Anti-Semitism or crying wolf

Susanna Klein has been accused of crying wolf in her report of an anti-Semitic incident at U.C. Berkeley, making life that much tougher for the next student who experiences anti-Semitism.

She posted a note on a Web site claiming that her summer instructor told his class that the infamous "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" was penned by "Zionist Jews" and explains the state of the world today.

But the Iraqi-born, graduate-student instructor denies he made any such statement. And the university strongly backs him, as do nearly all the students in the class.

In fact, Professor Daniel Boyarin, the dean of the Near Eastern studies department, went so far as to call Klein a liar.

Klein stands by her story but, countered by a mountain of eyewitness testimony, it would be hard for an outsider not to perceive that she, at the very least, stretched the truth.

Incidentally, instructor Abbas Kadhim told the Bulletin he is open to the possibility that "Protocols" is a valid document but he doesn't know for sure. Given the fact that he revealed his naivete, and ambivalence, to the media, it's difficult to believe he was pushing "Protocols" in his class.

Within the pages of the Jewish Bulletin, we've documented many anti-Semitic incidents at U.C. Berkeley, and the university has been fairly responsive to the concerns of the Jewish community. But will the next Jewish victim be taken seriously after the university's adamant rejection of Klein's claim?

Hillel Director Adam Weisberg tells us he is confident university officials will continue to act responsibly and probe any alleged incidents of anti-Semitism that occur. He also emphasizes the university took Klein's complaints seriously.

But will the university even get to hear future complaints? Perhaps the next Jewish student who experiences abuse will hesitate to report it for fear of being called a liar by a department head.

Let's hope students won't be intimidated about reporting anti-Semitism. However, it would be better if there were no such incidents to report.