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Thursday, March 24, 2016

The UC Statement Is Final


Below is the statement from the AMCHA Initiative following today's final approval of the University of California  Regents policy condemning anti-Semitism.
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AMCHA STATEMENT ON FINAL PASSAGE OF LANDMARK POLICY TO PROTECT JEWISH STUDENTS 
FROM RISING ANTI-SEMITISM

Anti-Zionism linked to anti-Semitism by most prestigious and largest public university in the U.S. same week Clinton & Sanders acknowledge anti-Semitism part of BDS

San Francisco, CA, March 24, 2016 – The University of California (UC) full Board of Regents today approved a policy that condemns anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism and says there is no place for those and other forms of discrimination at UC. The policy was approved unanimously by the Regents education committee yesterday. 

Statement from AMCHA Initiative director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin who led this effort from its inception:

“For far too long, Jewish students have become victims in the often profoundly contentious anti-Zionist movement on campus.  Anti-Zionist groups routinely target all Jewish students, regardless of their feelings on Israel, and the rhetoric and actions go well beyond political or scholarly debate.  Sadly, Jewish students are caught in the crossfire.  

“For the first time a university has acknowledged the blatant anti-Semitism within anti-Zionism.  Anti-Zionism has now been linked to anti-Semitism and condemned by the most prestigious and largest public university in the United States.  This is an unprecedented and remarkable step forward, which will benefit Jewish students across the country. 

“We applaud all of the Regents for addressing the record-high and growing anti-Jewish hate.  We would like to particularly acknowledge Regent Norm Pattiz, who personally championed this landmark policy on behalf of Jewish students.”

AMCHA began bringing this issue to the attention of Regents through letters and meetings and regularly testifying before the Regents more than a year ago after hearing from concerned parents and students about the rapid rise of anti-Semitism at UC.  Throughout this last year, AMCHA led a coalition of more than 40 Jewish and education advocacy groups that regularly communicated with the Regents on this matter.  

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both this week acknowledged that anti-Semitism is unquestionably a factor in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the largest anti-Zionist movement on campus. 

A study, conducted by AMCHA Initiative, of anti-Semitism at more than 100 U.S. colleges and universities in 2015 ranked 5 UC campuses in the top 10% of schools with the most anti-Semitic activity. In fact, 4 of those UC campuses rose to the top 5 worst schools.  The study also found the presence of anti-Zionist activities, anti-Zionist student groups and faculty who endorse an academic boycott of Israel were strong predictors of anti-Semitism.  

AMCHA Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to combating, monitoring and documenting anti-Semitism at institutions of higher education in America.
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Here is more from the AMCHA Initiative

Fousesquawk comment

Here is how I interpret it. There was a point of contention over inserting condemnation of anti-Zionism along with anti-Semitism. Regent Pattiz's compromise was to amend the words as anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism. What this means is that there are certain aspects of anti-Zionism, which are considered (by our own State Department) as being anti-Semitic, such as denying the Jewish people a land of their own. It is not meant to include mere criticism of Israel's policies.

As I have previously stated, there will continue to be much fighting over what constitutes anti-Semitic speech, and this is not intended to curtail free speech. Even hate speech is protected, but it is important that UC start to recognize the problem and condemn future hate speech against Jews with the same vigor it would respond to hate speech against other groups.

This is an important first step, but it is only a first step.

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