San Francisco State University’s Department of Jewish Studies once again publicly condemns and repudiates the Horowitz Freedom Center’s threats against one of our professorial colleagues and the targeting of several of our undergraduate students. Reiterating our statement of October 2016, when the same kind of divisive messages were surreptitiously posted on campus, we reject the invocation of anti-Semitism as a tool to advance a narrow political agenda.
The cynicism that lies behind these surreptitious broadsides is uncovered by the fact that this was done on a day when the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) and the eve of the Muslim New Year (the first day of the month of Muharram) coincided. Although the authors of this truculent material claim to be acting in defense of Jews, their distance from the Jewish community is revealed by the desecration of a day held to be consequential, if not holy, by many Jews. Those SF State Jews and Muslims whose attention would have been directed to community and family were conceivably caught off guard, and certainly were not able to respond in as adequate and timely a manner as might otherwise have done.
We have seen this kind of tactic before, when outside individuals or groups swoop down on SF State and leave all the rest of us on campus to clean up afterwards. Instead of letting the aftermath of this violation become yet another exercise in cleaning up, we must come to understand that when any members of our campus community are threatened, the risk to all of us is revealed.
After what happened in Charlottesville, it should be clear that the exterminationist voices of white supremacy and hate are directed against both Muslims and Jews, as well as African-Americans and Hispanics, and all people of color. In recent weeks, both mosques and synagogues have been vandalized in the Bay Area. We see this moment of threat as an opportunity to clarify our shared values at SF State, and we call upon the members of our SF State community to commit themselves to their furtherance.
Faculty of the Department of Jewish Studies
San Francisco State University