiple opportunities to comment — both the Port Side’s and TSL’s articles mention how he refused to comment for the article in question. If he doesn’t want to comment, that’s fine, but it seems odd for him to refuse to comment and then turn around and complain about how the reporting was one-sided or “reckless” (not sure if that’s the CI’s description or Raviv’s though). I agree that the situation’s exacerbated by the fact that Raviv’s Israeli and Hamideh’s Palestinian, but I worry that Raviv’s using the hateful emails (which are by no means excusable) and his allegations about reckless reporting to distract from the real issue — that a professor called a student a “fucking cockroach.” Sure, Hamideh isn’t innocent if Raviv’s account is to be believed, but I think we should hold faculty and other college leaders to a higher standard than easily excitable student protestors.

  3. A_cockroach

    There seems to be huge differences between the perspective that Professor Raviv gives and that Hamideh gave. Which, of course, isn’t so surprising. What is shocking is the differences between the eye witnesses reports as well as the one campus security gave. I find it shocking that only now we find out that Hamideh may, or may not, have used the words ‘I will hunt you down’. These words are confirmed by Professor Raviv as well as one other witness. While the publications would have never heard of this side from Professor Raviv (since he refused to comment) then where was this second witness? It would have had to be a member of SJP or campus security considering how the incident played out. I’m surprised that such a witness has never come forward in any of the many articles written about this incident to share their perspective.

    Something is off here…

    • Eyewitnesses

      Well you know eye witness reports are not always accurate…as we’ve seen from psychological studies (Lotus, 1975; Palmer)

  4. Hi.

    Here are some of my thoughts

    1. This is not the first time that it has been claimed that Najib told the professor “I will hunt you down.” If this is true, this really complicates things. It doesn’t excuse Raviv’s comments but it certainly can also be interpreted as a racist statement in the context of Jews being hunted down in the Holocaust.

    2. The e-mails sent to Raviv are very disgusting and inappropriate.

    3. Raviv’s attempts to show he is not racist are laughable. He says he can’t be racist since he believes in the two-state solution and rented his house to a Muslim family. Everyone in this world is basically, even if only unconsciously, racist because racism is so imbedded in our society. Renting your house to a Muslim family does not mean you cannot be racist towards Muslims and Arabs. These statements, which are classic tropes individuals accused of racism use to show how they are not racist, only demonstrate to me that Raviv is unaware of contemporary views of racism, oppression, and privilege.

    4. Raviv claims that even if cockroach is a racist term, it isn’t racist how he used it since he had no way of knowing the student was Palestinian. This is bad argument. If a man was called a bitch, whore, or slut at a feminist demonstration, it would still be sexist. If a non-black individual was called the n-word at any event or demonstration related to black people or other people of color, it is still racist.

    5. Again, Raviv just does not understand his privilege. He is a professor (middle class job), an adult, and viewed as white in America. In Israel he receives the privilege of being Jewish. Najib is a student, had lived in the occupied West Bank for 10 years, and viewed as a person of color in America. To argue that he is being more oppressed than Najib, when taken into this context, is quite silly to me.

    6. Thank you to “5C Student” for pointing out that Najib also received retaliation.

    7. I want to make sure people understand that even if I am critical of Raviv here, I do not wish for Raviv’s demise/downfall. I do not know anything about his personality or skills as a professor. I just think he and CMC needs to take much more responsibility for what has happened here.

    • Claremont Student

      ” I just think he and CMC needs to take much more responsibility for what has happened here.” Similarly, SJP should take responsibility for its role in provoking/ causing the situation to occur…

      • To “Claremont Student” and “CMC Alum”

        Both of you seem to think that SJP’s protest was provoking, aggressive, etc.

        -First of all, that was partially the point. The point of a certain protests is to get people to pay attention, to get people to think. Would you tell people during the Civil Rights Movement to calm down, to be less aggressive, to be less passionate? I hope not.

        -I can honestly relate to your concerns. Up until recently I thought that SJP and other “pro-palestinian” organizations should strategically use less “aggressive” methods in order to bring people in the middle over to their side. But then I realized, who am I to tell people to control their emotions, to hold back the truth, to be more sensitive to peoples’ feelings? I now believe that that strategically, and ethically, in all types of activism, there needs to be all different kinds of methods, some that are more thought provoking and some that are more subdued.

        -See this article for a further discussion of your concerns: http://tsl.pomona.edu/articles/2013/3/15/opinions/3765-activism-isnt-comfortable

        -Overall, even if you personally disagree with their particular methods, you have to at least admit that they have a right to those methods. And their methods should not be used as an excuse against what Raviv said.

        • yes, the point of the protest was to provoke. so, why all the outrage when it accomplished precisely that?

          also, i’m surprised at students eagerness to call raviv an “adult.” do students (over 18 years of age) not see themselves as adults? do they see themselves as ‘children’ who can be bullied and victimized by ‘adults?’

    • CMC Alumnus

      Well, I’m going to take issue with your mention of the use of “Cockroach”.

      I see where you’re going, and you’re right. I would argue that if his main argument is true, though, I wouldn’t necessarily argue against it.

      I for one have zero idea of the implications of the word “cockroach”. Hell, back in the day, I’m sure I heard cartoon villains use that word.

      • Unpopular Opinions

        Agreed. ‘Cockroach’ is a universal slur; as far as I know (after doing a bit of research) the only country in which ‘cockroach’ has been widely used as a specific slur against a group of people is Rwanda. (Or as SJP’s article states, against the Jews in Germany…does no one see the irony here??) Just another case of oversensitive college students being ‘offended’ as their controversial actions provoke reactions from the general public. Isn’t understanding cause and effect a necessity for a 5C student???

  5. CMC Alum

    This is the first I’ve heard of this incident. Unfortunately, none of the details surprised me. It seems hyperbole and tribalism have taken hold to once again cause friction between Pitzer and CMC at the expense of Professor Raviv and Mr. Hamideh.

    Some points/observations:

    1. I took a class with Professor Raviv. I don’t claim to know him well, but I did build a rapport with him. He is a no-bullshit kind of person, so his comment to the student within the context of his narrative seems in character. Like he and President Gann said, it was a regrettable and unprofessional outburst that is not befitting of a faculty member. That being said, he is easily one of the warmest, jovial, and caring professors at CMC. Painting him as some sort of crazed racist is absolutely absurd, as anyone that knows him on even the most casual level can attest.

    2. The responses by both student bodies became extreme most likely in part to the ‘us-versus-them’ mentality that has plagued these schools’ relationship for years.
    Vilifying and sending hate mail to a dedicated faculty member and all-around great human being like Professor Raviv? Come on Pitzer.. your propensity to snatch up the pitchforks and torches at the first chance only reinforces your image as crazed extremists out for blood.
    Skull-fucking? Come on CMC.. this comment was most likely made partially in jest and partially serious. Stop being flippant just to push Pitzer’s buttons. It might make you chuckle for a minute, but slashing tires and making death threats (especially in light of the seriousness of this event) is absolutely unacceptable. Being dismissive of Pitzer-led social dissent is the type of reductionist ethos that socially-mindful academics like yourselves should actively work to avoid.

    3. I have a lot of Pitzer friends. I loved hanging out at Pitzer when I went to CMC. I tend to agree with your social and political views. However, protesting at CMC in such a way that causes damage to our campus and harassment of our students, faculty, and staff is absolutely THE WORST way to get your point across. You know what would work better? If you used the picnic area between Collins and Appleby to hold a sort of protest-conference hybrid. CMC students are usually game for an in-depth discussion of the issue, and free-flowing ideas and dialogue will go much farther in changing attitudes. That should be your goal, and that should be enough. Any other motivation for such a visible and abrasive showing (attention/pitzer-cred?) defeats the purpose and makes you and your argument vapid and insincere.

  6. Bitter Claremont Student

    Regardless of the motives or intent behind Raviv’s remarks, the simple truth is this: Had a Palestinian professor said those words to a Jewish student in a similar context, CMC would have promptly fired the professor with no severance pay. If you don’t understand this to be the case, you are either being dishonest with yourself or haven’t lived in the United States for very long. This fundamental inequality, I think, arises from an anti-Arab, pro-Israel bias as well as an appropriate and understandable sensitivity to anti-Semitism, both of which are deeply ingrained in our cultural and political understanding.

    This is not to say that Jews are not discriminated against and dehumanized, in this country and on this campus; it was not long ago that swastikas were anonymously drawn onto a wall on one of Pitzer’s academic buildings, and this is unacceptable. The central issue here, however, is not to determine which ethnic group has been more profoundly victimized, but rather to better understand and alter the institutionalized mechanisms by which racism functions on our campuses.

    I had hoped that Professor Raviv would use this interview to explain his side of the story and the motives behind his words, then go on to intelligently grapple with the complex social problems surrounding the events. Perhaps he could have better expressed his own emotions surrounding the protest and attempted to understand the thoughts and feelings of the SJP demonstrators. An open and compassionate discourse would have been helpful and healing for our community; as a supposed role model for young students, I had hoped Professor Raviv would be more gracious in his treatment of the events. He might have understood that the SJP protestors, as students, are younger and less experienced than he is, and he might have worked to assist them in their growth and maturation. Instead, his discussion devolved into the predictable and tired “I’m not racist because ______!” and “I get more hurtful hate emails than you!”

    My understanding has always been that professors are hired to teach, to mentor. In my three years in this community, that has rarely been the case.

    • thank you so much for your lovely comments. your point about imagining the reverse situation is absolutely correct. As is your point that ultimately this shouldn’t be about demonizing anyone, it should be about moving forward.

    • ThisGuyIsFullOfIt

      Sounds like Daniel Lipson. If so, you are the worst… You know that right?

      • Ainsley Pak

        Ad hominem much?

      • Bitter Claremont Student

        Nope, not Daniel. Sorry to disappoint.

    • I'm biased...but

      A thoughtful and balanced response….in an anonymous online forum? What has this world come to?

  7. Student who cannot believe his eyes

    The fact of the matter, if we boil down things, is that SJP created an event that they knew would cause confrontation, and even worse, further polarize the respective student bodies (the opposite of what should happen).
    Other facts: Not once has an on-campus Jewish/Israeli group have ever done such a hate-laden, totally out of context, ridiculously immature event. Not once has any pro-Israeli group gone out of their way to cause such confrontation and harassment to students who believe in differing views.
    Just as their event was illogical, so is the connection that because Aviv called the student a cockroach, that he was referring to a Palestinian. Aviv’s explanation of why he called the student a cockroach is way more logical. Do not try to frame him as a racist. Some say everyone is racist. Fine. But do not claim he is especially racist (directed towards Arielle Z), and that he lives in a lala land of privilege. Maybe he doesn’t understand his privilege or whatever you want to call it, but obviously, neither do you, and honestly, it is irrelevant to the matter at hand.

    Question to SJP: did you guys gain anything from this event? Was this event helpful for constructive dialogue? Did this event even accurately represent the actual situation of Israeli check points?
    No to all of the above.
    And btw SJP: Israelis go through checkpoints all the time everyday. Because of terrorism, Israelis, both Jewish and Arab, get searched before entering a supermarket, their university,a movie theater, etc.
    Maybe you guys (SJP) should stand outside of the HUB next time. And make sure you stand outside of the other dining halls too. Yeah! Then your point will get across! Whats the point again? Oh- Israel is bad! Israel’s goal is to make life miserable for Palestinians! Yeah! Lots of constructive discourse here!
    Just incase you guys (SJP) couldn’t tell, there is a lot of sarcasm here. I’m sure you’ll find a way to misconstrue the things I’ve said though, just as you did the sequence of events.
    Also, I find it funny that they ask for I.D’s- as if that is especially meaningful in such a context. Have you not noticed that we have to show our I.D’s to pay for a meal anyway?
    Next time use your funding to do something constructive rather than something that only polarizes both groups. If Claremont Students for Israel would ever put on such an event, there would be an uproar. Maybe CSI should put up security checkpoints too, because Israelis go through the same thing.
    And Arielle Z: Although you are obviously biased against Aviv, you still claim to desire “An open and compassionate discourse” as “it would have been helpful and healing for our community.” Again, did the SJP event achieve this? Double standards maybe? Yeah. I think so.

    • “Student who cannot believe his eyes”, I would love to talk to you in person about this if you are willing to. If you search me on FB I’m sure you can find me. I’m going to bed soon so don’t have time to respond to everything you said, but the one thing I just have to correct is that the security that all Israelis go through is NOT the same thing as the security and checkpoint controls that people living in Gaza and the West Bank go through. I don’t even think any Israeli would make this comparison.

      One more thing actually, various pro-Israeli groups on campus and pro-Israel groups across the country have said/done many (by many I refer to groups across the country, not on campus, as I am only aware of a few incidents on campus) offensive things. A good start would be to look at the popular group Stand With Us (who many pro-Israel individuals find offensive themselves) which is one of the most racist and ethnocentric pro-Israel groups I know of. But truly, I would love to talk to you. It is hard to explain all my nuanced opinions over the interwebs.

      • Student who cannot believe his eyes

        I am sure you are very aware of the hate speech speakers that pro-Palestinian groups have brought onto various other campuses as well. Especially at the UC’s. These groups and speakers have hateful diatribes that spew vile and propagandistic speech against Israel and Jews.
        Fact of the matter is that we should, and have in the past, until this event, held ourselves to higher standards. Do you think this event was a productive one? What was it trying to achieve? Anti-Israeli sentiment? Trust me, enough people hate Jews and Israelis as it is.

        I cannot even believe you are pinpointing one racist and ethnocentric pro-Israel group when there are at least 400x Palestinian ones that dominate discourse at the UC’s, and when it is irrelevent to SJP’s behavior at Claremont. What? They had to act first before CSI did something terrible? Has CSI even ever come close to running something so biased? No.

        Quick Google Search: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/oct/15/opinion/la-ed-berkeley-anti-semitism-20121015

        You have failed to address any of the points I brought up in my last post. It still seems to me the SJP event, in itself, was racist and ethnocentric. It did not try to bring up both sides of the issue, only bias a general, most likely apathetic population, against Israel. Good job SJP. Very productive.

        • Arielle Z.

          Literally about to go to bed now. Please reach out to me, I would love to talk to you in person. Any time criticism of Israel turns into anti-semitism I am against it. This did not happen at CMC. Anti-Zionism is not the same thing as anti-semitism. I do believe that other SjP groups have brought antisemitic speakers onto UC campuses and find that ridiculous.. I am also against it when criticism of Palestine turns into racism against Palestinian people. Please tell me how the SJP event was racist and ethnocentric.

        • Gelt

          I was unable to reply directly to your final comment with Arielle, so I will do so here.
          Zionism is not Judaism.
          I am Jewish. I am not Zionist.
          Zionism is a one hundred year old philosophical belief. Judaism is a 6000 year old religion.

          The article that you posted, while you made the statement that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, completely contradicts what you said. The article argues that criticism of Israel is NOT in fact antisemitic. The last paragraph sums it up pretty well.

          “There is an unavoidable conflict between being a Jewish state and a democratic state. I want to emphasize that there’s nothing antisemitic in pointing this out, and it’s time the question was discussed openly on its merits, without the charge of antisemitism hovering in the background.”

          If arguing that a Jewish state is inherently undemocratic is not anitsemitic, then I would posit that criticizing human rights violations committed by such a Jewish state is certainly also not antisemitic

          • Student who cannot believe his eyes

            Gelt, you are right. Yesterday I had the link for the article but could not read it yesterday (I read it when it was originally published awhile ago). I forgot that it was not the article I agreed with (far from it) but actually the commentators of posters that responded to the article. Comments such as the following:

            “Okay, I hate to have to say it, but this is racially biased against Jews in very important ways. It is not an option to just ignore anti-Semitism or other group level irrational bias, even when a philosopher makes it sound so reasonable.
            It is also important to think through things clearly, and sadly he fails this task as well.
            First, it is important to ask the question, why this question? Why is the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state asked while the right of Japan to exist as a Japanese state, for example, never comes up? Japan also has an oppressed native minority. What about the French? They “occupied” Alsace and Lorraine and no one demanded that they give them back to the Germans who lost them in a war of aggression against France, nor argued that because France occupied mostly German speaking areas France was an illegitimate nation. But if Israel occupies enemy areas in a defensive war, this makes it illegitimate as a nation? That is the author’s argument, and it is clearly a biased and illogical one. Just the fact of asking whether or not Israel, specifically, has the right to exist as a Jewish nation reflects bias if one does not also question this right for others.”

            and
            “Nonsensical drivel like this is inexcusable, especially when coming from a respected academic, and particularly when published in a newspaper that many Americans look to for thoughtful, relevant opinion pieces. Professor Levine proceeds to define his own terms in his own way and then decides to use those terms to make an argument that has no merit otherwise. The fact is, you cannot take the holocaust out of the equation. You cannot forget that there are over twenty Muslim countries, in which minorities are repeatedly oppressed far more harshly than any Palestinian or Israeli Arab. There are Muslims in the Israeli Knesset. Can you imagine a Jew serving on any legislative body in Saudi Arabia or Qatar, for example? Moreover, there are many Christian nations that define themselves as Christian. Some of them have more liberal relationships with their minorities today than they did in the past. Others still have a spotty record when it comes to treating members of minority religions. Lastly, Professor Levine notes that he himself is Jewish. As such, he should understand that one cannot simply insist on presenting an argument as “not antisemitic” when it is, in fact, antisemitic. The fact is our planet is based largely on nation states that are divided by their religion. Perhaps it is not perfect, but it is the way our world works. I often criticize Israel for their policies, but to say the Jewish people do not have the right to their own state is anti-Semitic. Pure and simple.”

            Fact of the matter is that any Jew who is anti-zionist believes that Israel does not have the right to exist, because Zionism’s main principal is that Jews should have their own country. To address others’ comments:Jews are an ethnic group and a religion, not just a religion. Jews can be linked by DNA and by blood; only jews can get certain diseases, such as Tay-Sachs, etc. Many Jews themselves (who I deem misinformed) only see Judaism as a religion when in fact, because the jewish people started from 12 tribes (the Hebrews) they are an ethnic group.

          • Ainsley Pak

            Okay “Student with eyes,” if Israel has a right to exist, must it exist on land stolen from Palestinians? Must it CONTINUE stealing land from them? Must it continue using racist justification and Apartheid practices in order to do so?

            And more to your point, you seem to be saying that because some other nations also exist on land stolen from others, that makes this current theft okay? Isn’t that pretty much like saying because someone else got away with murder, it’s okay if I murder too, as long as I don’t get caught?

            So, Palestinian livelihood continues to get snuffed out. And you’re saying that they and the rest of the world should just sit back and take that, because what, Israel (with a LOT of U.S. help) is just, stronger? And because it too should be allowed to join the leagues of great and abusive nations by stealing from and snuffing out others?

            Ponder these historical maps, if you still have a heart:

            http://stopmakingsensedotorg.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/palestine-loss-of-land.jpg

          • Student who cannot believe his eyes

            Ainsley,

            Stealing land? If thats your interpretation of 5 Arab countries losing a war to Israel, then I guess Israel “stole land.” Never has another country taken land from war, not once. I am not saying Israel is blameless and doesn’t do things incorrectly- it does. However, its no secret that Palestinians are used by the rest of the Arab world (see Iran) to carry out their dirty work. Instead of trying to relieve their situation, they just support them with weapons. There are 20Arab countries who could give a shit about Palestinians, but not one Arab country doesn’t care. Egypt certainly did not want these displaced people moving into their land. War is war, what should be happening is aid by other Arab nations to help the Palestinians out. The gaza strip is prime real estate- arguably they could have a strong vacationing economy. Why is there only blame on Israel and not the rest of the Arab world?
            Moreover, Jews have always had a presence in the territory of palestine, as it was also the Jews biblical homeland. No country called palestine has ever existed. The word palestine exists to talk about territory which existed well into modern day jordan. The “palestinian” people are a rather modern phenomenon.

          • Gelt

            I don’t believe she was referring to stealing land in a national sense, but rather a civil one. Throughout history, when one nation has conquered another, it has integrated those people’s under it’s new territory into the nation itself. The big exception to this was british colonialism, which amounted to genocide against Native Americans. When the Romans conquered europe, they didn’t remove the aboriginal Western Europeans, but rather governed them and integrated them, requiring them to pay taxes.

            The issue of stealing land is not simply one of conquest, as that is a historical concept. The issue of stealing land is that of quite literally taking individual property from its inhabitants without reparation, and then instituting settlement policies continually encroaching on land which had been demarked as being under the civil authority of the conquered people.

            The issue is not that Israel has established civil authority, but rather that it has denied the Palestinians basic civil rights.

          • Gelt

            I would also object to your suggestion that no country called Palestine has ever existed, as neither has a country called Israel. Semantics aside, Palestine, before it was Palestine, was a distinct cultural region within the Ottoman empire, which was made separate after world war 1. It existed as Palestine, under British rule for some time. To say that this sort of origin disqualifies them as a valid national identity is equivalent to saying that Indian is not a valid national identity, as it came into being in an even more dubious way, being an administrative combination of what had been a number of distinct kingdoms rather than a region which already had a single language and cultural heritage.

          • Student who cannot believe his eyes

            I don’t even know how to reply to your last comment, which is so illogical its laughable. Gluck

    • A_cockroach

      Have you attended any of the events that the Claremont Students for Israel have hosted? I have! And guess what? The amount of times they have used blatant, over the top propaganda, and have even gone as far as switching ‘Palestinians’ with ‘terrorists’ in presentations. In case you haven’t realized, political events are meant to provoke some discussion and shock others. But you know what? Each group has the right to do because of freedom of speech! I respect their right and there are CSI members who’ve spoken for SJP’s right to demonstrate.

      • Student who cannot believe his eyes

        I respect SJP’s right to demonstrate- never said I didn’t. But they should have done so more shrewdly. I have attended many CSI events. It is unfortunate that the things you have described occurred (I have not witnessed them), but I still have never seen a CSI member go up to the general population, harras them, and then force them to do a certain action, OUT OF CONTEXT. The unfortunate descriptions of the CSI events you have posted have at least been in-context closed spaces, where the people who attend, regardless of their positions, are going to expect some sort of bias.
        SJP can demonstrate all they want- if they keep on doing the harassing demonstrations such as the ones they have done in the past, they are just going to piss students off, and give less credibility to their name. This is not to mention the propaganda students have to see previously painted on Walker Wall (assuming SJP members did this, if not I apologize). I saw barbed wires and claims of apartheid. Never have I seen CSI paint Israeli busses being blown up on Walker wall or anywhere else, let alone or using such biased, incorrect language in front of the eyes of the general public. SJP should look up the definition of apartheid, and maybe speak to an elederly black South African about apartheid to get an understanding on the word.
        Thank goodness Gay pride painted over such propaganda. Separate bus lines? Really? I have lived in Jerusalem and I have never seen an Arab refused on an Israeli-operated bus line. Arabs have their OWN independently Arab-owned bus rides to service Arab neighborhoods.
        SJP needs to clean up their image or risk getting destroyed in debates such as how I am demolishing them right here.

        • A_cockroach

          I could accept basis remarks from CSI, like when some of the facts presented in their events are solely from the IDF (every military is extremely biased). But I refuse to be okay when CSI members mix words like ‘Palestinians’ and ‘Hamas’ together to make the link that all Palestinians are terrorists; especially when talking to a crowd who may not know the different. Also, CSI called SJP an ‘anti-semantic’ group on campus last year (when SJP was hardly active). The group urged members to attend the SJP meetings to ‘fact check’. There was no need for the label, especially since it was at the start of the year and the only thing that SJP had done at that point was send out a mass email about the first club meeting. Anti-semantic is a powerful word and should be used properly. So, sorry if I’m harsh on CSI but there are faults, I would argue, on both sides.

          Probably because CSI and SJP are both desperate to get the Claremont community engaged about the Arab-Israeli issue. I’m sure CSI members would agree with me when I say that for a community that is filled with the brightest and greatest, hardly anyone knows about the conflict. Hell, I’ve been in classes when the question, ‘What is Palestine?’ has actually been asked. There is a form of orientalism that exists on this campus that I feel like many Arab-Americans have to combat. I wouldn’t say that this is any different then any other American campus, but just disappointing considering brilliance within the community.

          There were plenty events that week that allowed the average Claremont students to attend and find out more about the theatrics at the checkpoints. In fact, this is a common form of protest that many SJP groups across the nation use to engage the general population. I believe the one at Tufts was far more dramatic this year the then the measly checkpoint in front of CMC.

          Apartheid week is an annual event in which SJP groups across the country raise awareness about the conflict. In fact, it’s ‘celebrated’ all over the world. And it sounds like you’ve been in Israel… and I’m sure you’ve seen the walls (hell, you can even seen them in Lebanon). It’s ugly and depressing. It is meant to separate Palestinians and Israelis. I’m sure it’s for security reasons but it seems a little excessive and primitive considering the weapons that Israel has.

          Out of curiosity, and not a means of vicious attacks, how would you define apartheid? And why do you believe that Israel doesn’t fit this description? Again, this isn’t a meant as a nasty remark.

          I’m sorry to burst your bubble but there is in fact a segregating busline: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/03/20133414315434321.html. It only occurred recently.

  8. Arielle Z.

    There are many Israelis and even people in CSI who view Israel and its relations to Gaza and the West Bank as apartheid or at least apartheid-like. If I were you I would read more info.

  9. @MyNameIsJack

    i would skull fuck that dude

    • Ainsley Pak

      Wow, great contribution. How did you even get into college?

  10. john bedecarre '12

    everyone in this comments section is completely misrepresenting the actual motives of the people involved here. the pitzer student was obviously trying to provoke some kind of political confrontation with the cmc professor. there’s nothing wrong with that. the cmc professor on the other hand was trying to ignore the student, but finally felt the student was physically threatening him, and so he responded with a physical threat of his own. the prof heard “i’m gonna hurt you” and he responded with “yea right, i could squash you.”

    everyone can write magnum opus comments about “the institutional mechanisms of racism” and other fantasies but all of that simply ignores the reality of what happened.

    • john bedecarre '12

      also just to clarify, i dont think the pitzer student’s statement “i will hunt you down” was meant to be a physical threat, rather he probably meant “now that i know you’re a faculty member i will be able to identify you and call you out for trying to stop the event.” so the professor’s comment was over the top, but it wasn’t political or racist.

      • CMC Alum '11

        Just to make a point (though it might not need to be made)

        Whether it was a physical threat or not, in this day and age, probably not a good comment to ever make.

        • john bedecarre '12

          agreed. i’ve been thinking about it more and it’s a lot different than calling someone an asshole or something. also it looks worse considering the prof wasn’t just walking by, but going way out of his way to stop the event

          • CMC Alum

            Well, the professor was doing so because a student actually came to him feeling uncomfortable.

            That I am 100% okay with.

            Main instigating remark I think crossed lines is the “I will hunt you down remark”.

  11. Its important to know that this is not the only event that SJP has put on this year. They have had movie screenings, poets, and speakers….. many of them Jewish by the way.

    • Ainsley Pak

      Right. And non of them expressed “hatred for Jewish people.”

      All distinguished between an abusive Israeli state and Jewish people.

  12. Pissed Off Student

    Simply because a person is Jewish does not mean that they automatically support Israel, or that they make the offensive half-truths that have been said at these events validated. Everybody keeps making the connection that because they are Jewish, saying things against Israel are supposed to hold more weight than those who are not.

  13. Former Pitzer Student

    Wow. this makes me so sad. Unfortunately long ago I learned that there is no point in trying to argue with someone who has already made up their mind. It is the people in the middle that are worth the time and effort to advocate to. It is to those people, who might have been future supporters of either cause, that thus incident is alienating. The misinformation on both sides of this comment section is astounding.

    I also believe that no matter who you are, where you are from or what you have been through gives you the right to disrespect an educator or harass your peers. Heaven forbid a professor be human and lose his temper.

    I would also say for the record that I have lived in Israel, been to the west bank and lived right over the border from Gaza. The wall saved my life at least two times that I know of by stopping trucks full of explosives targeting the area of jerusalem I lived in. Additionally, while living further south I could hear the sounds of rockets hitting the nearest city when Israel was attacked from Gaza.

    I mention these facts because Claremont should be a place where everyone feels safe and as a student I was personally harassed by members SJP when that information was known.

    Since I am being Biased. When all the Jew-hating anti-Zionist propaganda begins to lead to more and more violence where is the one country in the entire world that is jewish? Hating Jews runs through world history and I, for one, am glad to have a country that might not try and mass murder myself and my family.

    But, you know, misinformation and propaganda never lead to large scale violence or anything, so I really shouldn’t worry. Right?

    • Ainsley Pak

      What are you talking about?

      SJP isn’t against Jewish people, and it’s not against Israel.

      It’s against the Apartheid-like abuse of Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli state.

      Are you like, part deaf or something? Whatever it is, you sure don’t listen very well.

  14. Nico

    My previous understanding of the events based on TSL was that Professor Raviv happened to walk by the demonstration, got mad at what he saw and so called a student a fucking cockroach. The fact that a student asked him to take a look at what was going on makes a huge difference in my perception of the events. Regardless of the rest of what happened, he only became involved because he was trying to protect a student. I recognize that TSL had no way of knowing that, I am just stating my largest take-away from this article.

  15. Jaime

    If someone in the street asks for my ID, I will freak out. If someone in the street shouts on my face and asks for my ID, I will either fight or run. Running out of your dinning room doesn’t make sense. Raviv was brave and right, and he has been proved right by the reviewing committee about his response. The Palestinians group has the right to demonstrate, but not to intimidate students. They should demonstrate their cause by showing how they fight in the Gaza strip against Israel, how they rocket civilians and how their women have zero rights and cover their faces. This is the reality in palestinian Gaza governed by Hamas fundamentalists. it is also true, that Assad in Siria has kill more Palestinians in 12 months than Israel and Palestinians casualties in the last 50years. It is also true, that palestinians in the Gaza Strip are at war with the Palestinians in the West bank. They don’t agree about nothing, only in their hate to the state of Israel. Just don’t let them put you at war here too!
    By Mexicani

  16. Charles C. Johnson

    Thank God for the Claremont Independent.

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