Omri Casspi, swastikas and Chaim Potok’s history of the Jews

A mural of Omri Casspi has been defaced with a swastika twice within a week.

UPDATE:

Former student Vishan Vallabhjee added the following comment:

Completely Unacceptable !!! I’ve noticed in recent years that more and more anti-Israeli views are held by middle-class educated youth particularly in the UK, Ireland and South Africa. There seems to be a shift from hate for hates sake or a hate of Jews (there will always be a mono-neuron wid a pen, unacceptable) to one of a hate for Israel due to the unacceptable situation between Israel and Palestine, that Israel is perceived to perpetuate. I have gathered,amongst students who have a well developed understanding of the dynamics in the mid-east there exists a very palpable frustration with the State of Israel and its inability to end suffering on both sides….this is the common view, though I feel levels of responsibilty are certainly worthy of debate. In my opinion this frustration will result in more and more disgustin acts like the one you mention, and I anticipate that more frequently the perpetrators will be those who hold progressive leftist views. I’ve seen Phd students reduced to hate mongers in recent years; rational, insightful and intelligent individuals. I’ve also seen lecturers call for a boycott of Israeli academics. Much of the hard work done by civil groups to educate and stop hate could be lost as we see a broader spectrum of society choose to hate and justify hate towards Israel. Recently in South Africa documents were published in a leading Sunday paper that detailed the cosy relationship the apartheid regime and 80′s Israel shared. This has galvanised most of the progressive individuals I know to adopt an anti-Israeli stance……often this stance raises its ugly head and manifests as hate towards all things Israeli…..oranges included. Many in South Africa view Israel as a pariah state, the same way the apartheid regime was viewed globally for decades. So the question I now pose is. Does the burning of an Israeli flag in downtown Johannesburg or the booing of an Israeli soccer player in the UK amount to hate or is it an expression of frustration with the status quo in the mid-east. I feel a distinction is called for as hate in any form cannot be tolerated and protest should be heard/understood and not mis-construed as hate. Further, its important that protest remain just that, hate can never be justified.

ORIGINAL POST:

NBA forward Omri Casspi is the first and only Israeli player in the league.

Much of the Sacramento community has taken to the lean Casspi, whose aggressive charges down the lane, fierce dunks and strong rebounding have, along with the player last year’s Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, breathed new life into the moribund franchise.

But not all of the community has been so welcoming.

For the second time in a week, a mural of Casspi was defaced with a swastika.

Both actions have occurred around the time of our Days of Awe, the most holy days of the year.

After the first incident, Casspi said, he “was not shocked, but kind of hurt.”

Both parts of his response seem appropriate.

Although lower than in previous decades, antisemitism still exists here in the United States and throughout the world.

It has also been a dominant, but far from exclusive feature of Jewish history-a history that Chaim Potok records in Wanderings: A History of the Jews.

I am about 50 pages into the book, so cannot speak yet with too much authority about it.  But I can say that Potok, the author of The Chosen, writes engagingly in the introduction about his having grown up and learned about Jewish history before having his horizons expanded during military service in Asia, where no one had heard about Jews.

From reading the table of contents, I also know that he will cover the major events in Jewish history, many of which include moments of challenge and attack such as Casspi has just experienced.

The positive news is that a number of people in the Sacramento community, including the Maloof brothers who own the team, oppose the action.

The brothers issued the following statement:

“We’re disgusted by this act of hate. It’s certainly not reflective of the diversity and tolerance of the Sacramento community. We stand with Omri and his family and are grateful for everything he brings to the Kings and Sacramento. Hopefully, law enforcement can swiftly find whoever is responsible for this sickening crime.”

The bad news of course is that such actions continue to occur and that it is so unsurprising when they  do.

I’ll continue to read Potok’s history and to follow this story.

2 responses to “Omri Casspi, swastikas and Chaim Potok’s history of the Jews

  1. Completely Unacceptable !!! I’ve noticed in recent years that more and more anti-Israeli views are held by middle-class educated youth particularly in the UK, Ireland and South Africa. There seems to be a shift from hate for hates sake or a hate of Jews (there will always be a mono-neuron wid a pen, unacceptable) to one of a hate for Israel due to the unacceptable situation between Israel and Palestine, that Israel is perceived to perpetuate. I have gathered,amongst students who have a well developed understanding of the dynamics in the mid-east there exists a very palpable frustration with the State of Israel and its inability to end suffering on both sides….this is the common view, though I feel levels of responsibilty are certainly worthy of debate. In my opinion this frustration will result in more and more disgustin acts like the one you mention, and I anticipate that more frequently the perpetrators will be those who hold progressive leftist views. I’ve seen Phd students reduced to hate mongers in recent years; rational, insightful and intelligent individuals. I’ve also seen lecturers call for a boycott of Israeli academics. Much of the hard work done by civil groups to educate and stop hate could be lost as we see a broader spectrum of society choose to hate and justify hate towards Israel. Recently in South Africa documents were published in a leading Sunday paper that detailed the cosy relationship the apartheid regime and 80’s Israel shared. This has galvanised most of the progressive individuals I know to adopt an anti-Israeli stance……often this stance raises its ugly head and manifests as hate towards all things Israeli…..oranges included. Many in South Africa view Israel as a pariah state, the same way the apartheid regime was viewed globally for decades. So the question I now pose is. Does the burning of an Israeli flag in downtown Johannesburg or the booing of an Israeli soccer player in the UK amount to hate or is it an expression of frustration with the status quo in the mid-east. I feel a distinction is called for as hate in any form cannot be tolerated and protest should be heard/understood and not mis-construed as hate. Further, its important that protest remain just that, hate can never be justified.

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Great comment, Vishan! I appreciate your bringing your experiences and observations of the South African scene to bear. I’m adding this to the post as an update!

      Thanks again for your thoughts.

      Jeff

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