In a post made on her social media account, the 2020-2021 senior class president at Pomona College shared comments that accuse Zionist Jews of “hating” brown people and criticized them for purportedly “worshipping” the Second World War and comparing the Holocaust to racism. She also shared derogatory comments towards Israeli Jews and Jews who go on Birthright trips to Israel.
The post was overlayed on top of a tweet comparing Yemen’s current humanitarian crisis to the Holocaust. The initial tweet said “6 million people died in the Holocaust, we still commemorate it to this day. 18.4 MILLION people are dying in Yemen RIGHT NOW. That’s 3 holocausts at once…SILENCE IS COMPLIANCE!!!”
In a response to the tweet, the post added, “once again, zionist-Israel-birthright-vacation-stuck-on-comparing-holocaust-to-racism-WW2-worshipping bitches, this should be right up ur alley. Oh wait u hate brown ppl.”
The post references the program for Jews in the diaspora, Birthright, as well as Zionists in its rebuke. Birthright is a free 10 day trip to Israel for Jews living outside of Israel between the ages of 18-32. The post mocks both groups for “worshipping” the Holocaust.
The post’s statement that Zionist Jews “hate brown ppl” is likely a reference to the current Israel-Palestine conflict. The post (and thus the student) seems to imply that because Zionists and “birthright-participants” “hate” brown people, they do not care about the crisis in Yemen. The post is likely referring to Palestinians when she said that Zionists and “birthright-participants” “hate brown people,” despite the fact that the majority of Israeli Jews fit the definition of “People of Color.” While the president did not write the original post, she seems to have endorsed it. The top of the post reads, “[NAME BLOCKED FOR PRIVACY] put into words all I’ve been thinking!”
The ADL defines anti-Semitism as “belief or behavior hostile toward Jews just because they are Jewish. It may take the form of…political efforts to isolate, oppress, or otherwise injure them. It may also include prejudiced or stereotyped views about Jews.” The State Department adds that “[m]anifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”
The position of senior class president is an elected position within the Associated Students of Pomona College. The position comes with authority over the daily affairs of student governance at Pomona College. Pomona College is a member of the Claremont College consortium, a consortium of five selective liberal arts colleges in Claremont, California.
UPDATE: The Facebook group, “Claremont Progressive Israel Alliance,” has released a petition demanding that the senior class president be held accountable by the Pomona administration if she does not issue an explanation and apology to the student body.
UPDATE: Earlier today, the senior class president released a statement on her private Instagram account apologizing for her previous comments. The two-part apology can be accessed through the links above.
UPDATE: In response to an inquiry by the Independent, the Pomona administration has issued a statement condemning “anti-Semitism in all its forms.” The statement acknowledged that the student in question has issued an apology.
UPDATE: The article has been updated to reflect the senior class president’s apology and statement, asserting that she did not write the comments in black lettering towards the bottom of the post.
UPDATE: The title has been updated to reflect the student’s apology.