KUDOS TO MICHAEL DOUGLAS & NATAN SHARANSKY FOR ADDRESSING ISRAEL AND ANTI-SEMITISM
Talks at Stanford Tonight and UC Santa Barbara Tomorrow
Contact: Nicole Rosen
Santa Cruz, CA, Feb. 2, 2016 – Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, AMCHA Initiative co-founder and director, issued the following statement commending Michael Douglas and Natan Sharansky for their talks on Jewish identity, Israel and anti-Semitism at Brown University last week and Stanford University and the University of California (UC) Santa Barbara this week:
“We applaud Michael Douglas and Natan Sharansky for speaking to students about Israel and modern anti-Semitism since, unfortunately, bigotry against Jewish students and anti-Israel hatred go hand in hand on today’s American campuses. For instance, acts of anti-Jewish harassment, discrimination and defamation are increased in schools where Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activity is high. And, shamefully, when it comes to anti-Semitism many of California’s schools take the gold for the worst records for 2015.
“We are in the midst of a frightening escalation of anti-Semitic incidents on California campuses, particularly at UC. Thus there is an urgency and importance of adopting an accurate definition to educate all students and staff about when criticism of Israel’s policies crosses the line into blatant anti-Semitism, a scourge no less menacing than racism, sexism or homophobia.”
Incidents of anti-Semitism at UC during the past two academic years:
2015 – 2016
- A Jewish member of the UC Santa Cruz student government was warned to “abstain” from voting on an anti-Israel divestment resolution because of his presumed “Jewish agenda.”
- A UCLA student and employee posted vile anti-Semitic comments on social media including, “Fucking Jews. GTFOH with all your Zionist bullshit. Crazy ass fucking troglodyte albino monsters of cultural destruction. Fucking Jews. GTFOH with your whiny bullshit. Give the Palestinians back their land, go back to Poland or whatever freezer-state you’re from, and realize that faith does not constitute race.”
- At UC Davis, in the days leading up to Students for Justice in Palestine’s (SJP) anti-Israel Day of Action event, swastikas and “Fuck Jews” were carved into two cars and tires were slashed on multiple other vehicles.
- The online promotion of an anti-Israel UC Berkeley SJP event stated, “No to University Coordination and Strategizing with the ADL, JCRC, AJC, StandWithUS, ZOA…” The targeting of Jewish organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the American Jewish Committee, demonstrates how anti-Israel student groups target all Jews, regardless of their feelings on Israel.
- A male member of SJP at UC San Diego recognized a fellow female Jewish student and followed and harassed her. The female student reported, “They followed me…calling my name…yelling that I was a ‘racist Zionist cow.’ I have never felt so unsafe in my life…I didn’t know anyone would…put me in danger…This problem is way more serious than I had imagined.”
2014 – 2015
- At UC Davis, swastikas were spray-painted on a Jewish fraternity days after fraternity brothers spoke against divesting from Israel.
- At UC Berkeley, “Zionists should be sent to the gas chamber” was scrawled on a bathroom wall in the wake of a student senate campaign to pressure the university to divest from American companies that do business with Israel.
- At UCLA, “Hitler did nothing wrong” was carved into school property after a contentious BDS campaign.
- At UC Davis, “grout out the Jews” was scrawled on the university’s Hillel House following a heated BDS debate.
- At UC Santa Barbara, stereotypical and demonizing statements of Jews were made during a divestment resolution vote. One student explained, “I am disgusted by the normalization of anti-Semitic language so casually thrown around at the [divestment] meeting. In those eight hours, I was told that Jews control the government, that all Jews are rich, that Zionism is racism, that the marginalization of Jewish students is justified because it prevents the marginalization of other minority groups.”
- At UC Santa Barbara, flyers blaming Israelis and all Jews for 9/11 were posted on campus.
- At UCLA, a Jewish student running for office was questioned about her eligibility by anti-Israel activists simply because of her religion.
- At UCLA, campus activists led a pledge drive to keep Jewish students known to support Israel from serving on the student government.
Anti-Semitic incidents at Stanford in 2015 include:
- Stanford’s SAE fraternity house was defaced with swastikas and painted with personal slurs and epithets.
- The president of the Stanford Israel Association told the Stanford Daily that there has been a “rise in hostility toward Jewish communities” on campus since the university student senate approved a divestment resolution.
- Stanford undergraduate Molly Horwitz, a candidate for the Student Senate, was questioned about her fitness for office simply because of her religion.
AMCHA has been leading a coalition of more than 40 groups that is calling on UC, the nation’s largest public school system, to adopt an accurate definition of anti-Semitism that can be used to identify and educate the campus community about contemporary Jew-hatred. Specifically, the groups have urged the inclusion of the U.S. State Department definition of anti-Semitism. The State Department definition acknowledges a distinction between criticism of Israel’s policies and calls for the destruction of Israel which are anti-Semitic and breed additional anti-Semitism. Pope Francis, President Obama, British Prime Minister Cameron and French Prime Minister Valls have all stated, as is concluded in the State Department definition, that denying Israel’s right to exist is anti-Semitism.
AMCHA Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to combating, monitoring and documenting anti-Semitism at institutions of higher education in America.