More craziness at Evergreen State College: Jewish students write a letter saying that Bret Weinstein’s own Jewish background makes him even more racist

June 14, 2017 • 8:30 am

Just when you think Bret Weinstein’s demonization at The Evergreen State College couldn’t get any worse, it does. Now a group of cowardly and presumably Jewish students have written  “A letter to Bret Weinstein from some Jews bent on the destruction of White Supremacy“. They sign the letter “Some Jewish students at Evergreen bent on the destruction of white supremacy”, but of course won’t give their names. The letter is particularly invidious because it uses Weinstein’s Jewishness—like me, he’s a secular Jew with ancestral roots in Russia—to further accuse him of racism.

Remember, this all came from his writing an email to the faculty and staff (and the diversity authorities) saying that he wouldn’t join other white people in leaving campus on “The Day of Departure”. (If you think that absence was purely voluntary without any coercion, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.) And this despite Weinstein’s long history of progressivist and anti-racist activism, including participating in the Occupy movement.

The letter, which you can see at the link, is too long to reproduce here. Is it genuine, and was it written by Evergreen students—and Jewish ones? I can’t be completely sure, but I’ve found that 1) the site, Medium, is where Evergreen students publish their demands that they wish to make public; and 2) more important, the letter was circulated to the school’s faculty and staff by Evergreen professor and political economist Peter Bohmer, who wrote at the top of his email, “Please read this powerful letter by some Jewish students!”  (See Bohmer’s letter of solidarity with the students and criticisms of Weinstein here.) Bohmer’s circulating the letter gives it more credibility; he may even have had a part in its composition. Curiously, and perhaps tellingly, at the bottom of the letter circulated by Bohmer via email—but not the published letter—appear these phrases:


Why these words appear in Bohmer’s circulated version and not the published one is interesting; I suspect they were eliminated before publication. After all, what this is really about is the students trying to divert attention from their own thuggery and childish behavior onto Weinstein. If they continue to demonize him, they think, the spotlight will remain on him and not them. Right now, what happened to Weinstein, and the events on campus, have made Evergreen look bad to nearly everyone, and drawn unwelcome attention to a small college previously unknown to most Americans. The school’s reputation, enrollment, and dollar intake are in danger. The protestors, and perhaps the faculty, are starting to realize that things aren’t really going their way; and, as Regressives tend to do, they double down, desperately heaping more opprobrium on Weinstein. This letter is part of that effort.

The letter is headed with this symbol:

It starts with the dubious assertion that “all Ashkenazi Jews are not white” (they presumably mean, “not all Ashkenazi Jews are white”, but who ever said they could write?). And that latter claim may be true, but I’d bet that 99% of them aren’t People of Color, though Ashkenazis were often treated as an inferior group. But that is irrelevant; what the students accuse Weinstein of doing, and what he’s never done, is to take refuge in his secular Judaism to argue that he’s not a racist. Nor has he ever promulgated “anti-black language and behavior” as the letter claims.

From the letter:

We want to talk about the ways that Weinstein is positioning himself as a Jew to invalidate the claims of racism being raised against him. We want to examine Bret’s invocation of his Judaism as a prop upon which his anti-black language and behavior has rested. We must speak about this because if we remain silent we accept this unacceptable usage of our shared history.

This is not an isolated incident. This is about Weinstein, but it [sic] also about white Jews acting in complicity with and upholding white supremacy, passively and actively. We seek to counter Bret’s narrative and de-center his place in the wider struggle against institutional racism on campus and beyond.

Well, if blacks have ever had any friends among whites, it’s the Jews, who played a huge role in the civil rights movement of the Sixties. Of course some Jews are racist, but to accuse them as a group of being “white supremacists” is simply wrong. But of course these students are deeply ignorant of history: they get their narratives from their peers, their professors, and Facebook.

The letter then claims that Weinstein is playing the victim, and if you’ve seen his interviews with Tucker Carlson (a new one is below), Joe Rogan, and Dave Rubin, you’ll know that’s a lie. Then, after saying that Ashkenazi Jews are People of Color, they accuse Weinstein of racism because he is not black (I presume they’re saying that HE is ignorant of his genetic heritage). Note the use of the regressive term “lived experience”, which according to postmodern ideology takes precedence over mere facts:

Bret has attempted to position himself as a victim. It wouldn’t take much for Bret to apologize, but he has held fast to his seemingly innocuous position of victimhood, and in doing so has highlighted some of the ways that liberal racism functions. Here we can learn something about how not to react when claims of racist behavior are raised against us.

. . . Something that Bret may be trying to get to when he talks about himself as a Jew is that Ashkenazi Jews have not always been considered white. This is true, and is very important to think about.

. . . However, the fact that Jews have not always been enmeshed in whiteness does not negate the fact that today many Jews in this country benefit from and uphold white supremacy. Additionally, we know that the past experience of anti-semitism and oppression of our ancestors does not mean that we are incapable of reproducing harmful behavior. Much less does it mean that we as Jews are the singular authority on what does and does not constitute racially motivated subjugation in a different historical and social context. We can understand that those who experience trauma can perpetuate harmful behaviors and reproduce traumatizing conditions.

So when Bret says that he cannot possibly be racist because he knows what it is like for his people to be oppressed, what we hear is a negation of responsibility and a gross misuse of the history and suffering of our ancestors. The lived experience of white Ashkenazi Jews and the lived experience of black people in the US is drastically different and cannot be equated, and by doing so Bret refutes both experiences. Anti-blackness and racism in general are pervasive amongst white Jews. In combating white supremacy, we are combating the roots of anti-semitism.

That last paragraph is nonsensical given the history of the Jews over millennia and in its claim that the historical oppression of blacks must take precedence over the historical oppression of the Jews. But that’s typical of the regressive Hierarchy of Oppression, in which people of color are at the very top.  Since Bret has never denied the oppression of blacks in the U.S., to claim that he’s “refuted the experiences” of both blacks and Jews is sheer nonsense.

After further babbling, the students declare that Weinstein has put them in danger! How, exactly, can that be the case? After all, it is the thuggish regressive students who are roaming the campus with baseball bats looking for people to beat, and it is Weinstein and his family who have had to flee their home because of threats—and the declared inability of the police to protect them. Have a gander at this malarkey:

The way to address racism is to be willing to engage in honest conversations about it, and be willing to admit to where it lives within us. Bret’s refusal to engage in conversations about his own racism has put many Evergreen students in legitimate danger. We will not allow him to invoke our history, the history of our ancestors, as an excuse for his vile and inexcusable behavior. We, Jewish people, wish to express our unequivocal support and solidarity with undocumented, Latinx, black, MENA [people from the Middle East and North Africa] and Arab, Native, disabled, and trans and queer students, staff, faculty, and residents of the surrounding Olympia area. Bret Weinstein is wrong, he has put you in danger, and we will not allow him to hide behind our histories in order to dodge responsibility for his abhorrent and reprehensible words and actions.

It is these students’ unwillingness to engage in honest conversations, which is what Weinstein has always called for, and their demands that he apologize and conform to their own ideology, that has put Weinstein, the campus, and other students in danger. How dare these thugs take the moral high ground? I have nothing but contempt for students too cowardly to even sign their names, and also for Professor Bohmer, who circulated their letter with approbation.

The only remaining mystery is who wrote the last three sentences in the letter calling for Weinstein’s firing, and why they were left out of the letter that appeared online.

Here’s Weinstein’s latest short interview on Fox News with Tucker Carlson (who admits his politics are very far apart from Weinstein’s). It aired two days ago.  Weinstein, of course, has been accused by regressives of being an alt-righter because he appeared on Fox News, but it’s mainly the conservative outlets that pick up these stories. (I have yet to see Weinstein interviewed, or even mentioned, on NBC, ABC, or CBS.) And even Christopher Hitchens appeared on Fox News.  This accusation of where one does interviews as a sign of political comity is simply another attempt by Evergreen students and staff to turn the unwanted spotlight of opprobrium from themselves onto Weinstein.

Carlson asks Weinstein if he’ll return to Evergreen; Weinstein responds that he has further duties at the school, but adds “I don’t know how I can go back and teach given that I have been portrayed as the reason that Evergreen is in crisis.” I have predicted that his days at Evergreen are numbered; and it’s too bad for that school, where Bret and his wife Heather Heying were highly rated as teachers by the students. Now who, exactly, has been endangered here? Weinstein and Heying may have to leave their jobs, but I doubt that a single Evergreen student will be disciplined by the College. If they were, the rioting would get even worse!

h/t: Mark

56 thoughts on “More craziness at Evergreen State College: Jewish students write a letter saying that Bret Weinstein’s own Jewish background makes him even more racist

  1. Evergreen should be put into receivership. The current administration is obviously not capable of governing the place.

  2. sub

    I decided to become a patron of Dr. Weinstein’s Patreon site. I’m not entirely sure yet what kinds of things he will be discussing yet but I’m looking forward to it.

    1. There is still controversy over whether or not Jamal was framed for that killing, so this invitation is not as – um – black and white as you suggest.

      1. From that Wiki:

        >>Police arrived and arrested Abu-Jamal, who was found wearing a shoulder holster. His revolver, which had five spent cartridges, was beside him. Abu-Jamal was taken directly from the scene of the shooting to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he received treatment for his wound.

        Abu-Jamal tried to defend himself, and was permitted, but that was revoked when he continued to disrupt proceedings. He did not take the stand.

        The legal appeals, and his International Status, seem to be based on his membership of the Panthers rather than on any evidence strong enough to induce factual doubt.

  3. The bill to privatize and defund this excresence should be passed.
    Weinstein should sue the remaining husk into bankruptcy. He should also sue the president and regents personally.

    Excellent post btw.

    1. That would be long and complex and expensive. I was wondering if he could at least try to have the university rebuke the professor who circulated and supported the libelous letter. But even that would be daunting, I suspect.

  4. We need whiplash warnings for these posts, I keep shaking my head!

    I really wonder what will happen when these students enter the real world, no boss/supervisor/manager/coworker will let them get away with this entitled bullshit.

    1. Ten years from now most of these students will be very different people, trying to forget the idiocies of their youth. The necessity of earning money to feed a family has the remarkable effect of suppressing the delusions these students suffer from. A possible exception will be those students who end up in academia. It seems that the ivory tower metaphor has never been so apt.

      1. Except the ones going into academia, further devaluing the institutions. Thirty or more years of post-modern pseudoscientific claptrap.

        Even if you don’t want to be on twitter I urge you to get on it if only to check account @RealPeerReview day-in day-out academic nonsense. Enough to break your heart.

  5. The governing board of the college should immediately demote the current president, and appoint Weinstein president. If any one can clean up the mess, and save the college, it is he.

  6. There are no limits to the gradation ‘the other’ (*) where it comes to any sort of reformation. Identifying who is in ‘my group’ becomes non-trivial even when appearances are no longer what they appear.

    Internally, religion is in its most hazardous form when it reforms. It disconnects members of the same group and makes them ‘the others’ to each other.

    Externally, the secular world benefits from the division that eats an organization from the inside: protestation after protestation of ‘you are not me and therefore not in my gorup’. But watching this from the outside, is like watching little children fighting on the playground over stupidity.


  7. These attack letters are so indifferent to the specific context or actual statements made by Weinstein. They are boilerplate… could there be an anti-racism bot somewhere that auto writes these protest letters?

  8. This type of breast-beating self-abasement is unhealthy, both for those who do it, and for those on whose behalf it ostensibly is being done.

  9. I also have my doubts whether that letter is genuine or a fabrication. I tend to think the latter. It makes not much sense either way anyway.
    I suspect Evergreen will not recover from this. Who would want to go there, or send his/her child there?

    1. You have to hope it is a hoax to show that ‘Medium’ will publish regressive propaganda on the basis that it aligns with their ideology.

      1. I haven’t seen Medium as a publishing platform wielding any kind of ideological axe, so far. A substantive takedown of Vox’s anti-Charles Murray article was published there, e.g.

  10. I always wonder in situations like this, do these people believe what they are saying / writing? In other words, are they delusional or are they lying?

    Ken, Brujo or other law experts, is there grounds for suing for slander or defamation of character in any of this against any of the staff or students? Whether a result of lying, delusion or what-have-you in many of these videos, letters, tweets and other postings students and staff are saying inaccurate things about Weinstein with intent to damage his reputation and livelihood, and that are resulting in serious, real damages.

  11. The letter then claims that Weinstein is playing the victim, and if you’ve seen his interviews with Tucker Carlson (a new one is below), Joe Rogan, and Dave Rubin, you’ll know that’s a lie.

    All credit to him. If he wanted to “play” the victim, it wouldn’t bother me because from where I stand he is a victim. Throughout this sorry episode, Mr Weinstein’s conduct has been thoughtful and mature IMO. His opponents, on the other hand…

  12. Does anyone know the significance of the symbol (I don’t read Hebrew but I think I see the word for “justice” in there)?

    Is that Sasquatch climbing a church with some weird Charlie McCarthy arm wrapped in christmas lights pointing at something out of frame?

    I don’t get it.

    1. It’s a biblical quote which says “justice, justice shall you pursue”, and the meaning is what it sounds like…
      The “Mazel Tov Coctail” makes it extremely unlikely that a Jew was involved in this, because it makes no sense in the context.

      Antisemitism is a tenet of the regressive left and they found a good target in Weinstein.

    2. The earliest use on the ‘net of that ‘Mazal Tov Cocktail’ image I can find is from January

      It seems to be solely a US thing associated with #JewishResistance & ifNotNow – which appears to be young, progressive Jews protesting against the supposed white supremacist views of Bannon & the Alt-Right in general. Thus they are aligning with Muslim groups…

      I can’t explain it. It seems incoherent. This article may explain better [I didn’t understand more from reading it]:

  13. … but who ever said they could write?

    Hell, they deserve to be put in stocks on the campus quad for using a worthless nonce verb like “de-center,” alone. 🙂

    1. The students’ use of the nonsense word “de-center” follows from the frequent use of the word “center” by their theological kin, as in “center the narratives of the lived experience of people of color”. As nearly as can be determined, the verb “to center” in theological exercises of this kind is roughly synonymous with “to sanctify”. “To de-center” therefore means to declare anathema, to maledict, or to excommunicate.

  14. The President of Evergreen really needs to be fired. His unwillingness or inability to control this situation is appalling. That another professor should be able to circulate an anonymous, defamatory letter like this without being disciplined is beyond the pale.

    1. I was wondering about that. The anonymous students will probably remain untouched by the damage they are causing. But the professor who spread the letter should at the very least be rebuked. But even that, which I think would occur at other universities, might not occur there since the system seems broken.

    2. Well, I am not sure about that. Bohmer has the right to circulate this letter, even if it is garbage. Do we want university Presidents deciding what views professors can espouse?

      1. They can have their views, but the letter is at least close to being libelous, isn’t it? And the effective endorsement of this letter from a fellow proffessor adds weight to it. Even if no laws were broken (I am not sure on that), a university can issue a reprimand to a professor for creating (or in this case adding to) a hostile work environmnent for one of their colleagues who has done nothing to come even close to deserving the excoriation he is receiving. I thought that employees are supposed to be kept safe from conditions where they can barely even work. I hope that there rules against one employee adding to a hostile work environment. Seems to me that there would be.

      2. Bohmer isn’t just espousing opinions, he is libeling a colleague and purposefully trying to get his colleague fired, while also trying to maintain the hostile work environment that Evergreen has become for said colleague.

        1. I am no lawyer, but it is my understanding that whether the letter defames Weinstein is a fact that must be determined in a court, and it is up to Weinstein, the defamed party, to bring suit if he thinks he can win. If he won (which I doubt) he can seek redress including a condition that TESC restrain Bohmer fom repeating the libel. Weinstein can also sue TESC for failing to provide a safe workspace, as I advocated earlier, and use Bohmer’s letter as evidence (although he has stronger evidence, including an alleged statement by the campus police that they could not protect him.)

          IMHO, none of this allows Bridges, administering a public institution, to exercise prior restraint on Bohmer’s right to circulate the letter or express his views, odious as they are, about jews supporting a racist system.

          1. Weinstein could also seek redress through TESC’s administrative process, but good luck with that. It disgusts me that so few of Weinstein’s colleagues have rallied to his defense.

          2. To be clear, Bridges is a spineless coward for not refusing the students’ outrageous demands and instead groveling, and for not maintaining order on the campus. He should have made clear that threats against Weinstein or anyone else would not be tolerated, and he should have stationed campus police in Weinstein’s classroom, if needed.

            He could not, and should not, have suppressed any views or the right to express grievances, silly as they are, as long as the the protestors are peaceful.

          3. Yes, you are entirely correct about all of this, but that was my point: Bohmer is giving him a very strong case for a libel suit, as not only is his letter libelous, but it is both untruthful and malicious (though it doesn’t necessarily need the maliciousness aspect, it will be helpful if Weinstein is either found to be a public figure somehow because of this brouhaha, among other things). Further, he has a great case against Bridges and the entire school for a hostile work environment suit, and this is almost exclusively a direct result of Bridges’ failure (or, to be more accurate, complete refusal) to contain this situation from the start.

    3. +1 And the students leading this ruckus should be disciplined – but first thing to fire the president

  15. In this crazy letter one sees the parralels to tactics used by Trump and by fascists elsewhere. False and outrageous claims made without evidence. These claims become the litmus test for separateing Those Who Can be Trusted from Those Who Cannot Be Trusted. Those of sensible minds who find themselves trapped in this sphere are cowed into silence, not daring to call attention to themselves.

  16. Lived experiences. Do these people pull words from the redundancy sack? Of course your experiences are lived for fox sake!

    And if they can do a genetic test for one being having an Ashkenazi Jew background, which is in the area of all the other white people, who is saying Ashkenazi Jews are black. It’s possible but unlikely as a whole.

    Also, when did Weinstein say he was Jewish and therefore can’t be racist? He never said that. He did say that as a Jew, he was particularly sensitive to being told he can’t go somewhere. I totally agree as a woman. I tend to get annoyed when told I can’t join a certain group because I’m a woman or I can’t sit next to a man because I am a woman. These students need to study logic and rhetoric a little more closely and remember: redundancy – good for computers, bad for arguments.

    1. No you have missed a key point Diana. “Lived experience” is about pulling rank. There are two kinds of experience: vicarious is the other. We can sensibly talk about the lessons of vicarious experience, and can debate them. Did raising the minimum wage cause unemployment? No-one can pull rank when we discuss the empirical data — the vicarious experience. But my “lived experience” is something you cannot challenge, I can pull rank.

      This seeming redundancy is in other words a linguistic trick to deny the value or relevance of evidence.

    2. Instead of what they are doing, these students should be studying, period. I hope they learn enough over the years to become ashamed of these younger selves. So much ignorance.

      Yes. There are black Jews, but I doubt that they are exclusively Ashkenazi. How I wish we could stop labeling groups of people with such names, especially names that are intended to be demeaning or insulting. How I wish we could get away from using blackness or whiteness of humanity as a determinant of value, or who has experienced the greatest oppression.

      If the students would study history, they would discover that black people were not the only, or even the predominant, group of people sold into slavery. Enslavement has occurred all over the world throughout history. The Jews, Muslims and Christians had slaves. The blacks in Africa had slaves. (Blacks and Arabs were the ones who captured black slaves they sold to the Europeans and Americans.) The Greeks and Romans had slaves. And, as we well know, North America and South America had slaves. Slavery has happened everywhere and is still going on in great numbers, and not only of black people.

      Let’s work for human rights of all people and stop this other stupidity that harms all people.

      1. The world ‘slave’ itself is derived from the ‘Slavs’, an Eastern European -lillywhite- tribe, whose members apparently were quite popular as slaves (especially around the time of Otto the Great).

  17. Yes Rowena … we conveniently forget that slavery is part of the human experience .. even other animals practice slavery (ants in particular). However the received wisdom deems to be that only Americans were slave owners – I remember an exhibition in NY many years ago on slavery .. which re-inforced this view. Let’s not let historical realities get in the way of our emotion driven ideologies.

  18. “2) more important, the letter was circulated to the school’s faculty and staff by Evergreen professor and political economist Peter Bohmer”
    “Peter Bohmer has been an activist in movements for radical social chance since 1967.”
    “Peter took classes from Evergreen to Cuba in 2004, and to Venezuela with Anne Fischel in 2009 and 2012.”
    “The purpose of education should be a further democratic society where students develop more than just writing, reading and qualitative skill – quantitative skills but equally important learn how to think critically. Good education confers the creativity, solidarity and empathy for oppressed people and intolerance for racial, gender economic and all forms inequality and justice. *A commitment to activism* and citizen involvement to economic and *social justice* for the physical and mental health of the individual and society”

    Not surprising.

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