Friday, June 3, 2016

Urge UC Irvine to Implement the UC Regents Statement of Principles on Intolerance

In the wake of the May 18 incident at UC Irvine, where Students for Justice in Palestine and others disrupted a film about the Israel Defense Forces, the AMCHA Initiative has sent two letters to UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman. The second after his unsatisfactory response.

In the below link, you can read all three referenced letters plus read some personal testimony from Jewish students at UCI. You are also invited to send your own letter to Chancellor Gillman expressing your concern. Having read Chancellor Gillman's letter in full, I take issue in a  number of points.

"I’d also like to address your statement that there is a “long-standing and pervasive problem of antiSemitic anti-Zionism” on our campus. The people who know us best -- virtually all members of our tremendous Jewish student body, the leaders of our local Hillel and Chabad chapters, and our community partners such as the Jewish Federation and Family Services of Orange County and the Rose Project ( – would disagree with this characterization."

I have previously addressed the incestuous relationship that UCI has with Hillel and the Federation. Both of these Jewish organizations have a vested interest in Jewish students deciding not to attend UCI. In other words, they have a conflict of interest when it comes to countering campus anti-Semitism. It is my opinion, especially given the response to the May 18 incident, that UCI uses these two organizations for cover.

"In fact, we are consistently praised for our efforts at creating an outstanding environment for our Jewish students. David Siegel, the Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles, has worked very closely with the campus over many years. He has often praised the campus’ efforts and has publicly stated that, in his judgment, UCI has become exemplary in American higher education on all the issues we all care so much about (a sentiment he reiterated to me just a few weeks ago). Our Jewish students have become so frustrated by the false and malicious characterizations of their experiences on our campus that they have posted their own YouTube video to try to correct the record (see

I don't know how much time the Israeli consul general has spent on the UCI campus since he is based in LA. I have spent the last 17 years on campus and have been involved in this issue since 2006. How many MSU/SJP events has the consul general attended over the years?

As for that video, it was produced in 2011-by the Federation and their financial subsidiary, the Rose Project, naturally. It is a joke on its face.

"This praise for the university extends to our handling of the May 18 incident. Lisa Armony, executive director of the Hillel Foundation of Orange County, was quoted today in the Jewish Journal ( “There is no excuse for the behavior that took placeWednesday night,” she said. “At the same time, it is important to note we are appreciative of what the university is doing. They are taking this extremely seriously.” 

Lisa Armony? She is a former LA Jewish Journal reporter who has worked for the Federation in Orange County and now heads Hillel. It was Armony who was pushing back people waving Israeli and American flags at MSU/SJP students who were disrupting the annual I(Israel) Fest last year. I saw that with my own eyes. She was concerned that people with those flags were inflaming the students/disruptors.

"In this age of instant and broad commentary, we understand how easy it is to create false and incendiary impressions. We hope we can count on you to help set the record straight as outside groups attempt to paint an overall picture of a campus they only know second-hand."

Really? My knowledge is almost all first-hand. I have attended the MSU/SJP events for almost a decade. I have heard the speeches of Amir Abdel Malik Ali. I personally saw and photographed a caricature of Ariel Sharon on the so-called "apartheid wall" in 2008-drawn in the stereotypical style of Julius Streicher's Der Stuermer. Much of the information those "outside groups" have reported has come from me.

In closing, if you care at all, please write and make your voices heard.

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