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AMCHA’s Study of UCLA’s Center for Near East Studies Produces Shocking Statistics

93% of Israel-related events were anti-Israel; 75% of them contained antisemitic material
Report was cited as evidence that Federally-Funded Middle East Centers are failing to comply with Federal Law

 

OVERVIEW: AMCHA Initiative tracked antisemitic discourse and anti-Israel bias in the public events sponsored by UCLA’s Center for Near East Studies (CNES), 2010 – 2013. The results of this comprehensive report were cited in a joint statement by 10 organizations to the leaders of the House Education and Workforce Committee as primary evidence that Middle East centers funded under Title VI of the Higher Education Act have failed to comply with federal law.

As Congress begins to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), leading organizations focused on education policy, the Jewish community and civil rights cite an AMCHA Initiative study as primary evidence that the law is not working and needs to be rewritten.  AMCHA Initiative released its report yesterday at the University of California Board of Regents meeting.

The 10 organizations, which includes Accuracy in Academia, AMCHA Initiative, American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, Endowment for Middle East Truth, The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, Middle East Forum, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, and the Zionist Organization of America, sent the AMCHA Initiative study yesterday to the leaders of the House Education and Workforce Committee and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

“AMCHA Initiative issued a report chronicling the public outreach activities of UCLA’s Center for Near East Studies,” wrote the groups in their joint statement to Education Committee members. The statement cites the results of AMCHA’s report as significant evidence that “Middle East centers funded under Title VI have failed to comply with federal law, by using taxpayer dollars to present biased, anti-American, anti-Israel views in their outreach programs.”

The Antisemitic Activity and Anti-Israel Bias at the Center for Near East Studies, University of California at Los Angeles 2010 – 2013 Report tracks antisemitic discourse and anti-Israel bias in public events sponsored by UCLA’s Center for Near East Studies (CNES) over a three-year period, from 2010 – 2013.  It concludes that CNES events disproportionately focused on Israel and the Israeli-Arab conflict, with 93% of events on Israel being anti-Israel, and 75% displaying antisemitic discourse.

During that same period, CNES received $1.5 million from the Department of Education under Title VI of HEA, which provides grants to American universities to establish, strengthen and operate language and international studies centers.  Recipients of Title VI funding must demonstrate that activities reflect “diverse perspectives and a wide range of views.”

What the AMCHA Initiative report found was that Federal funds are being used by a top-tier public university to promote one-sided, antisemitic programming that masquerades as scholarship. In doing so, CNES is promoting a one-sided, anti-Israel and antisemitic bias to impressionable students. This distorts UCLA’s scholarly and educational mission and is a violation of the Higher Education Act.

Methods
AMCHA Initiative investigated all public events pertaining to Israel, utilizing a systematic definition of antisemitic activity that included 10 categories of antisemitic behavior or discourse, with 8 of the categories culled from the U.S. State Department’s definition of antisemitism.  The events were also examined for anti-Israel bias, defined as pervasive criticism of Israeli government policies, society and/or people.  In addition, AMCHA noted the total number of public events sponsored by CNES that pertained to all countries of the Middle East.  Biographical information was also prepared about every speaker and the three CNES Directors.

Findings

  • CNES Israel-related events had an overwhelmingly anti-Israel bias: Of the 28 Israel-related events, 93% were anti-Israel;
  • Most CNES Israel-related events contained antisemitic content: Of the 28 events, 75% contained antisemitic content;
  • CNES had disproportionate focus on Israel: Of all the public events pertaining to significant Middle East political conflicts, 61% focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict, significantly more than any other conflict. In addition, events were held about 14 Middle East countries.  Of those countries, 27% of the events were about Israel, four times more than any other country except Iran;
  • CNES favors speakers who engaged in antisemitic activity prior to speaking at CNES: Of the 31 speakers at the CNES Israel-related events, 84% have engaged in antisemitic activity, including the demonization and deligitimization of Israel, denying Jews the right to self-determination, comparing Israelis to Nazis and condoning terrorism;
  • Each CNES director had engaged in anti-Israel and antisemitic activity: All three CNES directors from 2010-2013 publicly opposed the UC Israel Abroad Program, despite touting the public abroad program as part of the center’s fulfillment of the Title VI funding requirement. In addition, each of the directors endorsed boycotts of Israel, and one is a founder of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel.
  • CNES supported by Saudi government: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests revealed CNES received a donation of $10,000 – $20,000 from the Saudi government-owned Arabian American Oil Company. The Saudi website also includes openly anti-Israel and antisemitic discourse.

The full report can be accessed here. An executive summary of the report with tables and charts can be found here.

Additionally, you may see recent coverage in the Washington Free Beacon, Algemeiner and Jewish Daily Forward.

Thank you for your support!

Warm regards,

AMCHA Initiative

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