University of Alabama President Stuart Bell at the Alabama Hillel Shabbat dinner on Jan. 27.
Security was increased at Jewish institutions around the University of Alabama in the wake of a couple dozen “YeIsRight” messages chalked around the campus in Jan. 26, some with a teaser for Jan. 27.
The controversy, though, galvanized the Jewish community on campus, and on Jan. 27, the weekly Shabbat dinners at Hillel and Alabama Chabad had attendance that some are describing as the highest ever.
University President Stuart Bell and other university officials stopped by Hillel and Temple Emanu-El next door to express support for the campus Jewish community.
The university and several organizations had previously issued statements condemning the chalkings, which were quickly cleaned up by university police.
Stating that “hate doesn’t roll here,” the Alabama Student Government Association said that “the antisemitic actions committed on campus yesterday are nothing less than abhorrent.” The SGA “stands with the Jewish community, and we encourage the student body to join us in upholding our Capstone Creed.”
The SGA statement referenced International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and listed resources for those needing support.
The Alabama Sigma Alpha Mu noted their history of being founded nationally by eight Jewish men, and said they are “disgusted” by the graffiti, and “antisemitic speech cannot be tolerated.” The chapter committed $500 to Chabad at Alabama, and “we will also seek to expand our network to continue supporting Jewish organizations.”
John Killian, past president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention and chaplain of the Alabama Republican Party, referenced the Alabama soldiers who fought to put an end to Nazism. “When someone comes along defending Hitler, that advocacy should be opposed and rebuked.
“Christians in Alabama have a heritage of opposing antisemitism and supporting Israel,” Killian added. “In light of our heritage, we oppose the reprehensible graffiti by a twisted mind.”
The university is investigating the graffiti, which seems to be the work of a supporter of white nationalist and Holocaust denying livestreamer Dalton Clodfelter. A week ago, he and white nationalist Tyler Russell set up a “YeIsRight: Change My Mind” table at Florida Atlantic University.
A recent “Antisemite of the Week” on StopAntisemitism, Clodfelter says he is on a “College Campus Invasions” tour to spread the message of Ye’s “love.”
On Jan. 26, Russell and Clodfelter set up their table at Florida State University, where they received a hostile reception from groups they described as “Jewish supremacist.” A sympathetic website said the two are “Christians who see Ye’s Christ-centered worldview as the most important political statement and belief a man can have in America today,” and are starting a serious national discussion of “a disproportionate amount of Jewish power” in the country.
The Jan. 27 reference in the Alabama graffiti seemed to reference a similar tabling effort at Alabama. Some also noted that Jan. 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
On Jan. 27, Clodfelter tweeted that the University of Alabama “has violated our first amendment right (sic). Big announcement soon. Lots of footage.” As of Jan. 29, no followup has been posted.
Messages like “Ye is Right” express support for Ye’s recent antisemitic rants, and the former Kanye West’s words are being used and celebrated by white supremacists and other antisemitic groups.