AMCHA’S Responses to Antisemitic Activity – UC Systemwide

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11. The UC Regents had advanced an excellent framework for addressing and preventing intolerance in March 2016. UC Irvine Chancellor Gillman recognized the value of the Regents’ statement and became the first chancellor to commit his campus to a full implementation of it. The remaining UC Chancellors should follow Chancellor Gillman’s lead and implement the Regents’ Principles Against Intolerance on their campuses to ensure the safety and well being of all members of the campus community.

INCIDENT: In recent months, a sharp spike in anti-Semitic activity had been reported nationally, as well as hundreds of acts of hatred and intolerance targeting other historically vulnerable groups, including African Americans, LGBTQ community members, immigrants, women, Muslims and many others. At the same time, we witnessed a sharp rise in hateful, intolerant acts directed at individuals holding divergent ideological and political viewpoints. Intolerance has become a serious and growing problem at UC. On too many campuses, one group’s freedom of expression has been used to denigrate, harass, intimidate and shut down the expression of another group. Debate is veering into hate, and the campus climate is at risk of becoming toxic for a variety of students targeted for actions of intolerance.

  • 1/26/17 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a coalition letter of 47 organizations addressed to the UC Regents stating, “Many of our 47 organizations have come to you in the past regarding escalating anti-Semitism at the University of California. In the current increasingly polarized climate, however, we are gravely concerned that not only Jewish students, but students of multiple diverse identities and beliefs, are feeling increasingly threatened and unsafe… Now more than ever each UC campus should implement the Regents’ Principles Against Intolerance, to ensure the safety and well being of all members of the campus community,” wrote the groups.
  • 3/16/17 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative delivered a petition signed by 3,097 UC stakeholders and community members addressed to the UC chancellors stating, “We believe the landmark Regents Statement of Principles Against Intolerance couldn’t be more relevant, timely and important for all UC students. Implementing these Principles would ensure that policies and procedures are put in place to safeguard all students’ rights to freedom of expression, and that educational programs are developed to help students identify and avoid intolerant behavior. We applaud UC Irvine Chancellor Gillman for recognizing the value of the Regents’ statement and being the first chancellor to commit his campus to a full implementation of it. We ask that you follow Chancellor Gillman’s lead and implement the Principles Against Intolerance as soon as possible on your respective campuses to ensure the safety and well-being of all students.”
  • 10.   Anti-Zionist faculty and student instructors, who use the classroom as a pulpit for political advocacy and activism in violation of UC policies and conventional academic ethics designed to curb exactly such abuse. 

    INCIDENT: An examination into the vetting process for the student-taught course “Palestine: A Settler-Colonial Analysis,” at UC-Berkeley, revealed that the Regents Policy on Course Content was either ignored or breached by the course’s sponsoring department, Ethnic Studies. When Dean Carla Hesse asked Ethnic Studies to re-review the syllabus in light of the Regents Policy, the department chair approved the course, denying that it had any particular political agenda or that it crossed the line from education to indoctrination. A course with an obviously one-sided anti-Israel reading list, exclusively anti-Israel guest speakers, and a clear intent to justify the elimination of the State of Israel is inconsistent with Regents Policy. In a similar case a year ago, an almost identical course at UC Riverside, “Palestine & Israel: Settler-Colonialism and Apartheid,” was proposed by a student instructor under the supervision of an openly anti-Zionist faculty advisor in the English Department. When confronted with similar concerns about an inadequate vetting process that did not ensure the course’s compliance with the Regents Policy on Course Content before its approval, UCR officials there, too, claimed after the fact that the unambiguously one-sided, proselytizing course was in compliance with all UC policies. It seems that faculty members responsible for overseeing course content, particularly at the departmental level, are failing to exercise due diligence in reviewing and approving courses either because they share the anti-Zionist political perspective of the proselytizing instructors and faculty and condone the promotion of that perspective in the classroom, or because they hope to avoid the controversy that rejecting the courses could initiate.

    • 11/1/16 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a coalition letter of 47 organizations addressed to UC President Napolitano stating, “In 2014, your office issued two statements reaffirming that faculty and student instructors are bound by the Regents Policy on Course Content. However, as evidenced by the recent examples at UC-Berkeley and UC-Riverside, it is clear that the Regents Policy is being disregarded on UC campuses. And, with the notable exception of Dean Carla Hesse at UC-Berkeley, it seems that UC administrators are not reminding faculty of the vital importance of safeguarding academic freedom from abuse and of the faculty’s obligation to be diligent in enforcing the Regents policy.

      Therefore, we urge you to take the following steps:

      1. Issue a statement that describes and re-asserts the Regents Policy on Course Content and the UC Policy on Academic Freedom (APM 010), and that clarifies that the “advance of personal interest” and “political indoctrination” constitutes serious misuse of the classroom.
      2. Charge each of the UC Chancellors with urging their respective academic senates to ensure that all courses are explicitly and carefully evaluated for their compliance with the standards of academic propriety as spelled out in the Regents Policy on Course Content.”

    9.  The University of California Must Do More to Protect Jewish Students — The UC System Must Adopt a Formal Definition of Antisemitism, based on U.S. State Department’s Definition 

    INCIDENT: The UC System does not have a formal definition of antisemitism that addresses current manifestations of antisemitism.

    • 3/19/15 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a coalition letter of 23 organizations addressed to UC President Napolitano stating, “We believe that the UCLA and UC Berkeley student senates’ unanimous acknowledgement and condemnation of antisemitism on UC campuses should be taken extremely seriously by your office, and we ask you to take the following steps to address the problem:
      1. Formally adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of antisemitism in order to identify all forms of antisemitic expression on UC campuses.
      2. Charge UC chancellors with training campus administrators and staff involved in discrimination prevention, student affairs, and equity, diversity and inclusion, to identify antisemitic behavior, and direct them to develop clear protocols for addressing campus antisemitism with the same promptness and vigor as they do other forms of racial, ethnic, and gender bigotry and discrimination.
      3. Charge UC chancellors with developing initiatives for educating the campus community about antisemitism and anti-Jewish discrimination.”
    • 5/20/15 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated petitions, signed by 58 California Rabbis, 104 UC Faculty Members and 521 UC Alumni. The petitions asked the UC System to formally adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of antisemitism. AMCHA presented the petitions at the UC Regents meeting May 20, 2015 in San Francisco.
    • 6/17/15 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a coalition letter of 32 organizations addressed to UC President Napolitano reiterating support for UC adoption of the State Department definition of antisemitism.
    • 8/24/15 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a coalition letter of 43 organizations addressed to UC President Napolitano, which joined Hillel International and the Anti-Defamation league in commending UC President Napolitano for her stance on the State Department definition of antisemitism and encouraging the Regents to adopt the definition.
    • 8/31/15 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a letter from leading antisemitism scholars in support for UC adoption of the State department definition of antisemitism.
    • 9/1/15 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a faculty letter of 128 faculty members who joined in support of UC’s adoption of the State Department definition of antisemitism.
    • 9/2/15 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a letter signed by 214 attorneys who made clear their support for UC’s adoption of the State department definition of antisemitism. The letter emphasizes that adopting the definition does not violate the first amendment, as some critics have claimed.
    • 9/8/15 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a petition signed by nearly 3,000 UC stakeholders reiterating support for UC’s adoption of the State department definition of antisemitism.
    • 9/10/15 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a coalition letter signed by 39 groups expressing “extreme disappointment and outrage over the proposed Statement of Principles Against Intolerance that you will be considering at your upcoming meeting…Unfortunately the proposed statement of principles, which the Jewish community was led to believe would address their serious and well-founded concerns, is so watered-down and overly broad as to be meaningless. It does not even mention antisemitism, and it will do nothing to mitigate the antisemitic bigotry that Jewish students are currently facing at the University of California… In the absence of a meaningful statement of principles, we urge you to take substantive steps to address the difficult situation facing Jewish students on UC campuses.  Specifically, we reiterate our call for the adoption of the State Department definition of antisemitism, or at a minimum, the inclusion within UC policy of the well-documented understanding that demonization and delegitimization of Israel and denying its right to exist is part of modern antisemitism.”
    • 2/16/16 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a coalition letter signed by 39 groups that stated,“In 2015, anti-Zionist activity – particularly BDS – was linked to more than 20 recorded incidents of Jewish students on UC campuses being threatened or targeted for harmful or hateful actions… there is a crucial distinction between criticism of Israel’s policies (which should be part of a healthy discussion and debate on any university campus), and anti-Zionism (denying Israel’s right to exist or calling for Israel’s destruction), which is blatant anti-Semitism. A statement merely condemning anti-Semitism without recognizing that anti-Zionism is a form of contemporary anti-Semitism and a major source of anti-Semitic behavior will do nothing to improve the campus climate for Jewish students, and will undoubtedly even contribute to the problem.”
    • 3/8/16 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a petition signed by 130 UC Faculty members expressing that, “As firsthand witnesses to the growth of this scourge, we can tell you unequivocally that the rise in anti-Semitism largely stems from a lack of understanding of when healthy debate about Israel and Middle East ends, and anti-Semitism begins…For the revised Statement of Principles to make a meaningful difference for Jewish students, it must include language acknowledging that contemporary anti-Semitism is all too often expressed as anti-Zionism. We all want what’s best for UC – a safe and welcoming community for students of all different races, religions, countries and sexual preferences. We all want to return our campus to one that respects and values diversity.”
    • 3/10/16 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative helped to coordinate a petition signed by over 600 UC Alumni saying “We can all agree that the anti-Semitism plaguing Jewish students at UC must stop. UC must once again become a place where Jewish students feel safe. However, to accomplish this, we must acknowledge that anti-Zionism is in fact modern anti-Semitism…Those who are largely responsible for the anti-Semitism on campus will try to hide behind the First Amendment, claiming we are attempting to curtail free speech. This could not be further from the truth. Scholarly debate is critical…However, too many in the campus community don’t understand that there is a distinction between criticism of Israel’s policies and anti-Zionism…A Statement merely condemning anti-Semitism without recognizing that anti-Zionism is modern anti-Semitism and breeds classic anti-Semitism on campus will do nothing to improve the climate for Jewish students who are currently under siege.”
    • 3/23/16 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative orchestrated and delivered a petition of over 4,000 UC Stakeholders as well as compiled a list of 60 organizations who endorsed adoption of the full report and Statement Against Intolerance. AMCHA co-founders spoke at the UC Regents meeting.  
      • SUCCESS! The University of California Board of Regents passed a resolution condemning “anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination” and stating “they have no place at the University of California.” This was the first time a University ever condemned anti-semitic forms of anti-Zionism. 

    8.  An Antisemitic Course is Offered at UCR, which Violates a UC Policy Prohibiting Political Indoctrination in the Classroom

    INCIDENT: An antisemitic course is being offered at UCR, which violates a UC policy prohibiting political indoctrination in the classroom.  The course title, according to the syllabus, is “Palestine & Israel: Settler-Colonialism and Apartheid.” On the UCR website it is titled, “Palestinian Voices” – a clear attempt to obfuscate the extreme anti-Israel bias of the course by re-titling it for the R’Course web page. The course is being taught by a leader of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

    • 4/16/15 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a coalition letter of 20 groups to Chancellor Wilcox asking him to investigate if the course violates course policy and if so, to eliminate it. The letter stated, “The course schedule is filled with egregiously one-sided, anti-Israel readings and films that falsely paint Israel as a settler-colonial and apartheid state, hold Israel to a double standard to which no other democratic country is held, vilify and demonize Israel and Israel’s supporters, and argue for an end to the Jewish state; these tropes are all considered anti-Semitic according to the U.S. State Department’s definition of antisemitism.” The groups highlighted that the course syllabus strongly suggests the instructor will be engaged in political indoctrination, in clear violation of University policy. The groups included: Accuracy in Academia, AMCHA Initiative, Americans for Peace and Tolerance, California Association of Scholars, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), CUFI on Campus, David Horowitz Freedom Center, Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), Hasbara Fellowships, Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, National Conference on Jewish Affairs, Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs, Students and Parents Against Campus Anti-Semitism, The Lawfare Project, Training and Education About the Middle East (T.E.A.M.), Verity Educate, Zionist Organization of America.
    • 5/7/15 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: Chancellor Wilcox does not acknowledge receipt of the 20 organization’s letter. Additionally, when hundreds of AMCHA members and supporters wrote to the Chancellor expressing their outrage, he sent the same email to each correspondent, which read in part: “The syllabus for the course was reviewed by a faculty committee which determined that the course meets University of California standards.” Clearly, neither Chancellor Wilcox nor the faculty committee which reviewed the course referred to the Regents Policy on Course Content in evaluating the course’s worthiness to be offered for credit at UCR.  In response to UC Riverside administration’s failure to properly address the blatant one-sided nature of the course, as well as an independent evaluation of the course released by the non-partisan group Verity Educate which confirmed the politically driven propaganda of the course, AMCHA organized a coalition letter of 27 groups to UC President Napolitano and Provost Dorr. The letter asked President Napolitano and Provost Dorr to, “Issue a clear statement about whether the UCR course “Palestine & Israel: Settler-Colonialism and Apartheid” violates the Regents Policy on Course Content, and what must be done if it is found to be in violation of University policy; Issue clear guidelines to all UC Chancellors and academic senate leaders about how to enforce the Regents Policy on Course Content.”

     

    7.  Rash of Antisemitic Incidents at the University of California are Consequences in Part of the BDS Movement.

    INCIDENT: Recent antisemitic incidents at the University of California including swastikas drawn on a Jewish fraternity house at UC Davis and the inappropriate questioning of a candidate for student judiciary board about her Jewishness and Jewish affiliations at UCLA, among others, are all consequences in part of the BDS movement.

    • 3/19/15 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: In response to the upsurge in antisemitic incidents across the UC system, AMCHA Initiative coordinated a coalition letter to UC President Napolitano which included twenty two other groups, asking the UC system to:
      1. “Formally adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of antisemitism in order to identify all forms of antisemitic expression on UC campuses.
      2. Charge UC chancellors with training campus administrators and staff involved in discrimination prevention, student affairs, and equity, diversity and inclusion, to identify antisemitic behavior, and direct them to develop clear protocols for addressing campus antisemitism with the same promptness and vigor as they do other forms of racial, ethnic, and gender bigotry and discrimination.
      3. Charge UC chancellors with developing initiatives for educating the campus community about antisemitism and anti-Jewish discrimination.”

    6.  UAW 2865 Releases Statement of Intent to Support Antisemitic BDS Movement and Bring Propaganda to Classroom

    INCIDENT: The 83-member joint council of UAW 2865 – representing all of the TA’s, tutors and readers at the 9 teaching campuses of the University of California –issued a statement outlining the union’s intent to support the anti-Israel and antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and to seek a full-membership vote on the statement this coming year. The nine teaching campuses include UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, and UC San Diego. In the statement, the union exclaimed the need to “educate” others on the “settler-colonial” and “apartheid” nature of the Jewish state.

    • 8/12/14 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a coalition letter to UC President Napolitano which included eleven other groups – Americans for Peace and Tolerance, Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, Hasbara Fellowships, Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs, The Lawfare Project and Zionist Organization of America. The letter asked President Napolitano to ensure antisemitic propaganda and BDS are not brought into UC classrooms by the Union of Student Workers.
    • thumbs-up 9/8/14 – UC SYSTEM, PROVOST DORR: Provost Dorr responds to the coalition with a letter, confirming that the “University’s position as to the conduct of ASE’s in the classroom is rooted in its academic policies, including the UC Regents Policy on Course Conduct, referenced in your letter.” The letter further states, “We will ask the campuses to remind all the ASE’s about these policies and their obligation to adhere to them.”
    • thumbs-up 9/8/14 – UC SYSTEM, PROVOST DORR: Provost Dorr sends a letter to all 9 Chancellors, which states, “Attached is a letter from Tammi Benjamin, AMCHA Initiative, raising concerns about academic student employees (ASE) supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in classrooms. In the last several weeks, we have received over a hundred emails similar to Ms. Benjamin’s. You may have received such inquiries as well. Since we have had queries from your campuses about this issue, I am writing to clarify that the University’s position as to the conduct of ASEs in the classroom is rooted in its academic policies, including the following…” The letter further listed the Policy on Course Content, Management and Academic Rights, Academic Freedom, and the Faculty Code of Conduct.
    • 10/7/14 – AMCHA & COALITION THANK YOU LETTER RESPONSE: AMCHA and coalition respond to Provost Dorr’s positive actions with a letter expression gratitude, including stating, “We were very concerned that this would happen with UC teaching assistants, and are therefore grateful that you confirmed: “The University’s position as to the conduct of ASE’s in the classroom is rooted in its academic policies, including the UC Regents Policy on Course Content”. In addition, we greatly appreciate that you sent a letter notifying every UC Chancellor of the need to inform ASE’s that they are obligated to adhere to several university policies which prohibit them from using their instructional positions to promote political propaganda or advocacy, including the promotion of a boycott of Israel. These policies were established for a reason, and we appreciate your reminding the Chancellors to uphold them.”
    • 12/8/14 – AMCHA & 21 ORGANIZATIONS PROACTIVELY WRITE UC PRESIDENT NAPOLITANO AND UC PROVOST DORR: Following the UAW 2865 Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) vote on December 4 2014, 22 education, civil rights and Jewish advocacy groups wrote to inquire of UC President Napolitano and UC Provost Dorr whether University of California (UC) policies that prohibit UAW 2865 graduate student instructors from promoting BDS and anti-Israel, and often anti-Semitic, propaganda in the classroom also apply to UC faculty.
    • 12/11/14 – ASSEMBLYMEMBER BLOOM WRITES TO UC PRESIDENT NAPOLITANO: Out of concern for Jewish and pro-Israel students, Assemblymember Bloom sent a letter to UC President Napolitano and the UC Regents which stated in part: “I greatly appreciate that Provost Dorr took the time to explicity remind all chancellors that the Regents Policy on Course Content prohibits UAW graduate student instructors from promoting BDS and anti-Israel propaganda in the classroom. Earlier this week, in a letter authored by Tammi Benjamin of AMCHA, 22 education, civil rights and Jewish advocacy organizations wrote to you asking if the Regents Policy on Course Content also applies to UC faculty. I join in asking that question. The classroom must be a place where all views are welcomed and all students feel they can have a voice. The classroom should not be a soapbox for a professor’s political advocacy.”
    • 12/18/14 – AMCHA & COALITION OF 21 ORGANIZATIONS WRITE 9 UC CHANCELLORS: Following the passage of the adoption of BDS by UAW 2865, AMCHA Initiative and 21 other education, civil rights and advocacy groups sent a letter to nine University of California (UC) Chancellors urging them to publicly state their commitment to upholding UC policies which prohibit academic student employees (ASEs) from using their instructional positions to promote a boycott of Israel. The letter concludes by stating, “We therefore call on each of you to issue a public statement affirming your commitment to strictly enforcing the Regents Policy on Course Content and to ensuring that Jewish and pro-Israel students have access to a safe and non-discriminatory learning environment.”
    • thumbs-up 12/19/14 – UC SYSTEM, PROVOST DORR: In response to a letter sent from the AMCHA-led coalition of 22 groups on December 8, 2014 asking if the UC policies that prohibit UAW 2865 graduate student instructors from promoting BDS in the classroom also apply to UC faculty, Provost Dorr responded by stating, “I understand from your letter that you are concerned that UC faculty may promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in the classroom and that you are seeking clarification as to whether the Regents Policy on Course Content applies to UC faculty members.  In response to your question, the Regents Policy on Course Content does apply to UC faculty members.”
    • 12/22/14 – AMCHA & COALITION OF 21 ORGANIZATIONS THANK PROVOST DORR: The AMCHA-led coalition thanked University of California (UC) Provost Aimee Dorr and UC administrators for protecting the well-bring of Jewish students, stating “Thank you very much for your response to our letter …We are…extremely grateful for your acknowledgement that the Regents Policy on Course Content, which prohibits the misuse of the classroom for the advance of partisan interests and political indoctrination, applies equally to graduate student instructors and faculty. We also appreciate that you copied all of the UC Chancellors on your response, and we hope that in light of your very clear statement, administrators on each campus will strictly enforce the Regents Policy on Course Content in the case of both graduate student instructors and faculty, thereby ensuring that all students — including Jewish and pro-Israel students — have access to a quality learning environment that is safe and non-discriminatory.” (See the full letter here.)

    5. Three UC Campuses Sponsor Boycott Event, Violate State Law and University Policy

    INCIDENT: Three University of California campuses appear to have violated university policy and state law when they used taxpayer dollars to sponsor events featuring Omar Barghouti, the founder and most vocal advocate of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, on three UC campuses – UC Riverside, UCLA, and UC Davis. AMCHA Initiative believes these events violate UC policy and state law prohibiting the university’s name and resources from being used for personal or political purposes, including the promotion of a boycott. UC Faculty and departments were instrumental in bringing, sponsoring and funding Barghouti to speak on their campuses.

    • At UC RIVERSIDE: The UC Riverside College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS) and Ethnic Studies Department co-sponsored a talk by Omar Barghouti entitled “Palestine’s South Africa moment: relative justice, not relative humans.” Despite Barghouti being neither a university professor nor an academic, his status as founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has garnered him support from many on UCR’s faculty who also support the academic boycott of Israel, and the departments even offered official course credit to students for attending this boycott event.
    • At UC DAVIS: Four UCD academic units — ME/SA, Asian American Studies, Native American Studies, and Asian American Cultural Politics Research Cluster – co-sponsored an event with Students for Justice in Palestine featuring Omar Barghouti entitled “Revisiting the Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” Despite Barghouti being neither a university professor nor an academic, his status as founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has garnered him support from many on UCD’s faculty who also support the academic boycott of Israel.
      •  1/22/14 – UC SYSTEM WIDE – AMCHA’S RESPONSEAMCHA Initiative went before the UC Regents to speak about this issue.
      • 2/1/2014 – UC SYSTEM WIDE – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: After numerous requests to administrators were ignored, AMCHA orchestrated a petition to reach out to legislators for help.
      • 4/23/14 – UC SYSTEM WIDE – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: More than 1,000 California residents signed the petition asking legislators to help stop University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) faculty from using taxpayer dollars for antisemitism. AMCHA delivered the signed petition along with a letter to the legislators.

    4. AMCHA Co-Founder Under Attack by Pro-Palestinian Group

    INCIDENT: AMCHA Initiative Co-founder Tammi Rossman-Benjamin was the target of a vicious attack from a pro-Palestinian student group, the UCSC Committee for Justice in Palestine (CJP) and members of affiliated Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) groups throughout UC campuses.

    • 5/8/13 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA writes a letter to UC President Yudof documenting the antisemitic behavior of Students for Justice in Palestine and other groups on UC campuses and calling on UC leaders to take immediate action.

    3. UC President Yudof Rejects State Assembly Resolution Condemning Campus Antisemitism

    INCIDENT: The University of California rejected the unanimously passed California State Assembly bill, HR 35, which condemns antisemitism in California’s universities.

    • 9/4/12 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: In response to reports that the UC leadership had rejected Resolution HR 35, the California State Assembly’s unanimously-approved resolution condemning antisemitism in California’s colleges and universities, the AMCHA Initiative sent President Yudof a letter asking for clarification of the University’s position.
    • thumbs-down9/5/12 – PRESIDENT YUDOF’S RESPONSE: President Yudof responded to the AMCHA Initiative letter asking for clarification of the UC’s position on HR 35.  He reaffirmed that the University will not support the resolution as it is currently written due to 1st Amendment and academic freedom considerations.  He objected to two of the resolution’s recommendations and restated the suggested amendments that he sent to Assembly Member Halderman on August 13, 2012.
    • 9/13/12 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: The AMCHA Initiative responded to President Yudof’s clarification letter.  They detailed why his rejection of two of the resolution’s recommendations is deeply concerning.  They also pointed out the double standard that seems to exist, as there have been incidents of racist bigotry in which university officials, including President Yudof, without any concern for the 1st amendment, acted in complete accord with the recommendations that they are now disputing.
    • 10/17/12 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative sent a letter to California State Assembly Members about HR 35 and California Scholars for Academic Freedom informing them about the California Scholars for Academic Freedom (CS4AF), a group which had previously written a letter to state legislators condemning HR35 and demanding it be rescinded.  AMCHA exposed the anti-Jewish bigotry of CS4AF and demonstrated that while CS4AF claims to protect California scholars from violations of academic freedom, their real goal is to protect academics who promote academic boycotts of Israel.

    2. Anti-Israel Organizations Urge UC President to Reject Jewish Student Campus Climate Report

    INCIDENT: On July 9, 2012, The UC Advisory Council on Campus Climate released a report which found that “Jewish students are confronting significant and difficult climate issues as a result of activities on campus…which project hostility, engender a feeling of isolation, and undermine Jewish students’ sense of belonging and engagement with outside communities.”  Several anti-Israel student and community organizations orchestrated a campaign to discredit the report and have UC President Yudof table it.

    • 8/20/12 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA initiatiave voiced support for the findings of the report and also alerted the UC Advisory Council of the true political intentions of those anti-Israel organizations, such as Jewish Voice for Peace, that were working to have the report tabled.
    • 8/23/12 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: The AMCHA Initiative sent a follow-up to their August 20, 2012 letter to the UC Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture, & Inclusion that included additional information regarding Jewish Voice for Peace’s endorsement of campaigns to harm the Jewish state and their political motives for trying to discredit the Advisory Council’s Jewish Student Campus Climate report.
    • 9/7/12 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: The AMCHA Initiative sent a letter to the Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture, & Inclusion to bring to their attention two op-ed pieces that they felt represent how grateful the majority of the Jewish community is to the Council for commissioning the Jewish student campus climate report and for its findings.

    1. AMCHA Initiative Petition to UC President Yudof Urging Him to Address the Problem of Anti-Jewish Bigotry on UC Campuses

    INCIDENT: For years Jewish students had endured antisemitic harassment and intimidation on UC campuses.  The University repeatedly failed to take action to stop this antisemitism.

    • 9/19/11 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative collected the signatures of over 5,000 members and supporters of the California Jewish community who were deeply concerned about antisemitism at the University of California, and sent a letter on their behalf to UC President Yudof, expressing their distress over the situation and their frustration that no action had been taken by the University administration to address the problem.
    • thumbs-down10/12/11 – PRESIDENT YUDOF’S RESPONSE: President Yudof responded to AMCHA Initiative’s letter.  Unfortunately, his response did not at all address the key concerns of the Jewish community.
    • 10/31/11 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: The AMCHA Initiative co-founders responded to President Yudof’s letter, detailing why his response was wholly inadequate and offering recommendations for addressing the serious and worsening problem of antisemitism on UC campuses.
    • 12/16/11 – AMCHA’s RESPONSE: On November 4th, President Yudof addressed the Anti-Defamation League on antisemitism and hatred on campus. However, his speech was not only dismissive of the AMCHA Initiative’s serious concerns, it contained several misleading and misinformed statements about his efforts to protect Jewish students at the University of California. On December 16th, AMCHA co-founders sent him a reply to address these problems.