‘End Jew Hatred’ Protest Held at USC
September 9, 2020
A protest against anti-Semitism was held at the University of Southern California (USC) on Labor Day, September 7th, with more than 100 people, the Jewish Journal reported.
The protest was held in response to USC student government vice president Rose Ritch announcing her resignation last month, after being harassed for her Zionist identity. Several organizations took part in the protest including the Lawfare Project, the Institute for Black Solidarity With Israel (IBSI), Club Z, Beverly Hills Jewish Community Synagogue, and Herut North America.
The founder and executive directer Club Z, Masha Merkulova, said at the start of the protest, “We are here to demand an end to Jew hatred in this generation. We are tired of seeing Jews excluded and punished for our identity. We are sick when Middle East policies are being used to keep Jewish students out of spaces. We are fed up of showing up again and again for other marginalized [people] only to get cold shoulders when it’s our turn.”
Merkulova also called for action and consequences against individuals who express anti-Semitism on campus. “We will not allow bigots and racists to use Zionism against us,” Merkulova said.
The director of IBSI, Joshua Washington, also spoke at the protest and argued that institutional anti-Semitism never ends with the Jewish people. “When I hear that Jewish students like Rose Ritch are being bullied by other students into choosing between being a Zionist and being Jewish, I think to myself, would anyone apply that same pressure to any other ethnic group?” Washington said. “Would those same students force a Kenyan American to have to choose between being Kenyan and supporting Kenya’s right to exist?”
Washington went on to say that Jewish students are often made to feel that they can’t be accepted on campuses unless they are “meek and quiet and you stay in your place.” “I can tell you as a Black man, someone who won’t accept you because you’re strong is not someone by who you want acceptance. If someone will only bring you into the fold because you’re weak and defenseless, you can be sure that they will do everything they can to keep you that way,” Washington said.
The Lawfare Project’s senior counsel, Gerard Filitti, applauded the turnout for the rally and called for the creation of a civil rights movement for the Jewish people. “This is where we start doing that: by standing together and fighting instances of hate, one at a time,” Filitti said.
Also speaking at the event was Liberate Art CEO Lana Melman. Liberate Art is an organization that fights against the cultural boycott of Israel. Shayna Lavi, who was told during by a UCLA guest lecturer in 2019 that because of her Zionist identity, she is a white supremacist, also spoke at the protest alongside her sister Talia, who introduced a Black and Jewish Unity initiative.
After the speeches, protest attendees marched along nearby streets holding signs that read “End Jew Hatred.” During the march, many passing cars honked in solidarity.
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