UPDATE: Dean Bible Ministries, which posted the Vimeo video formerly featured here, has removed it. This has to have happened at the direction or request of Rojas or StandWithUs. An act of sheer cowardice by someone who’s frightened of standing behind her own words.
In a comment below, Rojas notes that the following widely published statement on the StandWithUs website does not indicate that Jerry Seinfeld had anything to do with her role at SWU and did not donate funds to support her work there:
“Michelle began her work at StandWithUs in 2005 in Israel, as the Jerry Seinfeld Family Scholar.”
It is somehow supposed to indicate only that Jerry Seinfeld supported her college education. She does not understand that this statement is either deliberately or inadvertently misleading and makes a claim it doesn’t intend to make.
From the Department of Weird comes word tonight that StandWithUs’ “Diaspora Education Director,” Michelle Rojas-Tal, began her career in 2005 at the pro-Israel advocacy group as the “Jerry Seinfeld Family Scholar.” Given how endowed programs like this work, this means that Jerry Seinfeld is a major donor to StandWithUs. Rojas also notes at 1:20 of this June 2012 video of a speech she gave to the Dean Bible Ministries, that Jerry Seinfeld’s family paid her entire college education.
I think it’s wonderful for someone to subsidize the college education of a worthy student whose family doesn’t have the means to do so. In fact, friends of my family did something like that for me (though they didn’t subsidize my entire education). But Seinfeld crossed the line when he essentially paved her entrance to SWU. I’ve got to believe that he continues to subsidize either her salary with the group or the group in general. All of which makes him a major donor to one of the scummiest of American Jewish organizations.
In the video above, Rojas describes an academic battle she had with a Jordanian professor, Aseel Sawalha, at Pace University. As part of this battle, Rojas describes how she exploited her relationship with Seinfeld to get her professor disciplined. When she was particularly outraged after one of her lectures, Rojas visited the chairs of the Middle East Studies and Political Science departments and reminded him who her “patron” was. This, she claimed, gave her leverage the average “pro-Israel” college student didn’t have. As a result, the Pace faculty member was denied the right to teach the subject in dispute for the rest of the semester. Rojas is proud of her successful efforts at academic censorship. This woman is a piece of work.
I consulted with someone who is directly familiar with the incidents Rojas claimed occurred while she studied at Pace University. This individual said that her version of events is fictional. It’s highly unlikely the subject of a Bagdhad “pogrom” would’ve been discussed in an anthropology course. The teacher was not reprimanded nor asked not to teach certain material or subjects by anyone, nor that anyone in administration intervened in the teaching of that course in any way.
In addition, there was a contingent of pro-Israel students on campus and their views were not repressed in any way nor was there a hostile climate for Jewish or pro-Israel students on campus.
No doubt, Rojas is an able propagandist and will go far in her chosen profession of political flackery. But aren’t there enough facts to use in one’s pro-Israel advocacy without making stuff up? In doing so, she’s done a disservice to Israel, SWU, and her own person. Unfortunately, this is SOP for this group. Lies, either those they believe or not even, characterize SWU. Remember that the late Yitzhak Shamir once said that it was permissible to lie on behalf of Eretz Yisrael. The same philosophy seems operative in it’s work.
My Twitter feed told me last night that Jerry’s going out on the road with his act. He needs to get back in touch with his roots. Maybe he’ll add a couple of nasty Soup Nazi-type Arab jokes to his act or do a little promotion for the worthy work of SWU. Many of us were great fans of Seinfeld when it was on TV. But the Jerry Seinfeld of today is not something worthy watching or supporting.
Given the fact that his fellow TV cast member, Michael Richards, launched a racist tirade against a heckler at one of his comedy shows, it appears racism runs in the Seinfeld family, so to speak.