‘It should be taken seriously’: Anti-Semitic posters found on UC Berkeley, UC Davis campuses

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Aditi Raghunath/File

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Anti-Semitic posters were found outside of Eshleman Hall this week — an incident that has been met with widespread condemnation from members of the campus Jewish community and the campus administration.

UCPD received reports of four posters Wednesday about 10:30 a.m., according to UCPD Sgt. Jon Caires. The posters allege that Jewish Americans are involved in “anti-white, anti-American, anti-freedom” conspiracies, particularly surrounding opposition to the recent confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The posters indicate that the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, is the group behind their distribution, but UCPD said the posters are still under investigation.

In an emailed statement to the campus community, Chancellor Carol Christ condemned the posters, stating, “Anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination have no place in the University.”

“In the wake of this incident I want to make clear that my administration and this campus community stand together in condemnation of this and all hateful ideologies,” Christ said in the statement. “We abhor and condemn anti-Semitic words and deeds on this campus and beyond.”

On Monday, the same anti-Semitic posters were found on the UC Davis campus. UCPD is currently conducting an investigation to see if there were any crimes committed and if there is any connection between the anti-Semitic posters found at UC Berkeley and UC Davis.

This is not the first time anti-Semitic posters have been found on UC Berkeley’s campus. A similar incident occurred in September 2016 and again in January 2017 when anti-Semitic and homophobic fliers were posted and printed around campus.

In an email, ASUC Senator Justin Greenwald alleged that in the past, the campus administration has not often been proactive in condemning and addressing incidents of anti-Semitism on campus without pressure from Jewish students. He added, however, that he hopes the administration’s response to this incident will mark a shift toward “a more proactive combating of anti-Semitism.”

“Initially, I was both saddened and extremely disturbed,” Greenwald said in an email. “As an American-Jew, I have always known that such anti-Semitic ideas exist in our country and the world. It is still shocking to see this form of hatred first hand in a place that so many Jewish students, professors, and staff, call home.”

In his email, Greenwald asked for Christ to hold a meeting with campus Jewish student leaders to have an open conversation about anti-Semitism on campus. He added that he is currently working with the UC Davis student body president on a joint statement about the posters.

Various student organizations, such as J Street U at Berkeley and Tikvah: Students for Israel, have responded to the anti-Semitic posters. Tikvah, a Zionist group on campus, said in a Facebook post that Jewish students have been raising the issue of Nazi imagery on campus to the campus administration since 2015 — and the administration has “neglected to take serious measures” in response.

“I think it’s atrocious. It should be taken seriously and should be condemned by all students,” said Berkeley Hillel executive director Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman. “I am hopeful that the university will continue to show their support.”

Contact Bella An at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @BellaAn_dc.