Monday, June 13, 2016

"Beneath the Helmet" Re-Screened at UC Irvine

When I was a DEA agent, there was a standard joke among federal law enforcement agencies regarding the FBI. The joke varied depending upon who the federal agency was. It went something like this:

DEA and FBI agent/dog-handlers held a contest one day. as to whose dog could sniff out the drugs fastest. To begin the contest, a DEA dog was sent inside a house to find and bring out the drugs hidden inside. The DEA dog ran into the house and within one minute returned with a  kilo of heroin in its mouth. 

Then the FBI dog was sent into the house. One minute passed. Two minutes. Five minutes. Finally, after ten minutes, the FBI dog came out of the house with nothing, but sidled up to the DEA dog, grabbed the heroin out of its mouth, %$@^* the DEA dog in the #@&, and called a press conference.

I tell that story so that you may understand the story below.

On June 8,  the film, "Beneath the Helmet" was re-shown at UC Irvine in response to the disruption carried out at the first screening by Students for Justice in Palestine and other assorted misfit student groups, an ugly incident which occurred May 18.

Unfortunately, I was out of town and could not attend. A friend and associate did and wrote this report which I am posting with his permission.

"Tonight's re-screening of "Beneath the Helmet" was a big success. Crystal Cove A was standing room only. The first screening had 10 students; the re-screening may have had 500 people. Israelis turned out in droves and so did the ACT! for America crowd. No protesters were present (I assume they too have finals) and the police were present as a show of force. The evening began by informing the audience that arrests would be made and UCI would take internal action against any disruptors. The movie was great and included a brief appearance by the star of the movie, former IDF Officer Eden Adler who flew in from Israel just for this event.  The invited speaker, Elan Carr, a former US JAG Corps officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and a Iraq War veteran made an impassioned case for American and Israeli values. Thanks to to Jerusalem U for suggesting that the disruption be countered with this re-screening.  It was a big win for the good guys. 

On the downside, I would have expected a UCI official to have addressed the crowd, if only to repeat Chancellor Gillman's official public statements.  Their silence was telling. Vice Chancellor Parham was present but did little more than hover in the back of the room.

Tonight will also make it more difficult to develop a long term solution to the problems at UCI. Lisa Armony was the emcee of the event. It is extremely rare to have a large audience of the OC Jewish community and she used this opportunity as subliminal propaganda for Hillel and The Rose Project.  She then had two students speak about how wonderful and safe UCI is for Jewish students. After the movie, Eden Adler and Elan Carr both spoke of the UCI students as heroes for fighting the good fight to protect Israel and free speech on campus.  An analogy was even made between the heroics of the IDF and those of the students. I certainly applaud the student's contribution to the re-screening, but I find it abominable that after watching a movie where IDF soldiers were taken to Har ha-Zikaron (Israel's equivalent of Arlington National Cemetery) to reflect on their possible fate, that these students were offered to our community as IDF-like heroes. After all, these are the same students who appear to be bowing to pressure to avoid the press and/or to assist in legal action against the disruptors.

Recent events should have exposed the failure of J Fed's approach. Instead, the J Fed has masterfully used the event to solidify the community around their false narrative. 

P.S. Anyone interested in seeing "Beneath the Helmet" can watch it on Netflix."


While I am not so critical of the Jewish students involved, it appears at first glance that once again,the Orange County Jewish Federation, The Rose Project,  and Hillel have jumped the stage and taken the bows for the response to the May 28 incident. Ms. Armony, who directs Hillel at UCI and has previously worked for the Jewish Federation, has been in the forefront of efforts by the Federation, Hillel, and UCI administrators to insist to the public that notwithstanding the May 18 incident, there is no real problem of anti-Semitism at UCI and that "Jewish life thrives", to use their own words. I agree with the writer that someone from the UCI adminisitration should have addressed the audience to show support rather than being on hand in case there were problems.

After the May 18 incident there was  a push to show "Beneath the Helmet" once again. There were many voices within and outside the Jewish community to make a statement that Jewish students at UCI-especially those who supported Israel-would not be intimidated. This is a theme that over the years the Jewish Federation and Hillel have not supported, and on occasion, have attempted to suppress.

When it was announced that "Beneath the Helmet" would be shown at UCI on June 8-for the second time, a friend of  mine in the Jewish community forwarded a courtesy copy of the announcement to n acquaintance in the Jewish Federation.

To: (deleted)
Sent: Thursday, June 2, 2016
Subject: Fw: Join the UCI pro-Israel communities for a special re-screening of Beneath The Helmet

Please forward the below to the JFFS email community and to everyone you know.  Thank you!

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: OC Israeli
To: (deleted)
Sent: Thursday, June 2, 2016 4:30 PM
Subject: Join the UCI pro-Israel communities for a special re-screening of Beneath The Helmet

In response to the BDS protest at UCI:
Please attend this important event-“Beneath the Helmet”.
We need to support the students and to show the anti-Israel activists that fear tactics and bullying will not work.
Please feel free to share the following invitation and encourage friends and family to attend as well. 
Copyright © 2016 OC Israeli, All rights reserved.
OC Israeli

Our mailing address is:
OC Israeli
45 Red Rock
IrvineCa 92672

Add us to your address book
Then came this announcement from the Federation, Rose Project and Hillel the following day, June 3:

Misleading? Does it remind you of my FBI dog story?

I am glad that the film was shown again and that it was so well attended to show the brown shirts at UCI that there are indeed people who will stand up to them. Kudos go out to ACT for America, who also spread the word about the event. Unfortunately, many in the community are left with the mistaken impression that it was the OC Jewish Federation, Rose Project and Hillel who led the charge.

Move to:    

No comments: