COMMUNITY VOICES: A Letter Every Mother and Father Should Read

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*Note: This letter to UC President Napolitano has been reprinted with permission from the author, who would like readers to walk away with this message, “I would like this letter be read as an inspiration to write from the heart, from our hopes, fears, forebodings. Each person brings to this his and her own history, values, viewpoints…. Each person needs to be heard as a person…., not just as a member of a group that is engulfed by an intense campaign of vilification. I found this to be a good opportunity to say what to me, as a Jew,  was of great concern.”

**Note: This letter has been edited to remove personal identifier information and shortened slightly.

 

August 13, 2014

 

President Napolitano,

As a mother of an incoming senior at UCLA I am writing to strongly urge you to reaffirm the UC Regents Policy on Course Content as well as provide public assurances that UAW 2865 members will not be allowed to promote hateful anti-Semitic propaganda or the boycott of Israel as part of their contractual teaching responsibilities at the University of California.

As a Jew I have good reasons to be concerned about my son’s physical and emotional safety and well-being as he is attending classes on the UCLA campus. Not quite two weeks ago I attended a Stand with Israel rally in San Francisco. Yes, that one that you probably did not hear about, as almost nobody did. Although attended by over two thousand people it was almost completely ignored by all regional media. Yet another way to silence whose of us who do not share the prevailing biased anti-Israeli and hate-mongering propaganda of most media outlets

I brought him a T-shirt with “Stand for peace, stand for Israel “ on the front. His response: “I will probably get stabbed if I wear this on campus”. That is what Jewish students face now if they dare to express their positions, concerns, perspectives.

You should know that Jewish students indeed are afraid. I first became aware of it when working at the UC Berkeley health services many years ago. Many students of Jewish or Israeli background told me that they kept their Jewishness a secret from all but closest friends, that this was a major source of stress for them, that it prevented them from being fully engaged in their classes, impaired their academic achievement, and deprived them of joyful learning and discovery that university life should be about. And that was TWENTY YEARS AGO, when the campus atmosphere was quaint compared to today.

Have you ever lived in fear? Probably not, and I envy you that. Because I have. Born in Poland of Holocaust survivor parents I knew fear, and mostly fear, for the first 22 years of my life. Afraid to go out of the house, to walk the street to school, to play with other children. No, it was not an imaginary threat that I was afraid of. I was chased and assaulted, spat upon, called names, had my clothes torn and stones thrown at me on a daily basis. I know how humiliating it is to live in fear, how it deprived me of the dignity of being human, how it left an indelible chokehold on my life.

Now I am afraid that my children’s lives, ambitions, accomplishments will be similarly stifled. What is a hundred years old  regional conflict between two peoples thousands of miles away, and who sooner or later will have to learn to live together, was imported…to streets and campuses of Europe and USA. Only one narrative…can be voiced, all others are shouted down. Only one history is taught. Anti-Israeli lies and propaganda are accepted as truth and cannot be questioned. University faculty use their official university websites for political purposes. Now teaching assistants have taken it upon themselves to indoctrinate students in their biased political beliefs regardless of what subject there are teaching.

It is time to stop this madness and it is your responsibility to do so! All students deserve the right to dignity, respect for their views and values and freedom to express them. All students deserve to be nurtured and assured of personal safety.  There is no room for political propaganda on university campuses, on university supported websites and at university sponsored activities. There is no room for universities to sponsor BDS activities which should be recognized for what they really are: at attempt to institute global Nazi Nuremberg laws against an entire country and an entire people.

The past couple of weeks have seen a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic propaganda, threats and violence from Australia to Great Britain whereby all Jews everywhere are held as collectively guilty. We must not allow this cancer to overtake our country. The UC campuses have already been dramatically affected. Only strong and determined action can stop it from getting out of control. There is no time for complacency. You must act now!

-A concerned mother