PORTLAND: Antisemitic satire has local Jews at odds


PORTLAND, Ore. - It was intended to be an inside joke, but now a college paper satire is accused of being anti-Semitic - and it's now getting national attention.

At Reed College in Southeast Portland, students are at odds over an article that made fun of the holocaust. Yes, it was very offensive to some.

This college campus said it has rushed to make amends. But it's not enough for at least one student there.

It was in the first paragraph of the satire - a spoof article that said Lewis and Clark college rounded up Jewish people to gas them - that ignited Leslie Zukor's ire.

"I'm really offended," said Leslie Zukor. "I have ancestors who died in the holocaust."

One of The Pamphlette's editors - who is also Jewish - says he started it all.

"It was wildly misinterpreted," he said. He said he was writing a satire meaning to poke fun at people who deny the holocaust.

Zukor wrote an editorial disapproving the satire, saying it could lead to future genocides. The paper followed with what it said was another satire, making fun of her editorial and using Lewis and Clark College in a fake scenario where they killed all Jews.

"I guess the article we wrote was context dependent," said "The Pamphlette" senior editor, Andrew. "It was in the context of us being labeled as anti-Semites. And it lost its meaning."

Zukor said she "got" that it was "supposed" to be a joke - but couldn't find the humor in it.

"This is not a laughing matter," Zukor said. "It should be dealt with, and it's not. I'm really disappointed."

But Reed College administration said they are on top of it. They said they responded to complaints over the publication by starting a dialog.

"What that means is when things go wrong, which they sometimes do, we talk and we listen," said Peter Steinberger, Reed College's dean of faculty administrator. "We engage in respectful conversation."

Reed College's president apologized to the Lewis and Clark student body. In a written statement Lewis and Clark officials said it was offensive, but that is standpoint is that this article is not a reflection of Reed College as a whole.

Zukor wants the Reed student body to pull funding for the paper.

"It seems to me like censorship to yank funds of a publication based on content of what they published," said Devin Judge-Lord, Reed's student body president. "But there definitely needs to be a dialog."

Zukor is hoping that might teach a lesson to those behind the jokes.

Coincidentally, Lewis and Clark had just experienced its own incident of vandalism in a school bathroom, where someone left swastikas on the bathroom floor. The editors at "The Pamphlette" said they weren't aware of this when they used that college in their 'joke."



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