CA students sport Jewish yellow stars to protest Islamophobia
A University of San Diego professor and a group of her students have raised eyebrows after adorning the yellow stars Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust to protest Islamophobia.
Bahar Davary, an Iranian-American associate professor of theology and religious studies, led her students across the California campus last Thursday, wearing the yellow stars emblazoned with the word “Muslim” inside.
She said over 100 students and faculty members are now wearing the updated version of the Nazi-era badges around campus.
Defending the controversial protest, Davary told the Washington Free Beacon that it is a “class/campus project to raise awareness against Islamophobia. It is not intended to make an analogy between the current situation of Muslims in the US to that of Jews in Germany and wider Europe before the Shoah.”
“We realize that it is a stark symbol that carries a lot of weight and meaning today not only for Jews but for humanity,” Davary added. “That is as it should be, if we are to learn anything from our collective history. The yellow Star of David with the word Muslim written on it is a symbol that my students and I wear with utmost respect for the memory of the Jewish lives lost.”
She emphasized that she and her students wear the yellow star “in sympathy with those who lived through the tragedy and survived, and those who still bear the painful memory.”
Despite Davary’s expressed “sympathy,” Jewish and pro-Israel groups were less than amused. Jacob Baime, the executive director at the Israel on Campus Coalition, slammed the protest as grossly offensive.
“This incident reflects cultural appropriation at its worst,” Baime charged. “The industrial slaughter of 6 million innocent Jews by the Nazis is unique in human history. Any serious professor would have the decency to respect the memory of the victims.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, agreed that while fighting anti-Muslim attitudes was a worthy cause, a Jewish star was not the “imagery” he’d use to do it.
“When we talk about the yellow star, let’s remember who instituted it,” he told the Washington Free Beacon. “You had to wear it under penalty of death.”