TREMENDOUS MOMENTUM & SUPPORT FOR ANTI-ZIONISM IN UC PRINCIPLES AGAINST INTOLERANCE
Dozens of Advocacy Orgs, Nearly 750 UC Faculty & Alumni, State & Federal Legislators Say Anti-Zionism Must Be In
Contact: Nicole Rosen
Santa Cruz, CA, March 17, 2016 – As a vote looms on how to address the alarming rash of anti-Semitism at the University of California (UC), AMCHA Initiative today released letters from dozens of Jewish and education advocacy groups, nearly 750 UC faculty and UC alumni and state and federal legislators calling for UC to recognize that anti-Zionism is the face of contemporary anti-Semitism and is fueling the rise of anti-Semitism on campus. The letters urge the Regents to include anti-Zionism in the Statement of Principles Against Intolerance.
The Regents are scheduled to vote next week on the Statement, released earlier this week, which condemns anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism and states that they “and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California.”
The following are excerpts from each letter or statement:
“In 2015, anti-Zionist activity – particularly BDS – was linked to more than 20 recorded incidents of Jewish students on UC campuses being threatened or targeted for harmful or hateful actions… there is a crucial distinction between criticism of Israel’s policies (which should be part of a healthy discussion and debate on any university campus), and anti-Zionism (denying Israel’s right to exist or calling for Israel’s destruction), which is blatant anti-Semitism. A statement merely condemning anti-Semitism without recognizing that anti-Zionism is a form of contemporary anti-Semitism and a major source of anti-Semitic behavior will do nothing to improve the campus climate for Jewish students, and will undoubtedly even contribute to the problem.”
“As firsthand witnesses to the growth of this scourge, we can tell you unequivocally that the rise in anti-Semitism largely stems from a lack of understanding of when healthy debate about Israel and Middle East ends, and anti-Semitism begins…For the revised Statement of Principles to make a meaningful difference for Jewish students, it must include language acknowledging that contemporary anti-Semitism is all too often expressed as anti-Zionism. We all want what’s best for UC – a safe and welcoming community for students of all different races, religions, countries and sexual preferences. We all want to return our campus to one that respects and values diversity.”
“We can all agree that the anti-Semitism plaguing Jewish students at UC must stop. UC must once again become a place where Jewish students feel safe. However, to accomplish this, we must acknowledge that anti-Zionism is in fact modern anti-Semitism…Those who are largely responsible for the anti-Semitism on campus will try to hide behind the First Amendment, claiming we are attempting to curtail free speech. This could not be further from the truth. Scholarly debate is critical…However, too many in the campus community don’t understand that there is a distinction between criticism of Israel’s policies and anti-Zionism…A Statement merely condemning anti-Semitism without recognizing that anti-Zionism is modern anti-Semitism and breeds classic anti-Semitism on campus will do nothing to improve the climate for Jewish students who are currently under siege.”
California Legislative Jewish Caucus
“Unfortunately, modern day anti-Semitism has moved beyond swastikas and what most recognize as traditional anti-Jewish discrimination. Anti-Zionism plays an enormous role in today’s anti-Semitism. The world’s preeminent scholars of anti-Semitism and global leaders including President Obama, Pope Francis, British Prime Minister Cameron, French Prime Minister Valls, former Secretary of State Clinton and many of the current presidential candidates, understand that anti-Zionism is at the heart of the rise in global anti-Semitism…We urge the Regents to recognize the role of anti-Zionism in the escalation of anti-Semitism at UC…On behalf of the millions of our constituents who care deeply abut this issue, we urge you to ensure the Statement of Principles Against Intolerance is meaningful by including anti-Zionism in your condemnation of anti-Semitism.”
U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman
“I am pleased to see that the final report explicitly condemns anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. This is a significant victory for Jewish students who have faced multiple, unsettling incidents involving anti-Semitic epithets, slurs, obscenities, and even physical violence. Since the ‘Principles Against Intolerance’ section fails to explicitly address the problem of anti-Zionism, it is critical that the report’s introduction – which condemns anti-Zionism – is adopted as part of the UC Regents’ policy…”
Criticism of Israel, Israeli policies, settlements, the living conditions of Palestinians or criticism similar to that leveled against any other country is not anti-Zionism. Anti-Zionism is denying Israel’s right to exist and/or calling for its destruction.
UC has experienced many incidents of anti-Jewish discrimination of late. Swastikas and “F*** Jews” were carved into two cars and tires were slashed on multiple vehicles, a female Jewish student at UC San Diego was followed and harassed by a male anti-Zionist student who yelled “racist Zionist cow” at her, swastikas were spray-painted on a Jewish fraternity after fraternity brothers spoke against divesting from Israel, “grout out the Jews” and “Hitler did nothing wrong” were carved into school property after contentious BDS campaigns, a Hillel event for the LGBT community was protested and disrupted by anti-Israel students and faculty, flyers blaming Israel AND all Jews for 9/11 were plastered on campus, and a Jewish student running for office was questioned about her eligibility by anti-Israel activists simply because of her religion. UC Jewish students report feeling afraid to tell fellow students they are Jewish, walk to the Hillel house for Sabbath dinner and wear a Jewish star necklace. Many report being bullied, harassed, intimidated and assaulted.
A study of anti-Semitism at more than 100 U.S. colleges and universities in 2015 ranked 5 UC campuses in the top 10% of schools with the most anti-Semitic activity. In fact, 4 of those UC campuses rose to the top 5 worst schools. The study also found a strong correlation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. In fact, the presence of anti-Zionist activities, anti-Zionist student groups and faculty who endorse an academic boycott of Israel were strong predictors of anti-Semitism.