COMMUNITY VOICES: UC ACADEMIC STUDENT WORKERS UNION (UAW 2865) VOTES FOR BDS; THE JEWISH COMMUNITY & SUPPORTERS RESPOND

 

Following on the UAW 2865 BDS vote, which additionally contained a personal pledge by 1,136 members to individually adhere to a discriminatory boycott of Israeli universities and scholars, an AMCHA-Led Coalition writes to UC Chancellors to Enforce the Regents Policy on Course Content that Prohibits BDS in Classrooms.

For more information on this campaign, please click HERE.

December 18, 2014

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  • I believe the AMCHA Initiative Letter speaks for me and my family:  “While we support the right of every member of UAW 2865 to exercise his or her freedom of speech outside of the instructional setting,” wrote the groups, “we are greatly concerned that these union members, who are responsible for instructing hundreds of thousands of undergraduate students, will bring their unscholarly, politically motivated and antisemitic propaganda and advocacy into UC classrooms, where it certainly does not belong.”
  • “As a parent of two high school daughters who plan to attend college, as a Jew, and as a person with a sense of history, I am very concerned for the safety and well-being of my daughters and other Jewish students at colleges and universities across the country in light of the rising tide of anti-Israel sentiment and the rapid growth of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement on many campuses.”
  • “This behavior is nothing more than out and out antisemitism. There is no place for personal opinion in a university classroom. I am very concerned that these instructors will bring their unscholarly, politically motivated and antisemitic propaganda and advocacy into UC classrooms, where it certainly does not belong!”
  • “As an academic.., I am aware of how easily personal bias can enter the classroom, particularly in the social sciences. When BDS enters the classroom, it appears as: B-elittling opposing opinions, D-emeaning the students who disagree, and S-tifling free discussion.  It quickly morphs into “Better Don’t Speak”…Your mission is to educate, not indoctrinate, as stated in your own “Regents Policy on Course Content.”
  • “I trust that you judge your students and colleagues by their actions, not merely their words. What actions have been taken to enforce this policy with regard to BDS?”
  • “BDS is hatred, plain and simple. It singles out one country and one people for isolation and persecution among all the nations.Classrooms, labs, and schools must be free of this hatred and pro Israel and Jewish students must have a non-discriminatory environment.”
  • “I remind you what happened in the 1930s in Germany when such policies did not exist and the intellectual centers of learning in that nation collapsed into moral oblivion that resulted in the Holocaust.  We cannot afford to shut our eyes to equally pernicious anti-Jewish propaganda in our own time and place.”
  • “I urge you to discourage anthropology and other professors from using of their positions to promote the anti-semitism of the BDS movement. Anthropology was my minor at Cal. I am appalled that anthropology, the discipline that opened my mind to the beauty of other cultures including the Arab and Persian cultures, now champions the destruction of a  people with roots in the middle east thousands of years old.”
  • “Following the recent vote of the UAW 2865 in favor of participating in the blatantly antisemitic BDS movement, I am deeply concerned that Jewish and other pro-Israel students are going to have an ever increasing hostile school environment. Even more troubling was that in addition to the union’s adoption of BDS, a pledge was taken by 1,136 graduate student instructors to personally adhere to a discriminatory boycott of Israeli universities and scholars.”
  • “As a Faculty member of the University of California, i urge you to issue a public statement affirming your commitment to strictly enforcing the Regents Policy on Course Content and to ensuring that Jewish and pro-Israel students have access to a safe and non-discriminatory learning environment. We must not allow an extreme, radical minority control the UC community”
  • “This type of despicable discrimination is not part of “academia”, but a vile form of hatred promoted by those embracing Holocaust, Hitlerian tactics designed to isolate and harm innocent Jewish students.”
  • “The vote by the UAW 2865 and pledge by a significant number of graduate instructors to endorse BDS with the goal of eliminating Israel strongly reverberates with Nazi Brown Shirt blind hatred. It was Hitler, as Chancellor, who kicked Jews out of academic, professional and commercial participation in Germany’s society.  To fail to condemn and contain such anti-democratic behavior is to pave the way for a repeat of Nazi Germany here in the United States.”
  • “Yes, BDS is anti-semitism. The goal of BDS is the ultimate elimination of Israel, a tiny country and the only Jewish nation.”
  • “By failing to support the rights of your Jewish and pro-Israel students to an unbiased learning environment where they could openly express their opinions without fear of reprisal, you would actively promote a hostile atmosphere where just being Jewish could be enough to incite hatred, corresponding discrimination and possibly worse. In other words, you would be supporting a one-sided and inflammatory academic experience very eerily similar to the one mandated by the Nazis in a country where the next step was famously mass-murder and where this sort of thing is not coincidentally illegal today.”
  • “No matter how you spin this, the final message is anti-Semitic and creates a hostile and unwelcome environment for Jews enrolled at UC. Individuals have the right to voice whatever perspective they choose.  But doing this within the context of university employment is unacceptable.”
  • “This letter is simply seeking the protection and well-being of my Jewish student at a UC campus. In no way did I ever think a letter like this would need to be written relating to the UC campuses I know and love, let alone in these United States.I am a Californian with three degrees from prestigious University of California campuses, a long-standing UC employee, an instructor for UC courses, and a life-long donor to the UC system. However, this letter is being written to you as a parent of a UC student that wants to feel safe and secure being Jewish on campus. I have just learned that UAW Local 2865 voted in favor of promoting, supporting and disseminating anti-Israel and antisemitic propaganda. You hold the primary responsibility to intervene and ensure that my child is not subject to this hostile and hate-filled propaganda in your UC classrooms.Throughout my educational and professional life my work has fully supported the work of unions and the rights of its workers. UAW 2865 members certainly have the right to freedom of speech and expression outside the UC classrooms and external to the components of the instructional setting. It has been clearly demonstrated and communicated that the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is anti-semitic and has already led to the infliction of a hostile environment and an isolation for Jewish students on UC campuses. To think that TAs, tutors and other instructional aids would falsely allege that Israel is a “settler colonial” and “apartheid” state as part of their need to “educate” is unconscionable. This is pure political indoctrination and in no way represents any aspect of the education, let alone the quality, of the UC system that I have been a part of for over 30 years. On behalf of my entire family, my Jewish community, and especially my UC student, I implore you to take positive action in preventing this travesty. Your responsibilities include the appropriate enacting of the UC Regents Policy on Course Content and the protection and well-being of students regardless of race, creed, color or religion. My expectations of your fulfillment of these responsibilities include ensuring that UAW 2865 will not be allowed to promote hateful and antisemitic propaganda or the boycott of Israel as part of their contractual teaching responsibilities at UC campuses. This must include your issuance of a public statement affirming your commitment to strictly enforcing the UC Regents Policy on Course Content to ensure that Jewish and pro-Israel students have access to a safe and non-discriminatory learning and living environment. Thank you in advance for fulfilling your responsibilities and my expectations.”
  • “I am horrified by the abusive, bullying tactics by pro-BDS individuals and groups on the UC campuses against Jewish and non-Jewish students who support Israel and try to speak out against the BDS movement. The pro-BDS faction has created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation felt and experienced by those who oppose them.”
  • “The current anti-Semitic atmosphere in U.C. campuses is reprehensible. Make no mistake.  Anti-Israel and all BDS movements are all the other face of anti-Semitic movements, with a politically correct tone to it.  When those who vehemently support boycotting Israel for human rights violations, yet they have never spoken nor taken any action on all other atrocities that are currently being committed by China, Syria, Iran, and many Islamic nations around the world, you know that their issue is not with Israel, but the Jewish make-up of Israel.”
  • “I am deeply concerned that the political and anti-Semitic stance of the UAW vote and members will spill over into the classroom and promote anti-Semitic views to our UC students. The BDS movement has no place in UC classrooms.”
  • “I have a 16 year old who would love to attend college in California but he will take the campus climate regarding Israel into consideration when he applies to colleges.