Responding to a column on kveller.com by author Alina Adams, in which Adams asserted UCLA was among universities that were antisemitic, actress Mayim Bialik, a three-time Emmy nominee for her role in The Big Bang Theory, defended her alma mater, from which she received a Ph.D in neuroscience, insisting in the Times of Israel that she “had to speak up.”
Adams had noted the events at UCLA in which the Undergraduate Students Association Council’s Judicial Board initially questioned Jewish applicant Rachel Beyda’s qualifications for the board because she was Jewish.
Adams wrote, “The council, presumably, was concerned that Ms. Beyda would not go along with their earlier resolution supporting boycotts, divestments, and sanctions against Israel.”
Bialik admitted, “The incidents at my alma mater, UCLA, in the past weeks have shaken us all.” However, she said, “UCLA is not an anti-Semitic university,” insisting that the Beyda incident was “an isolated event at UCLA,” comparing it to the ousting of Jewish students in Durban, South Africa.
Bialik did not mention a three-year study released in 2013 covering the Center for Near East Studies (CNES) at UCLA that found widespread antisemitism, including “93% of events on Israel being anti-Israel, and 75% displaying anti-Semitic discourse.” UCLA emeritus professor Leila Beckwith wrote, “CNES is promoting a one-sided, anti-Israel and antisemitic bias to impressionable students. This completely distorts UCLA’s scholarly and educational mission and is a violation of the Higher Education Act.”
Instead, Bialik noted, “The student government has held itself accountable for this [Beyda] incident,” adding that the student government had later stated: “the Undergraduate Students Association Council does not tolerate or accept the behaviors of students, staff, faculty, or administration that infringe upon the safety of another person and/or develop a hostile and unsafe environment.”
“ I need to keep this contained as a regrettable and accounted for event that should never happen, but just does,” she wrote. “Because that’s the world we live in.”
Bialik praised Hillel at UCLA, adding, “And I am grateful to Hillel for organizing ways for Jewish students to learn how to fight the fight in the system, because this is where we are, and we will not be silent when this kind of nonsense surfaces.”
The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles reported that Hillel had actually avoided a fight on campus over Israel this year–that it had “effectively boycotted the hearing [on divestment] in an attempt to discredit and delegitimize UCLA’s strengthening pro-BDS [boycott, divestment, sanctions] movement. Only about 10 student representatives and members from those three organizations sat together during the hearing.”
The Journal quoted Tammy Rubin, the president emeritus of Hillel at UCLA, saying, “We are not going to have our community sit through however long a session of bullying and hate speech.”