Photo Credit: Greg Andersen / CSUF Photos
CSU System Chancellor Mildred Garcia

AMCHA Initiative Director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin on Wednesday blasted Sonoma State University’s capitulation to the demands of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), including committing the state school to a full academic boycott of Israel.

The guidelines of the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel campaign, which coordinates academic BDS activity internationally, include calling for shutting down study abroad programs, also call for boycotting educational programs in or about Israel, and canceling or shutting down pro-Israel events and activities, as well as encouraging the denigration, protest and exclusion of pro-Israel individuals – with a devastating impact on students and faculty who want to study in or about Israel, or who identify with the Jewish State.


AMCHA Initiative’s studies have consistently found a strong correlation between BDS activity and acts of antisemitic assault, harassment, and vandalism on campuses nationwide.

The AMCHA director called on CSU System Chancellor Mildred Garcia to step in to immediately nullify the STU agreement with pro-Hamas students, and if warranted, remove Sonoma State’s President Ming-Tung ‘Mike’ Lee from office.

She also called on California State Legislators to launch legislation ensuring an academic boycott of any country, including Israel, can never be implemented at any state-funded school.

Rossman-Benjamin issued the following statement:

“We are horrified at Sonoma State University’s morally reprehensible capitulation to the virulently antisemitic academic boycott of Israel campaign organized by the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).
This is not an organically-driven student effort. This is right out of PACBI’s playbook, which includes instructions for targeting Israel’s on-campus supporters for harm. Sonoma State’s capitulation directly hurts its own students and faculty. Now that the University has adopted academic BDS, its motto, ‘Light of the Mind, Light of the World,’ should instead read, ‘Darkness of the Mind, Darkness of the World.’
“This academic boycott of Israel campaign (academic BDS), whose explicit goal is to purge campuses of Zionism and Zionists, is reminiscent of Nazi Germany and its successful purge of Jewish students and faculty from its universities. Academic BDS directly subverts the educational opportunities and academic freedom of students and faculty at Sonoma State University, and its implementation creates an intolerably hostile and unsafe campus for Jewish students and faculty who – like the vast majority of Jews worldwide – identify with the Jewish state and the Jewish people.
“In 2014, the California State University system rightly condemned academic boycotts. For an academic boycott of Israel to not only be promoted, but implemented by the president of a CSU campus wholly supported by taxpayer dollars, is abhorrent and cannot stand.
“College and university leaders nationwide must take heed and immediately establish robust safeguards to ensure that an academic boycott of Israel may never be implemented at their schools.”

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