web analytics
October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



UCLA SJP ‘Violated Principles of Civility, Respect and Inclusion’

UCLA's Chancellor said about the actions taken by the Students for Justice in Palestine, "just because speech is constitutionally protected doesn’t mean that it is wise, fair or productive."
Powell Library at UCLA

Powell Library at UCLA
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Last week The Jewish Press reported that seven pro-Israel groups wrote to the heads of the California Board of Regents. The pro-Israel groups wanted the officials to reverse the hands-off approach college officials had taken against two shocking anti-Israel initiatives undertaken at the University of California at Los Angeles. The goal of those initiatives is to deprive pro-Israel students of having a voice in their student government. Students for Justice in Palestine, an aggressively anti-Israel group, is behind these initiatives.

The UCLA SJP urged the student judicial board to investigate two members of the student government who had traveled to Israel on trips paid for by pro-Israel groups, in an effort to “prove” that the two were biased and should not have been able to vote on a resolution calling for divestment from investments in Israeli companies. The other initiative called on all students who wished to become a part of the student government to first take a pledge that they wouldn’t travel to Israel with the pro-Israel groups.

The UCLA administration’s initial response to the SJP initiatives was to punt.

UCLA encourages a climate of respectful engagement among students, faculty and staff, even in situations that are very difficult, painful and complex,” the statement said. “Student government functions independently, its proceedings proscribed by a constitution that makes available to students and student groups a process to review issues of alleged conflicts of interest. UCLA encourages all involved in this particular process to deliberate in an honest, respectful and inclusive manner.

That’s nice. But given the students were already past being anything close to respectful and inclusive, the pro-Israel groups were hoping the UCLA administration would take another look at the situation and respond with a little more oomph.

The groups did not have long to wait.

On Friday, May 16, the Chancellor of UCLA, Gene D. Block, issued a letter to the UCLA community. In his letter, Block paid homage to the freedom of speech, and explained that because the pledge was not something called for by the university and that no one was required to sign it, the SJP’s drafting and circulating the pledge was an issue of free speech.

But.

Block also clearly explained that just because someone can say something does not mean they should say it. In other words,

just because speech is constitutionally protected doesn’t mean that it is wise, fair or productive. I am troubled that the pledge sought to delegitimize educational trips offered by some organizations but not others. I am troubled that the pledge can reasonably be seen as trying to eliminate selected viewpoints from the discussion. I condemn any remarks on social media or elsewhere that are disrespectful or hurtful.

Political speech that stigmatizes or casts aspersions on individuals or particular groups does not promote healthy debate but debases it by trying to intimidate individuals and groups. It does not strengthen the bonds of mutual respect and engagement that sustain a diverse community able to manage differences; it weakens them. If we shut out perspectives, if we silence voices, if we allow innuendo to substitute for reasoned exchange of ideas, if we listen only to those who already share our assumptions, truth gets lost, our intellectual climate is impoverished and our community is diminished.

Passionate debate is to be expected in a civil society, especially in a heated election season, but I am personally concerned any time people feel disrespected, intimidated or unfairly singled out because of their beliefs. Important issues will generate passions, even discomfort — that cannot be avoided. But if the political debate on campus gets more shrill and less nuanced, if hostility replaces empathy, if we see each other as enemies rather than as colleagues trying to figure out how to do the right thing in difficult circumstances, we will all be the lesser for it. It is possible to express strong opinions without belittling others.

For her part, Janet Napolitano, UC president, issued a statement also on the 16th, essentially joining in with Block’s position. She wrote that while freedom of speech is a highly valued principle, “other principles are also highly valued, including the principles of civility, respect, and inclusion.” Napolitano stated quite directly that the actions of the SJP students and their supporters (Jewish Voice for Peace, amongst others) “violate those principles.”

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.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “UCLA SJP ‘Violated Principles of Civility, Respect and Inclusion’”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas speaking in Ramallah, July 1, 2014.
PA Demands Nov 2016 Deadline for UN to Force Israeli Surrender
Latest News Stories
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas speaking in Ramallah, July 1, 2014.

PA leader Abbas demands UN force Israel back to 1949 Armistice Line by Nov. 2016.

The car of the acting rabbi of an Atlantic City synagogue mysteriously burst into flames during the three-day Rosh HaShanah-Shabbat period.

Car fires are car fires,” said the Atlantic City fire chief. But the car was parked!

U.S. President Barack Obama, Sept. 8, 2014.

US admits its ‘no-strike if any civilians might be hit’ policy does not apply to its airstrikes against ISIS.

Netanel Roi Arami

Israeli police revealed on September 30 that they are now investigating the possibility that a fellow Arab worker may have cut the cable that held Arami as he was doing exterior work on a building.

A 14-year-old Dutch Muslim high school student is suspended after posting a video saying he is “from ISIS” and wants to “behead Jews.”

PM Netanyahu and US Pres. Obama met Wednesday evening for 75 minutes at the White House in Washington DC.

Israel talks with building blocks. The Palestinian Authority throws them.

The Palestinian Authority continues to remove its mask and show it is Hamas in sheep’s clothing.

How do some of the other issues Obama discussed in his 2013 U.N. General Assembly speech look through today’s lens?

“I think there’s no question that support for Israel will, I think, increase dramatically with the Republican leadership in the Senate,” Matthew Brooks, executive director of the RJC and the Jewish Policy Center think tank, told JNS.

As expected, one of the biggest themes throughout the week long UN gathering was a focus on the threat posed by Islamic State to the international world order, with nearly every major world leader mentioning the U.S.-led international efforts underway to combat the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.

“You want to know what this wine looked like, which wine King David drank, white or red…. We can see if it’s red or white, strong or weak.”

For diehard Jewish fans of “The Simpsons,” a Mourner’s Kaddish will be in order at this weekend’s Yom Kippur services.

A recent Jerusalem municipal decision regarding a virgin, angered ultra-Orthodox representatives.

B’Tselem is once again able to use Israel’s national service volunteers to attack Israel’s efforts at self-defense and sovereignty.

The soft-glove approach to campus anti-Zionists is more like a pat on the back.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
U.S. President Barack Obama, Sept. 8, 2014.

US admits its ‘no-strike if any civilians might be hit’ policy does not apply to its airstrikes against ISIS.

B'Tselem ran a campaign this summer attacking Israel for its actions when searching for the missing Israeli teenagers. They called the campaign, "Hitching a Ride."

B’Tselem is once again able to use Israel’s national service volunteers to attack Israel’s efforts at self-defense and sovereignty.

‘Jews Against Genocide’ pervert the Ice Bucket Challenge into a “blood bucket” attack on the IDF.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted murderer of a Philly cop, was chosen as college commencement speaker.

The blatantly hostile state department press corps belittled and mischaracterized Netanyahu’s UN speech.

PLO member and PA spokesperson Saeb Erekat ridiculed state dept. spokesperson for Abbas criticism

Suicide bombing reported as new president of Afghanistan sworn in.

Israeli car pelted with rocks as it traveled on the road near Tekoa.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ucla-sjp-violated-principles-of-civility-respect-and-inclusion/2014/05/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: