The majority of UCLA students running for undergraduate student government officer positions–though none from the inclusive, centrist “Bruins United” coalition–have signed a pledge drafted by radical groups and several ethnic organizations promising never to travel to Israel on student trips sponsored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), or the Hasbara Fellowships.
AIPAC is the country’s most prominent pro-Israel lobbying organization, the ADL is a liberal pro-Israel organization that also opposes prejudice in general, and the Hasbara Fellowships are a non-profit effort to improve pro-Israel advocacy on campus. All are targeted in a pledge drafted by the “Afrikan Student Union, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Student Association and Jewish Voice for Peace,” among others.
The pledge relies on a number of inflammatory and misleading statements, such as the claim that “AIPAC and ADL have political agendas that marginalize multiple communities on campus”–including what the statement calls the “Afrikan” community. The statement also makes claim that AIPAC supports “actions that have violated human rights and international law,” though it does not (and, indeed, cannot) provide any supporting evidence.
AIPAC also is accused of “ties to anti-Armenian groups and public figures.” The likely reference here is to the past opposition of some pro-Israel groups to a formal recognition of the Armenian genocide, out of concern for relations with Turkey, an ally to the U.S. and Israel, and the only secular democracy in the Muslim world. That opposition has abated in recent years, in light of the increased radicalization of Turkey’s Islamist government.
The statement reduces that complex debate to an absurd accusation of prejudice against Armenians. Likewise, it accuses all three organizations of “Islamophobia,” again without providing proof, other than the fact that anti-terror expert Steven Emerson spoke at an AIPAC conference. Ironically, the statement also slanders a Jewish religious group, Aish International, calling it “Islamophobic” but referencing actions by an independent group.
The statement’s few references and links are to far-left blogs and the Huffington Post, including a column that claims that AIPAC is seeking war with Iran–a statement that no one who actually knows anything about AIPAC could take seriously. The statement relies upon such ignorance, and no small degree of prejudice, among those who are stupid and dishonest enough to sign it. Apparently, that amounts to a majority of UCLA’s candidates.