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October 7, 2015 / 24 Tishri, 5776
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An Open Letter to University of California President Mark Yudof

UC President Mark Yudof

UC President Mark Yudof
Photo Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory/US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration

These two incidents cannot be written off as political disputes between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel students. The culpability for the harassment and intimidation lies squarely with the students from pro-Palestinian organizations and their supporters, who have directed their unmitigated, anti-Semitic hatred of the Jewish state against Jewish students who openly identify with it.

The two incidents that took place last week are by no means isolated events. They are merely the most recent examples of the longstanding and pervasive pattern of emotional and physical harassment that has been directed specifically at Jewish students, primarily by members of Muslim and pro-Palestinian student organizations with virulently anti-Semitic agendas. To make matters worse, the SJP and MSA students and their anti-Israel campaigns have found considerable support from numerous other student organizations, as well as from UC faculty and administrators. (For example, an Israel Apartheid Week event presented by the UCSD-MSA in 2010, which was replete with speakers, exhibits, and imagery that demonized and delegitimized Israel and her supporters, was endorsed by the SJP and 8 other student organizations, and sponsored by 18 academic departments and administrative units on that campus, including the Literature and Ethnic Studies Departments and the Office of Graduate Studies and Thurgood Marshall College).

We must state the obvious: Jewish students face a concerted campaign of hatred, harassment and intimidation that has been promulgated by fellow students, professors, and administrators. No other minority on campus has been subjected to such a campaign, nor would the University administration tolerate such bigoted behavior were it to be directed against any other minority. In this regard, we believe that the University of California has a clear and discriminatory double standard towards Jewish students, one which is anti-Semitic in effect if not in intent.

On several occasions we have called for transparent, well-articulated policies to guarantee the safety of Jewish students and to ensure them an environment that is neither hostile nor threatening, and on each occasion you have ignored our request. We still believe these are essential and urge you to implement such policies as soon as possible.

Now, however, we call on you and the UC Chancellors to issue a public statement that:

1) condemns the campaign of intimidation and harassment of Jewish students that violates their rights to freedom of expression; and

2) denounces the economic and academic boycott of Israel and acknowledges its hostile impact on Jewish students.

We also encourage other members and supporters of the California Jewish community — many of them UC alumni, parents, and donors — to add their voices to ours in urging you to issue such a statement.

The Jewish community will not remain silent while Jewish students continue to be harassed and intimidated on UC campuses, and University administrators turn a blind eye.



Leila Beckwith Professor Emeritus, University of California at Los Angeles Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative Leila@AMCHAinitiative.org

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin Lecturer, University of California at Santa Cruz Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative Tammi@AMCHAinitiative.org


hat tip: Israpundit

About the Author: The AMCHA Initiative was founded by University of California faculty, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, Lecturer in Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University of California Santa Cruz, and Leila Beckwith, Professor Emeritus in Pediatrics at University of California Los Angeles. For more than 8 years, both women have been involved in academic and advocacy efforts to combat the rise of campus antisemitism. They have written articles and lectured in the U.S., Canada, and Israel about academic anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

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