Anti-Israel atmosphere at PSU must go

While I am glad the editors of the Vanguard have accepted responsibility for having published a defamatory column aimed at damaging Israel and its Jewish citizens, what I find disappointing is that no mention has been made of the larger issue, that a perverse anti-Israel atmosphere exists on many American college campuses, including PSU [“A city divided,” Oct. 18].


I am currently taking an evening course at the university, and walking down just about any corridor means I am subjected to the most inflammatory, inaccurate and puerile handbills and notices imaginable. Both bulletin boards and instructors’ doors scream out messages of hate – against this or that people, this or that government, this or that religion, this or that political party.


Very little of what I see is "educational," or even informative. The atmosphere instead is charged with hyper-emotionalism and distortion. What this has to do with "free speech" and the open interchange of "ideas" is anyone’s guess. And this is the atmosphere that no doubt allowed "A city divided" to be published.


What is the cause of the rise of anti-Semitism worldwide is anyone’s guess. My own feeling is that it is no accident, but rather part of a campaign to discredit both Jews and Israel in the minds of the world’s people. Why? For an answer to this, I refer your readers (and your editors) to a recently published study undertaken by a respected Jewish news organization, the JTA. This study, "Tainted Teachings," unfolds in detail the kind of anti-Jewish textbooks used widely in America’s schools today, tells who finances them, and why. Here is the web site from which you can download the report: http://jta.org/schools.asp.


Finally, it is one thing to wring one’s hands in contrition over a terrible mistake. It is quite another to address the circumstances that allowed/encouraged the mistake to occur in the first place. We in Portland’s Jewish community await a signal that PSU is interested in confronting the current anti-Israel tone on your campus.


Gary Frankford, Portland, Ore.


[Ed. Note: the column referenced is an opinion column, which does not reflect the views of the Vanguard editorial staff.]


Committment to free speech

I’m very disappointed at the arrogant disingenuity of the faculty letter responding to MacTavish’s incendiary commentary [“Portland State faculty members find column crude and inflammatory,” Oct. 28]. Godwin’s Law was brought to bear when Nazism was invoked to tar MacTavish with a demonizing brush. The concept of race is profound and pervasive, indeed it is an integral part of the culture and ideology of Judaism itself, and admits facile use in ordinary language on a regular basis. It is rather barefaced to reserve the demonizing brush for the apologists of Zionist apartheid.


A simple inspection of a map of the U.N. mandate in Palestine would demonstrate to anyone who cared for the facts of the matter that Jerusalem is quite squarely within, nearly perfectly central to, the west bank of the Jordan River. It takes a whiggish extremism to blind oneself to this geography, and an overweening arrogance to proselytize blindness as a cure for the diseases of clear vision.


Finally, I would ask that the authors of the letter, if their words be spoken in honesty, that they should prove their claims of commitment to free speech and mutually respectful dialog, that they should call openly for the MacTavish article to be reinstated to the web pages of the Daily Vanguard. If they decline, then I would ask that they please cease to pretend to decent civility.


Tony Kimball, Minnesota


[Ed. Note: the column referenced is an opinion column, which does not reflect the views of the Vanguard editorial staff.]


Black Sox RIP

Thank you for this article. In words that few have found it tells the story well [“Say goodbye to the Black Sox,” Oct. 28]. Someone said of Ozzie Guillen that he reminded the players of the White Sox team to have fun. I think this produced a team spirit that carried them through to this victory. My support went to the White Sox for two main reasons: 1) the Astros are still comparatively young and the White Sox deserved this as well as earned it, and 2) 1919 White Sox … I’ll no longer refer to them as Black Sox. RIP 1919 White Sox.


Renee, Texas


Boycott Coke-Odwalla to stop Colombian violence

Khalid Adad mentions Coke as one of the corporations involved in Colombia with the brutal enforcement of neo-liberalism and union bashing, but omits the ongoing local and national Coke boycott to hold at least one of these multinational scumbag corporations accountable [“Financing violence,” Oct. 28].


Eight activist students, including Erin Devaney, Meaghan Mayeda, College Democrats president, and I, on Oct. 17, the day of our Conference on Human Rights and Labor Rights held in the Multicultural Center, decorated and delivered 100 Naked juice bottles to PSU administrators and teachers, with a letter about the boycott, urging PSU to cancel the Coke-Odwalla contract now. The ASPSU student senate voted in July 2005, 10 to 2, to endorse the Coke-Odwalla boycott, including removing Odwalla products from campus.


In May 2005, Rutgers University, a public college in New Jersey with about 50,000 students, twice the size of PSU, cut their contract with Coke, in support of the boycott. It is time for Bernstine to do the same.

Lew Church, ASPSU senator


[Ed. Note: the column referenced is an opinion column, which does not reflect the views of the Vanguard editorial staff.]