This article first appeared in Times of Israel Blogs.
Recently, we reported on the latest BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) resolution that was passed by the student senate at UC Irvine, where I taught part-time 1998-2016. The resolution against Israel passed, and the university quickly issued a statement that they would not abide by it. The damage is that these resolutions, which go on all over the nation in our universities, only direct more negative attention to Jewish students and increase anti-Semitism. Jews are perceived as universally supporting the Jewish state of Israel, which in reality, is not true. Most American Jews support Israel, but some do not. Some even join forces with those who want to destroy the Jewish state. That is the true aim of BDS.
Richard Cravatts, former president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, has also taken note of the latest out of UCI and has written about it in Frontpage Magazine. I am cross-posting it below.
Sadly, UCI has acquired a reputation as a hotbed of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic agitation, largely due to the annual anti-Israel week of events every May. Over the last two decades, I have attended many of those events in order to document them, videotape them, and directly question the speakers. I can tell you, I have seen and heard a lot of vicious people speak at these events.
As I have always said, 99% of the students at UCI are not involved in this ugliness, but those who are have all but destroyed the reputation of what should otherwise be considered a great university. I blame the administrators at UCI (and the entire UC system) for their weakness in allowing this problem to fester and grow.
In 2015-16, I was active with the Amcha Initiative and others in lobbying the UC Regents to draw up a suitable statement of principles against intolerance that specifically addressed anti-Semitism, as opposed to simply condemning all forms of hate. After all, it was anti-Semitism on campus that was the reason a revised statement of principles was under consideration. In 2016, the UC Regents finalized a statement that included such language.
Unfortunately, it has proved to be nothing more than a scrap of paper that UCI can stick in the files of their Office of Inclusive Excellence and show the public that everything is just fine. But since that paper was finalized, UCI has continued to see anti-Zionist weeks every May (at least until the Covid crisis hit), and speakers like Hussam Ayloush (CEO of CAIR in S. California), Rabab Abdulhadi, (professor at San Francisco State University) and Zahra Billoo (CEO of CAIR in No. California) come to campus to spread their poison. Some progress.
Now we have another dangerous ingredient being added to the poisonous cocktail. Thanks to the latest academic creation-intersectionality- all ills of the world can be linked to Israel including the grievances of BLM. If George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis cops, it was partially Israel’s fault because they trained that department and taught them the tactic of kneeling on a black suspect’s neck-or something like that. And don’t think the connection hasn’t been made by those who ingest this propaganda. Last May, BLM rioters rampaged through the Fairfax district of Los Angeles, attacking synagogues and yelling curses at Jews from their car windows. It was a pogrom though nobody would admit it. One would think that after such an event, activists might realize that stoking hatred against Jews was a dangerous idea. Not the pro-Palestinian crowd, however. It’s full steam ahead, and if they can convince American blacks that the Jewish state of Israel is their enemy too, so what if a few American Jews get beat up?
Shame on the pro-Palestinian movement for stirring up this kind of hate toward American Jews with their lies. And shame on our universities for allowing this treatment of its Jewish students. When I first got involved in this issue at UCI back around 2007, I learned that our university campuses were the focal point for the resurgence in anti-Semitism in the US. Rather than seeing it nipped in the bud, it has metastasized to society as a whole. The only positive aspect is that the issue of anti-Semitism can no longer be denied or swept under the rug. It is there for all to see. And UCI has played a role.
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