A bubbling cauldron at UCI?

Special Commentary from Andrew Davey at Calitics

UCI

Last night, UCI Chancellor Michael Drake met with Jewish students to discuss the recent unrest on campus. Here’s what The OC Register has to say about it:

UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake told several hundred concerned Jewish community members Wednesday night to join in on discussions and work together against what he calls isolated incidents of anti-Jewish speech by outsiders on campus.Drake answered questions during a 90-minute town hall meeting at Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Irvine addressing concerns about what the Jewish community calls ongoing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on UCI’s campus.

“We promote dialogue, understanding, growth and tolerance at UCI,” Drake said. “I’d like to enlist all of you in working with me to make Jewish life on campus as strong as possible.”

So what’s happening on campus? Is there an anti-Jewish problem on campus? Is there an anti-Muslim problem on campus? Why is UCI becoming such a hotbed of controversy? Follow me after the flip for more…

So what exactly is happening at UCI? Jewish groups on campus have been complaining about anti-Semitic incidents for quite some times now. Pajamas Media likes to call what’s happening an “intifada” against Jews on campus. The Jewish Journal asks if UCI is a hotbed of anti-Semitic harassment. So is there an anti-Semitic problem at UCI?

But wait, is this all that’s happening? After all, the very same Muslim Student Union that is being accused of being behind all this harassment is itself claiming harassment. In fact, police are still investigating the charge that an FBI agent threatened a Muslim student who was just taking down a protest wall on campus. And most recently, the folks at Red County/OC Blog accused the Muslim Student Union of “preaching terror on campus”, even though The Daily Pilot found no anti-Semitism and no incitement to “terrorism” at the event in question. If anything, it seemed like it was the commenters on the OC Blog story preaching hate.

So what’s the problem? Why do both sides feel so victimized? Perhaps there are incidents of radical extremists targeting Jews on campus. Perhaps there are right-wing extremists who seek to stir trouble with the Muslims on campus. Perhaps the controversy at UCI is getting way out of control. What can be done to quell the controversy? What can be done to reconcile the differences between the Jewish groups and the Muslim groups on campus? Why is the conflict at UCI almost reaching Israeli-Palestinean levels of intensity?

Hopefully, UCI Chancellor Drake and the administration can come up with a solution here. Something has to be done to address this bubbling cauldron. Something has to be done to stop this from bubbling past the boiling point.

  23 comments for “A bubbling cauldron at UCI?

  1. May 31, 2007 at 8:08 am

    Wow, I wonder who wrote that? ; )

    No really, I’m just wondering what’s going on at UCI. FBI following Muslims, Jewish students afraid to go to school, accusations of harassment and discrimination flying everywhere…
    What the heck is happening here?! Sad. : (

  2. May 31, 2007 at 8:51 am

    Perhaps…

    Perhaps both sides enjoy their respective victimhoods.

    I graduated from UCI four years ago, and spent the last year as the opinion editor for the school newspaper, sifting through the controversy. The Muslim Student Union, are they are now, were a provocative, obnoxious bunch who invited inflammatory speakers and enjoyed the attention. They’d protest some Jewish community get-together on a Saturday, or set up events advertising that Israel was “the Fourth Reich.” Protests would treat the existence of Israel as a great crime.

    Israeli-friendly groups started doing the same — one group had an Israeli bus wrecked by a suicide bombing sitting in front of the school library for a few days. The College Republicans held a “talk” on the infamous Danish cartoons mocking Islam that was really an excuse for buffoonish posturing.

    Mind you, this is the University of California, at Irvine — proud home of the Anteater and prominent departments such as biology and literary criticism. This sometimes sleepy atmosphere is ripe for exploitation, so both sides beg for the university’s sympathy with an arm’s race of emotional manipulation. The only true way to end this self-destructive, victim-centered rivalry is for the students to suck it up and admit the other side isn’t the center of world evil, and won’t be going away soon.

    Easier said then done, of course. But it isn’t like the Middle East has been a breezy romp for the world’s diplomats either.

    DU

  3. May 31, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    And most recently, the folks at Red County/OC Blog accused the Muslim Student Union of “preaching terror on campus”, even though The Daily Pilot found no anti-Semitism and no incitement to “terrorism” at the event in question.

    Chris: those were two different events on two different days with two different speakers.

  4. Northcountystorm
    May 31, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    Mechanical Eye: Thanks for the great post. Your “suck it up” prescription is right on.

  5. Jim Bieber
    May 31, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    “The College Republicans held a “talk” on the infamous Danish cartoons mocking Islam that was really an excuse for buffoonish posturing. ”

    It was an ‘excuse’ to stand up for free speech. The cartoons were only infamous because people were killed over them in riots and the death threats issued (still standing) against artists.

    What was buffoonish about that? I know what was beyond buffoonish it was terrifying, it was the demonstrators outside who were screaming outside the event for Allah with cardboard cut outs of AK-47s. The few demonstrators who I spoke with said straight up that the penalty for drawing such cartoons should be death. Where were the College Dems and other ‘liberal’ groups in joining the CRs ‘posturing’ against real fascism.

    “ If anything, it seemed like it was the commenters on the OC Blog story preaching hate.”

    Exactly what “hate” was being preached. Cite a comment from the OC Bloggers– you can’t. You just pulled that out of thin air to make a point that everyone is guilty and everyone shares some blame.

  6. May 31, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Jim Bieber –

    I called the talk “buffoonish” mainly because of the audience. The panel was generally intelligent, but I’d agree with you that the demonstrators outside were belligerent and had a martial air that made no sense for a weekday evening in Irvine.

    But were you in there for the panel itself? The crowd inside the building was rude to the Islamic speakers they invited, right down to the mocking boos the cartoons got when they were dramatically revealed to the audience.

    The College Republicans held the event as an attention-grabbing stunt. That and the poor crowd control inside doomed it as a serious discussion.

    Yes, the worldwide reaction against those cartoons shows how deeply insecure Islamic theology is. But UCI could have handled the controversy in a more thoughtful way. Instead we got more of the antics that are leading to FBI investigations of UCI student groups.

    DU

  7. Aunt Millie
    May 31, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks, Mechanical Eye,

    It’s good to get a report from a sensible observer. I sure don’t trust the local press to provide any decent coverage.

    College Republicans were a strange group when I went to school, with a surprising number of closeted queens, who keep popping up decades later as they check into rehab. They’ve sure produced a crop of unprincipled tacticians who have no respect for our Constitution.

  8. May 31, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    Okay Bieber, I’ll bite…

    From my previous post on the topic.

    From Commentor Barry:

    “When will American Jews wake up to the absolute wickedness of the Islamic religion. Every single follower of Islam: man, woman, and child, is taught nothing but such anti-semitism from the second they are born. The death cult of Mohammed is the biggest threat to American Jewry.”

    This comment from coach:

    “It would be a great service if Amir Abdul-Malik Ali would tell us how to recognize a Zionist Jew when wrapped from head to foot like a Muslim terrorist. If someone looking like that emerged out of the restroom on an airplane, it would be comforting to know that it is only some Jewish guy trying to make Muslims look bad. Then I can go back to reading my magazine.”

    Or this from someone named Debbie:

    “Can you believe the same Bill Dalati that ran for Anahiem City Council, the same one who is a memeber of CAIR now sits on the board of Lorri Galloways Eli Home?”

  9. June 1, 2007 at 7:29 am

    College Republicans were a strange group when I went to school, with a surprising number of closeted queens, who keep popping up decades later as they check into rehab. They’ve sure produced a crop of unprincipled tacticians who have no respect for our Constitution.

    Aunt Millie, yesterday you claimed “it’s par for the course from the radical right. They’ve abandoned any pretense of Republican core values, and are reduced to fear-mongering and senseless hatred of liberals.”

    Again, for someone who condemns fear-mongering and senseless hatred, you sure like indulging in it. That’s a fine double standard you’ve got going there.

  10. June 1, 2007 at 7:34 am

    Chris:

    I agree the comment from Barry was over the line and I deleted it once I saw it. I’m not sure what the coach was referring to, but his comment isn’t hate speech. As for debbie’s comment, it’s another weird debbie comment.

    That’s 3 out of 28 comments.

  11. Dan Chmielewski
    June 1, 2007 at 9:07 am

    I’m not seeing the hatred part. Snark, yes. Hatred no.

  12. Jim Bieber
    June 1, 2007 at 9:55 am

    I was there for the entire event.

    “I called the talk “buffoonish” mainly because of the audience.”

    It was radical Muslims in the audience who were heckling the speakers that was the problem

    “ That and the poor crowd control inside doomed it as a serious discussion.”

    The poor control was the failure of the cops to eject the Muslim members in the audience who were shouting at the speakers. That’s why the program didn’t run as smoothly as it should. But when you make a stand and engage in a frontline debate things are never pristine, people get flustered and some people get rude. Any hiccups in the presentation allows folks who did NOTHING to publicly to condemn the deaths and death threats over the cartoon to nit pick. I mean PUBLICLY putting yourself, in person on the line, to be attacked Islamic cells. Did any of you brave liberal folks even pen a letter to the editor?

    “..Yes, the worldwide reaction against those cartoons shows how deeply insecure Islamic theology is.”

    That’s like referring to a rapist as someone who’s simply insecure about his sexuality. Their reaction isn’t ‘insecurity’ it’s evil.

    “But UCI could have handled the controversy in a more thoughtful way.”

    What would have been more “thoughtful” than letting the cartoons in question be shown and debated in a public forum? Is there a thoughtful way around the first amendment?

  13. Dan Chmielewski
    June 1, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Jim -
    two things: you have no idea if Letters to the Editor on the cartoons were penned by Liberals or Conservatives and getting a letter published is altogether different than writing one, ins’t it?

    And Rape is not a sex crime; it’s a crime of violence and power over the victim.

  14. Jim Bieber
    June 1, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Uggg don’t want to open a can of worms but…

    Beating the crap out of someone is assault. “a crime of violence and power”

    Rape requires a sexual element or it ISN’T rape its an assault. This twisted PC description desexualizing rape does not help the victims or reduce rape. If rape isn’t a sexual crime what is?

    This fuzzy thinking is exactly like Rosie O’Donnell saying that America is a sponsor of state terrorism. She either very stupid, or is twisting the definition of a word to make some political statement.

    What’s the big smarty pants reason for making such a Orwellian statement about rape not being a sex crime? Its not the woman’s fault that she’s raped because she dressed in a sexy manner or looks sexy duhhh – got it.

    Let me try some liberal think…

    Mugging isn’t about stealing. Being mugged is about economic disenfranchisement and power. Gee I feel smarter already.

  15. Dan Chmielewski
    June 1, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    Jim –
    Talk with the folks the run the rape crisis clinic in OC; I’m just passin on what they tell me. Or take it to the next level; how do you explain prison rape among men who aren’t gay? Must be those pretty pumps they wear in jail, right?

    And Ned Beatty is a hunk of man-meat from “Deliverance” right?

    This isn’t an issue of liberal or conservative Jim; talk to the experts on it.

  16. Flowerszzz
    June 1, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    I would argue that rape is both a sex crime and a crime of violence…as I am sure the women at the rape crisis center would as well.

  17. June 1, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    It seems that Jim Bieber has again managed to change the topic of discussion to something that has nothing to do with the original post.

    So let’s bring things back into focus…

    In a recent post on Red County/OCBlog El Liberdator writes about the UCI Republicans fighting back against MSU extremism here. What I found most striking in his comments were these words.

    But what was most remarkable about the event, was that the three ex-terrorists were able to relinquish the fear of condemning not just radical Islam, but inspiring the crowd to rally for their critique of the religion and its message delivered from the Koran. When each of them revealed their conversion to Christianity the audience erupted in cheer. The speakers also condemned Americans for being weak and urged their audience to fight this dangerous and ever growing ideology.

    I would say, based upon this comment that this room full of College Republicans was also a room of Christian evangelists bent on one world religion, Christianity.

    I doubt there would have been the same level of applause if the speakers had indicated their conversion to Buddhism.

    The sad thing here is that if Christian zealots were to ever win their war to eliminate the Muslim faith from this planet, they would soon turn on the Jews they are using for cover now.

    Religious zealots exist in most religions. The stories that El Liberdator described as being told by the speakers seem eerily similar to the scenes I saw in the documentary Jesus Camp.

    Shawn SteelThen we have this…

    Leave it it Republican racist Shawn Steel, former Chairman of the California Republican Party, to add icing to the cake of hatred. In his commentary today titled UCI: The war against the 5th column on the FlashReport he closes his post with this…

    And, unbelievable in a very related story, in the morning’s Los Angeles Times comes a report of a young Muslim where police believe he murdered his ex girlfriend’s father and older sister and bludgeoned her mother, on May 21st. The family home was burned down. The ex girlfriend is an 18 year old Hindu student from UCI. Shayona Dhanak who had broken up with Iftekhar Murtaza. Four US marshals arrested Murtaza at Sky Harbor International Airport, where he was trying to fly on a one way ticket to Bangladesh…

    Here is how I read this: Muslim Male = Murderer

    Disgusting, even from a Republican.

    If you’re interested, here is the link to the Wiki page on The Fifth Column

  18. June 2, 2007 at 8:33 am

    Chris Prevatt, chamion of tolerance and enemy of “hate speech” had this to say on OC Blog:

    The sad thing here is that if Christian zealots were to ever win their war to eliminate the Muslim faith from this planet, they would soon turn on the Jews they are using for cover now.

    What was it you’ve been saying about hate speech?

  19. June 2, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Matt,

    Not sure how this is hate speech. Particularly in the context of the perspectives of many evangelical Christians regarding their faith.

    My point is that there are radicals, fundamentalists, and zealots in many religions. They all share the same perspective that their particular belief is the only true belief and that they shall be the only people to live forever in the paradise of heaven.

    I will cite this example, from a person who has spoken for evangelical Christians for decades, Pat Robertson:

    The New World Order, (1991), p.17; “Communism was the brainchild of German-Jewish intellectuals.”

    And this in the Petersburg Times, June 26, 1994; Bailey Smith, a founding father of Robertson’s Christian Coalition, once told 15,000 people at a Religious Roundtable briefing in Dallas,

    “With all due respect to those dear people, my friend, God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.”

    I think that pretty much supports what I stated. It isn’t hate speech when you cite the hate speech of others. I do not believe that all Christians agree with what Robertson preaches or support acts of terror like murdering doctors at family planning clinics. As a Christian, I certainly do not agree with him. Just as I do not believe that all Muslims share the perspectives of fundamentalist terrorists.

    Fundamentalist zealots will always seek out a new target once they have destroyed their previous target. It would be naive to think that those who wish to establish the United States as a “Christian Nation” would somehow tolerate any other religon in their new world order.

  20. June 2, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    Well, Chris, making a baseless accusation that Christian “zealots” (I’m pretty certain your definition is far broader than most people’s) want to exterminate Jews and Muslims — I’d say that’s pretty hateful.

  21. Jim Bieber
    June 2, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    This bit of REAL hatred in today”s news…

    “Authorities said the four were motivated by a pattern of hatred toward the U.S., Israel and the West.”

    Chris:

    How do you “read this” I read it “KABOOM’!

    CBS) NEW YORK Four Muslim men were foiled from carrying out a plot to destroy John F. Kennedy International Airport, kill thousands of people and trigger an economic catastrophe by blowing up a jet fuel artery that runs through populous residential neighborhoods, authorities said Saturday.

    “My point is that there are radicals, fundamentalists, and zealots in many religions. They all share the same perspective that their particular belief is the only true belief and that they shall be the only people to live forever in the paradise of heaven.”

    True Chris, but what ONE religion is carrying out mass murder TARGETING civilians in the NAME of their religion?

    As the wise and attractive Ann Coulter points out. Not all Muslims are terrorists BUT ALL terrorists in this century are Muslims.

    How do you propose to end the hatred from Muslim cells operating in the US. There are and will never be any terrorists from UCI so we shouldn’t bother to look.

    What can we do to make the members of other cells (none at UCI) to stop hating us? Last month four other men were arrested who were they again what were they going to shoot up? They weren’t from UCI.

    Lets stop spying on them and start listening.

    I suspect we can removing their hatred by hearing their complaints and do what they request. Its as simple as that – no more terrorism against the US. Let’s dialog and give them what they want. The dialog IS provided at UCI.

    #1 pull troops out of Iraq (can do!)
    #2 pull troops out of Afghanistan (In a week)
    #3 All US troops out of the Middle East and the Asia (bring them home six months tops)
    #4 end all aid and military support to Israel

    Problem solved, no more attacks on US soil.

  22. June 2, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Jim you asked;
    “What ONE religion is carrying out mass murder TARGETING civilians in the NAME of their religion?

    Answer: NONE Only religious fanatics do that.

    You then say;
    “As the wise and attractive Ann Coulter points out. Not all Muslims are terrorists BUT ALL terrorists in this century are Muslims.”

    WRONG

    We’ve had the Uni-bomber, we’ve had the Oklahoma City bomber Tim McVeigh; we’ve had Eric Rudolph who was responsible for bombings at the Atlanta Olympics and family planning clinics, and of course let’s not forget the terrorism perpetrated daily throughout our country by gangs, whose members number in the tens of thousands if not more, and none faith based, much less based in Islamic faith.

    But of course you had to quote from Ann Coulter the mistress of hate who said:

    Wouldn’t such an action make our government and our military no better than the radical Islamic terrorists?

  23. June 2, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    UPDATE:

    Iftekhar MurtzaI have finally had some time to research the spin on the arrest of Iftekhar Murtza presented by Shawn Steel in his Flash Report Commentary. Given that he cited the LATImes, that was where I started looking…

    From the LA Times on March 31st:

    Murtaza was taken into custody this weekend at Sky Harbor International Airport on a fugitive warrant that said he was carrying a one-way ticket to Bangladesh and was a “possible suspect” in the attacks on the Anaheim Hills family.

    But Murtaza’s attorney, Jeremy Phillips of Phoenix, told reporters this morning that the young man had notified police that he had purchased a round-trip ticket to Bangladesh and was to return in July.

    and on Friday June 1st:

    Murtaza, 22, of Van Nuys, whom authorities described as a “person of interest,” agreed in a court hearing Thursday to be extradited to California for further questioning. No charges have been filed against him, and police said they were looking for multiple suspects.

    Shawn SteelNow let’s contrast this with Steel’s comments…

    And, unbelievable in a very related story, in the morning’s Los Angeles Times comes a report of a young Muslim where police believe he murdered his ex girlfriend’s father and older sister and bludgeoned her mother, on May 21st. The family home was burned down. The ex girlfriend is an 18 year old Hindu student from UCI. Shayona Dhanak who had broken up with Iftekhar Murtaza. Four US marshals arrested Murtaza at Sky Harbor International Airport, where he was trying to fly on a one way ticket to Bangladesh…

    Nothing like spinning the truth to convict a “person of interest” for a crime that he has not even been charged with.

    But I guess anything goes if you’re trying to paint ALL Muslim men as terrorists.  That does seem to be what Steel specializes in.

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