Middle East studies in the News
Professor, Students Shockingly Appropriate This Symbol to Protest Islamophobia [on Bahar Davary]
by Howard Portnoy
It's impossible to walk across virtually any college campus in America these days without tripping over one or another group of protesters bemoaning perceived (imaginary?) offenses.
The general description of the insult varies with the new moon so that one month it's microaggressions, the next, trigger warnings. The flavor of this month's grievance is cultural appropriation, and its most recent appearance was at Oberlin College in Ohio, where students have descended on the school's dining halls for daring to serve inauthentic ethnic fare.
A fresh story out of the University of San Diego suggests these people have a sense of humor, albeit a perverse one. The Washington Free Beacon's Adam Kredo reports that a professor and her students have adopted the symbol shown here in their crusade anti-Muslim rhetoric.
Bahar Davary, an Iranian-American associate professor of theology and religious studies, came up with the idea — which you don't have to be Jewish to hate.
Davary herself seems to understand the potential for shock and outrage over her co-opting of the iconic star that European Jews were forced to wear during the Nazi regime that led ultimately to the Holocaust. "We realize that it is a stark symbol that carries a lot of weight and meaning today not only for Jews but for humanity," she is quoted as saying.
The response from the Jewish and Israeli community have been surprisingly measured. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which combats anti-Semitism, is quoted as saying said, "the imagery is off. While the Jews of Europe 'constituted no threat whatsoever to the German state' in the 1930s, the subject of radical [Islamic] terrorism is real."
My recommendation for Jewish students on campus is to express their dismay over the appropriation of this symbol with a symbolic reminder of their own that, in addition to gassing, tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust were sent to the gallows. The suggested symbol? An effigy of a human corpse hanging from a tree.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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