MIDDLE EAST STUDIES:
AMCHA Initiative’s “Antisemitic Activity and Anti-Israel Bias at the Center for Near East Studies, UCLA 2010-2013” Report
The Antisemitic Activity and Anti-Israel Bias at the Center for Near East Studies, University of California at Los Angeles 2010 – 2013 Report tracked 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 concluded 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. Title VI of HEA 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.”
The report was cited in a joint statement by ten organizations to the leaders of the Congressional House Education and Workforce Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee as primary evidence that the Higher Education Act (HEA) is not working and needs to be rewritten. Congresswoman Nina Lowey, the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, as well as Congressman Steve Israel and Senators Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin, also sent letters of concern to the Secretary of Education at the Department of Education in response.
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.
- 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.