More Anti-Jewish Graffiti Found at a Jewish Student Organization House in Davis

Davis Police Chief Landy Black told Council on Tuesday that he's not hopeful the original culprit would be found.
Davis Police Chief Landy Black told the council on Tuesday that he’s not hopeful the original culprit would be found.

Following on the heels of last week’s hate graffiti discovery at the Jewish fraternity, on Wednesday the Davis Police responded to the Hillel House, located near the UC Davis campus, for a late-reported incident of graffiti found etched on the wall in the men’s bathroom. The Hillel House is a well-known Jewish organization that is designed to enhance the lives of Jewish students attending schools, including UC Davis.

The vandalism is believed to have occurred sometime between January 22 and January 23.

It was discovered last month by a janitor who said it consisted of the phrase “grout out the jews”, which was etched into the grout on the tile wall of the men’s room in a toilet stall according to a police report.

The janitor immediately removed the graffiti and only yesterday reported it to staff. According to Hillel staff, in the police report “the janitor came forward with this information due to the recent reported hate crime graffiti at the AEPi house in Davis.”

As was the case with the AEPi house, the police are investigating this incident as a hate crime.

Chief Landy Black Updates on AEPi Incident

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Chief Landy Black gave the Davis City Council a brief update on the original incident. “Very early in the morning, Saturday morning, the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, across the street from City Hall at the corner of A and Russell, was victimized by unknown persons who painted swastikas in spray paint on the sides of the building.”

He told council that the fraternity has been working with the police to try to identify the perpetrator. “At this point in time it’s one of those anonymous sorts of crimes with [it] very unlikely that there was witnesses and we have not located any,” he said. “However, we are pursuing different avenues for attempting to identify leads that we can pursue.”

Chief Black said they are working with the UC Davis Police Department to reach out to affected communities. He also noted that the Anti-Defamation League has offered a $2500 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for this crime. He said, “This does sometimes lend assistance in identifying leads.”

“As of this point in time, we have no suspects that we have identified,” the chief said, again noting that they are pursuing leads.

Chief Black added, “As you, Mayor (Dan Wolk), have condemned what occurred, our police department is embarrassed for our community that someone who resides or frequents in our community has brought this hate and this stain of hate to the community.”

“We would consider this a great badge of honor to be able to solve this crime.,” the chief concluded. “I don’t hold out great hopes, I’ll be frank with you, but we’ll do everything in our power to do so.”

National Attention Again For Davis

Once again, Davis gets national attention for negative reasons. The Anti-Defamation League put out a strongly worded denunciation of the attack calling it a “heinous expression of hatred.” They said, “It is deeply shocking and thoroughly repugnant any time a swastika is employed against the Jewish community.”

The ADL added, “We are extremely concerned that this hate crime occurred directly on the heels of a UC Davis student senate vote supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS activists have been known to employ Holocaust imagery and themes in an attempt to garner support for their cause.

“We commend UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi for her strong statement condemning the vandalism and appreciate her sensitivity to the particular offense it caused. And we are grateful the Davis Police Department is investigating the incident as a hate crime.”

In the meantime, Rabbi Jaclyn Cohen, a UC Davis alumna, sent a letter to UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi and the UC Board of Regents, signed by 134 other Jewish alumni from UC Davis.

We are Jewish alumni of UC Davis who write to you today outraged and heartbroken by what our beloved alma mater has become: a place where anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment has been allowed to infiltrate and heavily influence the very culture of the institution.

This blatantly anti-Jewish fervor has grown so virulent and toxic that it culminated in the public desecration of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house this past week.

We who graduated from UC Davis between 1974 and 2014 are shocked. This is not the UCD we attended. This is not the school where we felt safe in our Jewishness, empowered by our involvement with Hillel House, the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi sorority or Aggies for Israel, among others.

This is not the UC Davis that educated us to be well-informed, ambitious, responsible and progressive human beings, or the same university that from our first orientation made clear it valued respect for all peoples, races and religions.

We who call ourselves Aggie alumni have gone on to graduate degrees in a wide variety of fields. We have entered careers in government and politics, arts and humanities, and several have gone on to become clergy to serve the Jewish people throughout North America and abroad. Now, we call upon the same institution that raised us during the most formative years of our lives to take action.

We thank you, Chancellor Katehi, for investigating the incident at the AE Pi fraternity house as a hate crime and “appeal(ing) to every member of our UC Davis community to denounce any and all such acts of bigotry and intimidation.”

However, we want to remind you that this is not an isolated incident. Anti-Semitism does not simply appear; it develops and is nurtured by equal parts hate, fear and ignorance. And so we call upon the university as a whole to examine the source; to determine how such discrimination and intolerance could take root at UC Davis.

We encourage you to return to and re-evaluate UC Davis’ Principles of Community to determine a new direction toward inherent dignity, mutual understanding, civility and respect.

Chancellor Katehi, what we seek begins with you. May your leadership and guidance at this critical juncture in UC Davis’ history prove to be rooted in the very same values that our alma mater once instilled in all of us.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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43 thoughts on “More Anti-Jewish Graffiti Found at a Jewish Student Organization House in Davis”

      1. Barack Palin

        Too late, the ugly word is already out there.  I’ve had several inquiries from friends and relatives all over the place asking me what’s going on in Davis at the campus regarding this.  I asked them how they knew?  They said it’s all over the news.

      2. Anon

        How do you figure that?  The community does not control what students or even citizens do on a day to day basis.  Police cannot be everywhere.  Just because a few higher ups denounce such behavior as the spray painting of swastikas or graffiti in the bathroom, you have an ASUCD board member after the divestiture vote against Israel declaring essentially “Muslims rule UCD”.   Furthermore, we have video evidence from the recent past that hecklers at a pro-Jewish event were heckled without any interference from UCD law enforcement or administrators.   As far as I am concerned, the only thing that has happened is politically correct statements are being made by administrators and law enforcement, who admit they probably will never be able to catch the perpetrators, without any other move to protect Jewish students.  The ASUCD was wrong in what they did by voting for the divestiture resolution against Israel, and it appears Jewish students are not welcome on campus by some, so have to watch their backs.

        1. Davis Progressive

          the community doesn’t control the behavior of the bad people, it controls the response and as a jewish-american myself, i find it comforting to see the community condemn such attacks – that never happened in germany.

      1. Barack Palin

        Let’s see, common sense, I stayed in a Holiday Inn last night and to top it off it looks like the Enterprise also agrees with me:

        How can a prospective Jewish student, looking at these events from afar, enroll at UCD with any confidence of finding a welcoming environment? If a current student seeks to transfer out, what assurances are there that things will improve?

        http://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/our-view/cheers-and-jeers-focus-on-faraway-conflict-spells-trouble-here-3/

         

        1. Alan Miller

          Running away from Davis would be an act of cowardice.

          The statement in the Enterprise is stupid.  You challenge hate, you do not run from it.  Any fellow Jews who would decided to not come to Davis because of these incidents are not people I want in my community.

      2. Anon

        To Alan Miller: Excuse me, but are you kidding me?  My son was bullied for years in the public schools, and had a very hard time learning anything while he was teased, bullied and beaten.  He came very close to being knifed to death in school.  He was so glad to get out of the public school system.  To blithely say one should face down hatred is ignorant.  Sorry to use such harsh language, because I normally keep my words tempered and careful, but your statement really hit a nerve, because you obviously have no idea what you are talking about.  Facing hatred can often result in death.

        1. South of Davis

          Anon wrote:

          > Facing hatred can often result in death.

          I’ve never seen a “Proud to be a Jew” or a “Coexist” bumper sticker when visiting a country with a Muslim majority…

           

        2. Matt Williams

          Anon, I’m assuming that your son went to the Davis public schools. Is that correct? When he got out of the public school system was he able to transcend the teasing and bullying, or was it something that he couldn’t transcend?

        3. Alan Miller

          “Facing hatred can often result in death.”

          Not facing down hatred can also result in death.

           

          Haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate.” – Taylor Swift

  1. PhilColeman

    A friend in rural Michigan told me that “We were in the news again,” so this has gained nation-wide attention. The Midwest version, when summarized to me, sounded more embellished than what we are hearing in local and regional news. I guess those folks are growing weary of continuous heavy snow storms and are looking elsewhere for misery.

    As far as “Who?’ if the responsible is apprehended, anticipate that it will be some local adolescent boy of impaired judgment who enjoys what in this instance can be called, 15 minutes of infamy.

     

    1. Alan Miller

      “As far as “Who?’ if the responsible is apprehended, anticipate that it will be some local adolescent boy of impaired judgment who enjoys what in this instance can be called, 15 minutes of infamy.”

      Exactly.

    2. Anon

      To Phil Coleman: Perhaps it will be some adolescent who wanted his 15 minutes of fame.  Or perhaps it will be someone who is supposed to be a victim, that wanted to stir up community sympathy.  Or it could be a college student who wanted his/her 15 minutes of fame.  However, the divestiture vote certainly did not help matters, nor did the statement made by the ASUCD student who essentially said “Muslims rule UCD”.  One ASUCD board member seemed to indicate he had been bullied into voting for divestiture.  My hope is the ASUCD board and its members will learn a valuable lesson from all of this, that not being even handed and making provocative statements may very well come back to haunt you, in more ways than one can even understand now.  What goes around comes around.

    3. Miwok

      I asked the same question, Phil, with all the Arabic signs now, why a swastika? Rednecks?

      But one person I asked said they were sure (not going to mention gender race or place) it was Arabs or Palestinians. Said that was the most fearful symbol of hate, more than the recent flags ISIL waves around. That is why it was not Arabic.

      While that makes sense, I also have observed Palestinian Student organizations protesting at the same exact time they would do it in the Middle East. The Jewish Students would then retaliate with their demonstration, making for lively Quads at lunchtime. At one strident protest, maybe ten years ago, a third party of USA chanters went between the two groups.

      So, Youth? or Organized…?

  2. Biddlin

    Ok, Phil, but who did this “youth” get the idea from? Words are expressions of thoughts and thoughts lead to actions. I hope you are right about these incidents being kid stuff. I think it would be a good idea to nip this sh*t in the bud, though. Much like modern police policy of not responding to vandalism calls, in favour of having a report writer soothe the victim, instead of involving an officer in such mundane work, leads to larger property crimes, ignoring these incidents as just kid stuff may lead to bigger hate crimes. You know, broken windows…

    ;>)/

    1. South of Davis

      Biddin wrote:

      > Ok, Phil, but who did this “youth” get the idea from? 

      Probably from the media that made such a HUGE deal about the last incident.

      I would not be surprised if we have more “copycat” crimes where a 20 year old kid without a girlfriend gets to see his “artwork” on the news and in 50 newspapers across the country.

      We had some hateful graffiti on our fraternity house and we painted over it 10 minutes after we first saw it (and painted the entire wall with the proper paint that afternoon) without calling the press to give the idiot (or idiots) that did it any attention…

      1. Biddlin

        I forgot, if you can cover it up, it didn’t really happen.  At what level of destruction would you think it wise to involve the police?(I have no idea why you’d call the press.)

        ;>)/

        1. Biddlin

           

          hpierce
          February 6, 2015 at 11:15 am
          Sure, you have an idea why to notify the press at the same time (or before) you’d notify the police.  Don’t be coy.”

          At my old position with The City of Sacramento, I interacted with the public and public agencies, including Police and never once, in public service or private life have I called the press. It is my nature to avoid them, whenever possible. Forty-five years ago, I adopted a stage name for my musician persona, not out of modesty or larceny, but to be anonymous to the press.

          ;>)/

  3. Alan Miller

    To claim UCD has become “a place where anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment has been allowed to infiltrate and heavily influence the very culture of the institution” is a grandstandingly gross overstatement that serves to empower true racists by overstating such hater’s influence.

    This blatantly anti-Jewish fervor has grown so virulent and toxic that it culminated in the public desecration of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house this past week.”

    The authors do not describe nor state evidence of the so-called anti-Jewish fervor, nor have evidence of a link of cause and effect.  Certainly there have been campus political issues recently involving Israel/Palestine deserving of deep discussion and even concern.  The authors need to specifically state their concerns rather than implying a vague cause and an unproven effect.

    To fail to acknowledge the suffering of Palestinians due to politics and tensions in Israel/Palestine is a sickness.  To believe the destruction of Israel is a rational solution to this suffering is a sickness.  Most statements made regarding Israel/Palestine are one-sided and evoke an equal “truth” that is seemingly in conflict with the initial statement yet may be just as real.  Anytime Israel/Palestine issues are tried in the court of the city, the food COOP, UCD or ASUCD the result is a stalemate and a hot potato.  The tensions of the middle east are too volatile and complex for any rational person to hold on to a simple “our truth”.

    The symbol carved on a residence of a group is of far more concern to the targeted group than the noose incident or the backwards swastika on a ped/bike tunnel.  Scrawl “F— (racial epitath)’s” on my school or church and I’m pissed, scrawl that on my home and I feel threatened.  All such incidents should be investigated with fervor, as they may be rooted in racial hate.

    However, those who jump on the racial bandwagon for “our group” whenever an incident appears to be aimed at “them” are being self-serving and need to chill the f— out.  You aren’t helping.

    Our community first reaction should always be calm.  More than likely, such incidents are perpetuated by half-intoxicated, intellectually challenged, attention-starved youth.  The racial reaction-aries of Davis, the UC Davis alum letter writers, and even the ADL gave the perpetrators exactly what they want:  attention – national attention.

    More than likely, the perpetrators don’t have the intellectual capacity to understand what antisemitism really is, or what a noose really symbolizes.

    When you find the KKK and the PLA (pardon the purposefully dated references) are working together and building bombs in the basement of a small home in east Davis, that is when it is time to worry.

    1. Anon

      “Scrawl “F— (racial epitath)’s” on my school or church and I’m pissed, scrawl that on my home and I feel threatened.”

      I actually agree with most of what you have said, interestingly enough.  For instance: “To fail to acknowledge the suffering of Palestinians due to politics and tensions in Israel/Palestine is a sickness.  To believe the destruction of Israel is a rational solution to this suffering is a sickness.  Most statements made regarding Israel/Palestine are one-sided and evoke an equal “truth” that is seemingly in conflict with the initial statement yet may be just as real.  Anytime Israel/Palestine issues are tried in the court of the city, the food COOP, UCD or ASUCD the result is a stalemate and a hot potato.  The tensions of the middle east are too volatile and complex for any rational person to hold on to a simple “our truth”.

      However, isn’t spray painting a nazi swastika on a student organization’s HOUSE threatening?  Don’t know if any of them actually live there, but I assume they spend a good deal of time studying there.  And a member of the ASUCD made a statement to the effect that “Muslim’s rule UCD”.  I can understand why a Jewish student would feel threatened at UCD.

      1. Barack Palin

        Me too Anon.  I can imagine several Jewish students who were thinking of attending UCD deciding to go elsewhere because to the recent occurrences.  Why would anyone want to go someplace where they feel they might be subjected to hatred?

        1. Tia Will

          BP

          “Why would anyone want to go anywhere where they might feel they would be subjected to hatred ? ”

          Why indeed. And yet there are some here who do not seem to understand that this applies to all groups.

          When the noose appeared, there were some posting on this blog who minimized that. Did it not occur to them that a black might find this an expression of hatred towards blacks ?

          When an article appeared here on a party that had a theme making “fun” of certain aspects of Mexican culture in a highly derisive manner, some posters here defended the students right to “have a good time” portraying this negative caricaturization of another culture as “innocent”. Did it not occur to them that a student of Hispanic background might not feel that this was an expression if not of hate, at least lack of respect for their culture ?

          When there is a wealth of negative commentary equating ones religion with hate and violence, and physical attacks on one’s mosque as has occurred here in Davis, could those not also be seen as expressions of hate and make students feel that they did not want to come here ?

          I have never understood the concept that when it is a group for whom one does not have sympathy that is attacked the philosophy of some seems to be that they just need to “grow a thicker skin” while when it is a favored group such as Christians or Jews, there is a “war” on them such as the “war on Christmas”.

          While the current condemnation of the anti Semitic statements and actions is completely appropriate, why would it not be appropriate to call out all denigrations ( both great and small) of the cultures of others.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            “When the noose appeared, there were some posting on this blog who minimized that. Did it not occur to them that a black might find this an expression of hatred towards blacks ?”

            This is a great point because it is precisely what happened a few years ago.

    2. hpierce

      Alan… may I suggest that you don’t waste your (or some other folks’) time by stating facts when they already have their minds made up.  Quixotic.  That being said, I think you speak a truth of which I already held.

    3. South of Davis

      Alan wrote:

      > The authors do not describe nor state evidence

      > of the so-called anti-Jewish fervor

      It is important to realize that most people who don’t like the way Israel is treating the Palestinians are not “anti-Jewish”.  Some of these people actually are Jewish (trying to fit in with their liberal friends who are sticking up for the underdog).

      If the Pope decided to “occupy” the territory between Vatican City and the Tiber River and was blowing up buildings where suspected “Italian Terrorists” lived with their kids  most people would be upset about his actions and not be upset at the Catholic family from Mexico down the street .

      If Amnesty International reported on some horrible human rights violations by Israel it is not going to make most (but not all) people in America upset at Jews (or make me start looking for a new CPA)…

      1. Tia Will

        Some of these people actually are Jewish (trying to fit in with their liberal friends who are sticking up for the underdog).”

        You say this because you think it could not be their honestly held belief that Israel should not be contributing to the suffering of peaceful Palestinians as well as those who are actively attempting to harm Jews ?

        Do you honestly believe that liberals hold liberal values just to “fit in” ? Wow !

  4. Anon

    IMO the only thing the ASUCD divestiture vote against Israel did, and the comments made by one ASUCD board member afterward that essentially said “Muslims rule UCD”, is to again make UCD look ridiculous, unwelcoming to Jewish students, and highlight how little law enforcement and the UC administration can or will do to stamp out anti-Jewish sentiment. The vote was incendiary, pointless because it will go nowhere, not evenhanded as administrators noted, and ill-informed.  Furthermore, I suspect businesses will think twice before hiring any of those students who took part in voting for the divestiture resolution.  It was a colossally stupid move – JMO.

    1. hpierce

      I doubt any of those voting will regale potential employers of their vote either in their application, nor their resume.  As an employer, if they cited how the voted, I’d reject the candidate however they voted.  They would have shown that they were stupid for even bringing the matter up.

      1. South of Davis

        hpierce wrote:

        >  doubt any of those voting will regale potential employers of their vote either in their application

        They don’t have to since when the potential employer searches for the names they will find stuff like this:

        ““I don’t think claims that (divestment) isn’t a student issue are true,” said ASUC External Affairs Vice President Caitlin Quinn. “There are Palestinian students on our campuses whose tuition is going back to hurt their own families.” “There’s definitely some anti-Semitism in the movement to divest,” Quinn said. “But there’s also a lot of Islamophobia in the anti-divestment movement.””

        http://www.dailycal.org/2015/02/02/uc-davis-student-senate-urges-uc-board-regents-divest/

        P.S. You would not believe the stuff we found on the web doing Google searches of potential new hires at my old company…

        1. Anon

          Precisely.  Thank you for making my point.  These naive ASUCD board members may find their actions do actually come back and haunt them when they get out in the real world.  Employers do google searches on prospective employees all the time.  I know I lectured my kids as they entered college to be careful what demonstrations they got involved in and how they conducted themselves, because their actions could follow them into the working world.

        2. hpierce

          Fascinating…  and some folks say government is too intrusive.  Of course, your company was correct.  The internet never lies.  Your former employer was smart to hire employees who know how to “cover their tracks”.  Useful to hide info from the evil government.  Or competitors.

  5. Tia Will

    I have a different perspective on the use of snippets posted on the internet as a screening tool to eliminate candidates based on their political view points. I think it cuts both ways.

    I cannot imagine wanting to work for a company that limits its hires to conform to its political or religious beliefs. This practice belies a small mindedness and desire for conformity that I would not find conducive to an innovative or inspiring work place. I would not want to work under an employer who could not see beyond their narrow view of the world and understand that someone with a different perspective on the world might add diversity and a fresh view to their organization that would not be found with a homogenous group of employees all marching in lock step with the beliefs of the boss.

    Now if the job being sought is a temporary gig flipping burgers or selling widgets, it probably doesn’t matter. If however, one is applying for a career advancing position, would it really be a good idea to be in a position where the boss was so narrow minded that he or she used opposing political views as a litmus test for employment( unless of course we are talking about a political position) ? Would you really want someone of this mind set writing a letter of recommendation or speaking to potential future emplyers about you when and if you were ready to move on ?

  6. sisterhood

    I agree w/hp. All that internet stalking does is reward applicants who are adept at hiding their tracks or can spend a fortune having certain info removed from the web. It proves nothing about a person’s character. I was in a management position for many years. I would use my gut in the interviewing process, along with references and a thoughtful resume and application, over any info I obtained on the web. Of course if someone is silly enough to have a truly offensive FB page, I’d use that today, in the hiring process. No FB existed when I was interviewing. Some of my pals used IQ tests and handwriting analysis. I did not use those techniques.

  7. Anon

    DG: “…the community doesn’t control the behavior of the bad people, it controls the response and as a jewish-american myself, i find it comforting to see the community condemn such attacks – that never happened in germany.”

    You may feel comforted by administrators words, but I can almost guarantee you many students don’t feel that way.  When my son went through his crap in the public schools, administrators were full of platitudes about his plight – but did nothing to help him.  Only the police were of assistance.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I don’t view the two situations are the same. In your sons case, it was an ongoing situation that the administrators (by your account) were failing to deal with. In this case, I hope it is an isolated incident that strong community response will comfort those affected. As a Jew, I take solace in that. Now, if it keeps happening, then I’ll shift my view.

  8. Anon

    Tia Will: “I cannot imagine wanting to work for a company that limits its hires to conform to its political or religious beliefs.”

    That’s just fine if you happen to be in a career where it is easy to find a job.  If, on the other hand, you are like most students, you will take work wherever you can find it.

    hpierce: “Fascinating…  and some folks say government is too intrusive.  Of course, your company was correct.  The internet never lies.  Your former employer was smart to hire employees who know how to “cover their tracks”.  Useful to hide info from the evil government.  Or competitors.

    First of all, if what is on the internet is an actual video, that is pretty damning and representative of the truth, don’t you think?  Secondly, employers searching the internet to see what they can find out about potential employees is a fact of life these days.  For instance, businesses have demanded Facebook passwords from perspective employees.  You can rail all you want about how unfair it is or it may not be a true reflection of what the prospective employee is like.  It is what it is.  It is no different than the idiots who post naked pictures of themselves on their smartphones, and then whine when the nude pictures become public.  There is an old saying, which still holds true to this day – “Discretion is the better part of valor”.

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