An effort to invalidate the votes of presumably anti-divestment voting students at UCLA who had traveled to Israel on trips sponsored by pro-Israel organizations was defeated on Wednesday, May 21.
That effort was one of two promoted by the aggressively anti-Israel organization Students for Justice in Palestine. The other SJP initiative was to ask students wishing to serve in the UCLA student government to sign a pledge that they would not go on such pro-Israel sponsored trips to Israel.
The decision Wednesday rejecting SJP’s effort was issued by the UCLA judicial board. The judicial board was considering a Complaint brought by SJP which claimed that the pro-Israel groups had, essentially, “bought” the students anti-divestment vote by bringing the students to Israel.
The two students whose experiences were under investigation, Sunny Singh and Lauren Rogers, visited Israel on trips sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, respectively, according to the Jewish Journal.
The vote by the undergraduate Judicial Board was 4 – 0, with two abstentions. The vote meant that taking such trips did not constitute a conflict of interest for members of student government. In other words, members of the student government who had been on trips to Israel sponsored by pro-Israel organizations were not required to abstain from voting on matters pertaining to the Middle East, or be barred from participating in student government altogether.
Representatives from local ADL and AJC branches which sponsored the trips to Israel on which Singh and Rogers went were called to present evidence and undergo cross-examination. Both maintained, apparently credibly, that the trips were not a quid pro quo for pro-Israel votes on relevant matters that came before the UCLA student government.
A written opinion will be issued by the judicial board on June 4.
This vote constitutes the latest in a series of stinging defeats for SJP. That organization, heady from a series of successful bullying tactics, hit the wall once Jewish and other pro-Israel students began standing up to the organization’s bullying, over-the-top tactics.
Pro-Israel students at Brooklyn College, Northeastern University, Cornell University and New York University, to name just a few, have defeated anti-Israel efforts by the SJP over the past year.
Unfortunately, the judicial board vote rejecting SJP’s complaint came too late to save Singh’s run for the UCLA student government presidency. It is Singh’s opinion that, although his platform was about increasing mental health resources and efficiency of student government, the SJP’s harping on the issue of Israel helped lead to his defeat by a candidate who took the SJP pledge not to travel to Israel on trips sponsored by pro-Israel groups.
The SJP initiatives were also supported by the radical pro-BDS group Jewish Voice for Peace.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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