The UC Regents have passed the resolution described below, declaring that “Anti-Semitism, Anti-Semitic forms of Anti-Zionism, and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California.”
In the face of a stunning rise in antisemitism on college campuses throughout California, often in the guise of criticism of Israel, the University of California Regents will vote Wednesday over whether anti-Zionism should be condemned as a form of discrimination.
The body will also consider adopting a report on intolerance to help protect Jewish students, who have increasingly become its target.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the report includes a “contextual statement” that indicates there is an absolute link between antisemitism and anti-Zionism. Often, anti-Israel activists will suggest there is no connection between the two; the fact of the matter is, they cannot be divorced from each other.
Zionism is an international movement, notably championed by Theodor Herzel, to establish and protect the homeland of the Jewish people, known today as the State of Israel. Part of the report reads:
Opposition to Zionism often is expressed in ways that are not simply statements of disagreement over politics and policy, but also assertions of prejudice and intolerance toward Jewish people and culture. Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California.
If the UC Regents approve this report, they would become the first governing board of any major American university system to condemn the rejection of Zionism.
The Times writes that Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a UC Santa Cruz lecturer and director of the AMCHA Initiative, “said statement supporters — who include major American Jewish organizations, former UC President Mark Yudof and more than 4,000 UC students, faculty, alumni, parents and donors — had no intention of suppressing free speech. Rather they aim to raise awareness of how anti-Israel activities have led to harassment and hostility toward Jewish students.”
Just a few of the incidents Rossman-Benjamin was referring to include the defacing of a Jewish fraternity at UC Davis with swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs; a Jewish student at UC Santa Cruz who was pushed to abstain from voting on an anti-Israel resolution seeking divestment from the Jewish state over fears that he was “elected by a Jewish agenda“; a Jewish student at Stanford University who was questioned about whether her Jewish faith would affect her ability to serve in the student Senate; and a UCLA student who was initially rejected from her candidacy for a student office by members of the student council based solely on her religious affiliation: Judaism.
The report also includes 10 “principles against intolerance” that will not be permitted, including harassment, threats, assaults, vandalism, destruction of property and interference with the right of others to speak.
Critics, including but not exclusively those from the pro-Palestinian movement, suggest the new resolution would infringe on free speech and academic freedom.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.