Last Tuesday, at a lovely dinner at the Carolina Club, I received a plaque recognizing 20 years of service as a UNC employee. (I’m a faculty member at the law school.) Beforehand I pooh-poohed the ceremony – almost didn’t go – but in the moment I was surprised to feel so touched, so much a part of this beautiful campus.
The next day, I learned of the discovery of flyers in Davis Library urging people of all the world’s major religions to come together against the Jews because my religion (I am Jewish) is an “evil plot” that “condones and teaches evil against any and all non-Jews!” Similar flyers appeared the next day on multiple floors of Hamilton Hall.
The day after that, I saw a video of a performance at an academic conference here on campus back in March. The performer introduces his “anti-Semitic song” and urges his audience – an audience of Carolina students, faculty, and staff – to sing the song’s refrain: “I’m in love with a Jew!”
The audience responds tepidly at first, as audiences will do when a singer tries to involve them in a call-and-response, so the singer tries to get them to really belt it, as singers will do when audiences respond weakly. “I can’t be anti-Semitic alone!” he says. He asks them for “Mel Gibson levels” of anti-Semitism. This seems to do the trick. The volume swells and there is laughter: “I’m in love with a Jew!” the Tar Heel audience giddily chants, over and over again.
Last week, my friends, was a week in which anti-Semitism was revealed on our campus.