22 Groups Write to Senator Stone Re: SCR 35 and U.S. State Department Definition of Antisemitism

 

To: Senator Stone


April 28, 2015

 

Dear Senator Stone,

 

We are 22 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of supporters and members who are deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of Jewish students at the University of California.

We are grateful for your role in authoring SCR-35. However, we are extremely troubled by the efforts of some groups to remove from the resolution any reference to the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, or worse, to replace it with the Merriam Webster dictionary definition.  We think that doing so would be disastrous, and would completely undermine and pervert the original intent of this very important resolution.

As you know, there has been an alarming rise in antisemitic incidents on UC campuses, which have included 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.  What these antisemitic incidents have in common is that they are an inevitable consequence of pervasive anti-Israel activity, particularly Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaigns, being promoted on UC campuses.  For example, the swastikas drawn on the Jewish fraternity house at UC Davis appeared less than two days after a contentious vote in the student senate on an anti –Israel divestment resolution sponsored by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).  Just after the vote, an SJP-affiliated student council member who had sponsored the divestment bill wrote on her Facebook page: “Israel will fall insha’Allah  #UCDDivest”.  And the four student senators who challenged the candidate for the judicial board based on her Jewishness and Jewish affiliations were authors, sponsors and supporters of the most recent anti-Israel divestment bill at UCLA.

Student leaders on UC campuses have themselves recognized the clear connection between virulent anti-Israel expression and these recent antisemitic incidents.  In response to the alarming increase in anti-Jewish bigotry, resolutions condemning anti-Semitism were unanimously approved at UC Berkeley, UCLA and UCSB.  Importantly, in identifying anti-Semitic activity, each resolution invokes the U.S. State Department’s definition, which recognizes certain kinds of anti-Israel expression that demonizes or delegitimizes Israel by denying it the right to exist, or that applies a double standard requiring of Israel behavior not expected of any other democratic nation, as anti-Semitism.  In addition, all three unanimously-approved resolutions resolve that their student governments will adopt the State Department’s definition of antisemitism.

Please ensure that the U.S. State Department’s definition is not removed from SCR-35.

 

Thank you,

 

AMCHA Initiative
American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists
Americans for Peace and Tolerance
BEAR: Bias Education, Advocacy & Resources
Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)
David Horowitz Freedom Center
Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
Hasbarah Fellowships
Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel
Israeli-American Council (IAC)
National Conference on Jewish Affairs
Middle East Political and Information Network (MEPIN)
Proclaiming Justice to the Nations   |
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
StandWithUs
Students and Parents Against Campus Anti-Semitism
The Israel Christian Nexus
The Israel Group
The Lawfare Project
Training and Education About the Middle East (T.E.A.M.)
Zionist Organization of America