CSU Northridge Professor David Klein’s Website Promoting the Boycott of Israel
Incident: CSU Northridge Prof. David Klein has inappropriately used university resources on several occasions, including posting anti-Semitic pictures and text on a webpage hosted by CSUN and by using CSUN email for political campaign activity.
AMCHA’s Response: We began by alerting, then President of CSUN, Joelene Koester, of the anti-Semitic postings and asked her to investigate them and take action. We also alerted our supporters, whose response was overwhelming. Many of our supporters sent letters to CSUN, demanding the removal of Klein’s anti-Semitic webpage. Unfortunately, President Koester did not remove the page, so we sent letters to CSU Chancellor Reed, as well as the Attorney General of California. Neither took action. In the meant time Klein misused his CSUN email for political campaign activity. We alerted new CSUN President Dianne Harrison, who responded to our concerns and informed us that the matter had been investigated and appropriate action had been taken. While the university may have appropriately taken the issue of Prof. Klein’s misuse of university resources for political campaigning seriously, they have still failed to remove his anti-Semitic website. AMCHA has now taken the issue to the CSU Board of Trustees.
AMCHA writes to CA State Attorney General Harris, presenting new evidence in support of the claim that Klein’s page is in violation of California Education Code and California Government Code, and that he misappropriates CSU’s name and resources.
In a statement of opposition in response to the ASA’s academic boycott of Israel, CSUN President Harrison affirmed that “academic boycotts violate the basic tenets of higher education, including academic freedom.” The AMCHA Initiative follows up with another email to her requesting that Klein’s boycott Israel page be taken down, especially in light of these comments.
AMCHA responds to Jones, citing clearly the presence of CSUN’s name in his boycott Israel page and email address, in an attempt to show that the Education Code is violated by him displaying the CSUN name publicly and in connection with support, endorsement, or advancement of boycott activity.
General Counsel Jones states that Klein has not violated the Education Code because he has not used or invoked the CSU name in support or endorsement of his viewpoint, despite the fact that CSU hosts it on its server, and despite the presence of CSU’s name in the URL of his page.
The AMCHA Initiative continues seeking an explanation of why the university does not consider Klein’s boycott Israel page to be in violation of the Education Code, and presses Harrison in the presence of her dismissive response.
In a letter defending the position and findings of the university’s inquiry into Klein’s page, President Harrison states that the Education Code 89005.5, nor any part of it, is being violated. Harrison firmly states that the matter is closed and that the university will not engage in further communications on the issue.
The AMCHA Initiative revisits the pending removal of Klein’s webpage in light of the CSU Trustees confirmation of not having given Klein permission to post content promoting the boycott of Israel on the CSU server.
AMCHA Co-Founder Tammi Rossman Benjamin spoke at the CSU Board of Trustees meeting and asked them what they intended to do about Prof. Klein’s improper use of University resources to promote a boycott of Israel, a potential violation of the California Education Code.
Interim Legal Counsel Jones sent an email to AMCHA confirming that the CSU Trustees did not give permission for Prof. Klein to call for a boycott.
The AMCHA Initiative sent a second email to the Board of Trustees, expressing disappointment that Interim Counsel Jones ignored AMCHA’s question. They once again asked if the Trustees gave their permission for Prof. Klein to use the CSU name and resources to promote a boycott.
CSU Interim Legal Counsel Jones responded to the AMCHA Initiative, but failed to answer the question of whether or not the CSU Board of Trustees had given Prof. Klein permission.
The AMCHA Initiative sent a letter to the CSU Board of Trustees asking them if they had given Prof. Klein permission to use the CSUN server and his email account to promote the boycott of Israel, as California Education Code 89005.5 requires permission.
President Harrison informs AMCHA that the University has investigated the matter and taken appropriate action.
AMCHA Initiative sent a letter to CSUN President Harrison informing her of Prof. Klein’s inappropriate use of university email for political campaign activity.
AMCHA Initiative sent a letter to CSU General Counsel Helwick asking him whether Prof. Klein’s anti-Semitic website on the CSUN server is a violation of Cal. Gov. Code 8314 and CSU Policy.
AMCHA Initiative sent an additional letter to Attorney General Harris and Deputy Attorney General Haytayan, highlighting a concerning article in the Electronic Intifada.
AMCHA Initiative sent a letter to Attorney General Harris and Deputy Attorney General Haytayan appealing to them to review new material regarding Prof. Klein’s virulent website.
The California Attorney General reviewed the allegation that Klein misused the name and resources of CSU, and claimed that there was insufficient evidence to support the allegation.
AMCHA Initiative sent a letter to CSU Chancellor Reed regarding Klein’s site, and others’ slanderous remarks about the AMCHA Initiative, citing the specific violation in the California Education Code.
In February, the AMCHA Initiative sent a letter signed by over 1,800 members and supporters of the California Jewish community to Chancellor Reed, urging him to remove several anti-Semitic websites from CSU servers. Two months later, Chancellor Reed has neither taken action nor acknowledged the concerns and demands of the Jewish community expressed in that letter. On April 16th, AMCHA co-founders responded to this rebuff, asking Chancellor Reed a simple question: Do the CSU rules of academic freedom protect faculty and administrators who use their university positions and state resources to engage in political activities that promote anti-Semitic actions, such as the boycott of Israel?
The AMCHA Initiative sent a letter signed by over 1,800 members and supporters of the California Jewish community to Chancellor Reed, urging him to exercise his authority to ensure that the web pages are removed.
AMCHA co-founder Tammi Rossman-Benjamin responds to President Koester’s apology. In her response, Tammi reiterates CSUN’s obligation to remove defamatory and offensive content from its websites.
After President Koester received numerous emails from AMCHA Initiative supporters regarding her message to Tammi containing the words “too bad,” President Koester sent out the “message of apology” linked to below.
President Koester responds to AMCHA co-founder, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, in a dismissive email that simply says: “Too bad.”
Two days later, AMCHA co-founders sent President Koester a response. It thanked President Koester for her attention but criticized her for not removing Professor Klein’s anti-Semitic webpages.
President Koester sent AMCHA co-founders a response to our initial concerned email. While graciously acknowledging our concerns, she failed to address them, instead excusing the hateful content Professor Klein’s inappropriately promotes on a CSUN website.
AMCHA co-founders sent a letter to President Joelene Koester, apprising her of Professor Klein’s anti-Semitic webpages and urging her to have them removed from the CSUN server.