Here’s a story that has been kicking around on the Republican rightsphere for awhile, but has now made the leap to the New York Times as Adam Nagourney figures out how to spin it properly:
By ADAM NAGOURNEY MARCH 5, 2015
“Old biases …” UCLA of course is a notorious redoubt of racoon coat-wearing, Stutz Bearcat-driving WASPs, so their legacy of hate apparently lives on.
LOS ANGELES — It seemed like routine business for the student council at the University of California, Los Angeles: confirming the nomination of Rachel Beyda, a second-year economics major who wants to be a lawyer someday, to the council’s Judicial Board.
Until it came time for questions.
“Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community,” Fabienne Roth, a member of the Undergraduate Students Association Council, began, looking at Ms. Beyda at the other end of the room, “how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?”
For the next 40 minutes, after Ms. Beyda was dispatched from the room, the council tangled in a debate about whether her faith and affiliation with Jewish organizations, including her sorority and Hillel, a popular student group, meant she would be biased in dealing with sensitive governance questions that come before the board, which is the campus equivalent of the Supreme Court.
My impression of UCLA student politics when I was there in 1980-82 was that it was basically ethnic politics with training wheels. An Asian named Sam Law was elected student body president, running largely, as I recall, on a platform of being Asian. I mean, what else is there to run on in student council elections?
As far as I can tell, it was always like that. (Keep in mind that UCLA is one of the youngest famous universities in the world, barely existing before the late 1920s and not being officially granted equal status with Berkeley until the 1950s. But its tremendous location next to America’s richest neighborhood in 1960, Beverly Hills, gave it huge advantages not possessed by similar late-comers.)
About 1960, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills for 40 years) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Burbank for 30 years) met up at the UCLA Young Democrats, formed a lifelong alliance, and got 70 years in Congress between them.
But Berman should have gotten reapportioned out in 2002 in favor of a Mexican, but his brother prodigiously gerrymandered the entire state of California to preserve Howard’s seat. He finally got pushed out by reapportionment in 2012, which created a safe Mexican seat in the Valley, pitting Berman, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee v. retail politician extraordinaire Brad Sherman in a battle of two Jewish incumbents for career survival, which Berman lost.
Waxman held on to retire in January, but he was replaced by a Chinese guy. So, since 2012, the Greater Hollywood Hills have gone from being represented by four Jewish Democratic Congressmen down to two (Sherman and Adam Schiff).
So you can see that this Diversity Trend can be worrying, especially at UCLA.
The discussion, recorded in written minutes and captured on video, seemed to echo the kind of questions, prejudices and tropes — particularly about divided loyalties — that have plagued Jews across the globe for centuries, students and Jewish leaders said.
The council, in a meeting that took place on Feb. 10, voted first to reject Ms. Beyda’s nomination, with four members against her. Then, at the prodding of a faculty adviser there who pointed out that belonging to Jewish organizations was not a conflict of interest, the students revisited the question and unanimously put her on the board.
So this Jewish activist had her approval delayed by other ethnic and ideological activists for 40 minutes, and the other activists have been apologizing ever since … not exactly the Dreyfus Affair.
But in the weeks since, that uncomfortable debate has upended this campus of 29,600 students that has long been central to the identity of Los Angeles. It has set off an anguished discussion of how Jews are treated, particularly in comparison with other groups that are more typically viewed as victims of discrimination, such as African-Americans and gays and lesbians.
Like I’ve been saying …
So, should Jews try to tone down black and gay victimist triumphalism, or try to top it by emphasizing their victimization?
Part of the ongoing liberal crack-up unleashed by the Democratic re-election campaign in 2012 and exposed by the Democratic defeat in 2014 is the increasing anxiety felt by the single most important swing group in the country: ethnocentric liberal Jews.
… The president of the student council, Avinoam Baral, who had nominated Ms. Beyda, appeared stunned at the turn the questioning took at the session and sought at first to rule Ms. Roth’s question out of order. “I don’t feel that’s an appropriate question,” he said.
In an interview, Mr. Baral, who is Jewish, said he “related personally to what Rachel was going through.”
“It’s very problematic to me that students would feel that it was appropriate to ask that kind of questions, especially given the long cultural history of Jews,” he said. “We’ve been questioned all of our history: Are Jews loyal citizens? Don’t they have divided loyalties? All of these anti-Semitic tropes.”
We hear a lot about swing voters, but it’s usually an overblown concept. Some Jews aren’t going to swing: Noam Chomsky won’t. But Jews with a healthy, natural regard for their ethnic group can and have swung before and may do it again as they sense that the winds blowing on the Left are not good for the Jews. Obviously, the number of votes is unimportant, but not money, media influence, and general argumentative intensity.
On the other hand, it’s not hard for Jews to get other Jews worked up into “anguished discussions” over how great-grandma couldn’t get into the snippy WASP sorority and great-grandpa couldn’t get into the Los Angeles Country Club, and the real enemy is, as always, Haven Monahan.