By defending the organized demands that students who have taken sponsored trips to Israel should disqualify themselves from participating in UCLA student body elections as “sacrosanct” and “within the realm of free speech,” Block is doing more harm than good. It’s the equivalent to leaving the matter to a lynch mob seeking to bar Jews from the fundamental rights of political association and free expression.
Aggrieved UCLA students have had to turn to the University of California system’s president, Janet Napolitano, and the Regents in an attempt for relief. Napolitano released a statement saying she shared Block’s concerns.
Is it so-called free speech when the goal is to end Jewish students’ full access to free expression and politically active lives on campus? Dressing up intimidation as a “sanctified” right is an obscene distortion of the First Amendment.
It’s time for our colleges and universities to rediscover their moral compass. If necessary, major Jewish donors should withhold their gifts. Jewish philanthropists should support only schools that protect the rights of all students to participate fully in campus life from the quad to the classroom without fear or intimidation – including lovers of Zion.
About the Author: Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance. Aron Hier is the Wiesenthal Center’s director of campus outreach. Historian Harold Brackman contributed to this piece.
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