AMCHA REMARKS TO UC BOARD OF REGENTS MEETING MAY 15, 2014

  • Hello, I am a UC faculty member and the cofounder of the AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to investigating and combating anti-Semitism at institutions of higher education. AMCHA Initiative is comprised of thousands of UC alumni, parents and grandparents and CA rabbis, religious school principals and synagogue members who have joined together to speak in one voice to ensure the safety and well-being of our Jewish students on UC campuses.
  • I am here today representing seven CA and national organizations, the Institute for Black Solidarity With Israel, the Lawfare Project, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs, the Zionist Organization of America and my own group, AMCHA Initiative.
  • We are gravely concerned about the behavior of a registered student group at UCLA, Students for Justice in Palestine, also known as SJP.
  • In an attempt to target, harass and intimidate pro-Israel Jewish students at UCLA, SJP members recently launched a campaign calling for a Judicial Board investigation of student council members who have taken trips to Israel sponsored by Jewish organizations. SJP also demanded that candidates for student government positions sign a statement pledging that they will not go on any trip to Israel sponsored by three Jewish organizations.
  • SJP has targeted only Israel. And it has targeted three Jewish organizations that sponsor trips to Israel. Not a single church or mosque that pays for or sponsors Israel trips was singled out.
  •  This is an outrageous and impermissible violation of students’ right to free expression, their right to free association, and their fundamental right to travel and move freely. The SJP cannot be permitted to infringe on any student’s personal liberties and freedoms, or to bully students into not associating with certain Jewish groups that are dedicated to building love and support for Israel.
  • SJP’s motive is clear: to manipulate the composition of the student government so that it is filled with anti-Israel activists who support SJP’s hateful agenda. This is SJP’s latest effort to harass, intimidate and bully pro-Israel Jewish students. The group’s shenanigans plainly follow from SJP’s failed attempt to get the student government to endorse an anti-Israel divestment resolution last February.
  • Since the ASUC rejected SJP’s divestment resolution, members of SJP have engaged in what a UCLA student leader has described in the UCLA newspaper as “hate speech against the Jewish community” and a campaign of “cyberbullying toward both the Jewish community and council members that voted against the resolution.”
  • Students who opposed the anti-Israel divestment resolution reported feeling uncomfortable even walking on campus because of the hate mail they have received. This is outrageous. Students must feel safe on their campus.
  • SJP is the only university-funded student organization at UCLA whose very mission targets an ethnic minority for hatred and vilification and whose activities routinely harass, intimidate, threaten and seek to silence members of that ethnic minority on campus.
  • SJP’s actions clearly violate both the UCLA Principles of Community and Section 102.11 of UCLA’s Student Conduct Code.
  • However, a UCLA spokesperson said yesterday that the University was leaving the matter to be resolved by the students. That is flat out wrong.
  • It is the duty of UCLA’s leaders to stop SJP’s acts of wanton discrimination, harassment and bullying, and its deliberate interference with students’ rights and freedoms. SJP is violating UCLA’s Principles of Community and Student Code of Conduct.
  • Our seven groups have written a letter to you and Chancellor Block urging you to act swiftly to show the entire UC community that student freedom, safety and well-being is the #1 priority, and that SJP’s shameful misconduct will not be tolerated.
  • Thank you for your time.