Anti-Israel movement faces pushback from University of California

BDSposterThe BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) movement has been gaining momentum at American colleges in recent years with its message that Israel’s policies toward Palestinians amount to apartheid. According to the last annual report issued by the Israel on Campus Coalition, in the 2014-15 school year, there were 1,630 anti-Israel events at 181 colleges and universities in the United States. The main group behind the BDS movement — the Students for Justice in Palestine — grew by a third in terms of campus chapters and now has a presence at 150 schools.

But the University of California may slow that momentum. At a Board of Regents meeting Tuesday in San Francisco, a proposal meant to curb harassment of Jewish students at UC’s 10 campuses was unveiled. It declares “anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California” and that university officials must “challenge speech and action reflecting bias, stereotypes, and/or intolerance.”

This is significantly stronger language than a previous proposal unveiled last year — and quickly rejected — that was more generally worded without a specific reference to anti-Zionism. UC regents are expected to vote on the language at their meeting next Wednesday in San Francisco.

But that vote will only come after they hear sharp protests from students and faculty who see this policy as damaging their speech rights and exonerating Israeli for its treatment of Palestinians.

Professor: Criticizing Israel not equal to bigotry

UC Berkeley literature professor Judith Butler told the Los Angeles Times that the language of the policy allowed for arbitrary definitions of what is unacceptable speech:

[She] questioned who would define that term or decide what crossed the line into discriminatory speech.


And although the statement provides no sanctions, calling on university leaders to “challenge” bias, Butler wondered whether those singled out as criticizing Zionism would be denied faculty research funds, promotions or other benefits.


“To include anti-Zionism as an instance of intolerance and bigotry is actually to suppress a set of political beliefs that we actually need to hear,” she said. “It saddens me and strikes at the heart of the task of the university.”

UCLA student Eitan Peled, a member of the liberal Jewish Voice for Peace group, blasted the proposal in an interview with the Associated Press. “As a student who considers my work advocating for Palestinian human rights as an expression of my Jewish values, I am surprised to see that criticism of a modern nation-state that regularly violates international law is so centered in a report against intolerance,” he told AP. “Debate over Zionism and the abusive policies of the state of Israel absolutely should be debated vigorously, not silenced by accusations of discrimination.”

Ex-UC president: ‘Microaggression’ against Jews common

Meanwhile, former University of California President Mark Yudof is also speaking out about the BDS movement and the treatment of Jewish students at some universities. He’s joined the advisory board of the Academic Engagement Network, which seeks to “bring together faculty members and administrators to address issues related to Israel.” Its members include Lawrence Summers, the former treasury secretary and Harvard president.

In a December essay published by Inside Higher Education, Yudof depicted the BDS movement as trying to shut down discussion of issues involving Israel while linking Zionism to other issues, including police violence toward African Americans. “In age of exquisite sensitivity on some campuses to microaggression, or language that subtly offends underrepresented groups, the ironic toleration of microaggression against Jews often goes unnoted,” he wrote.

It was while Yudof was UC president that the UC system suffered perhaps its most notorious display of anti-Israeli sentiment. Eleven UC Irvine and UC Riverside students were arrested in February 2010 after they interrupted a speech at UC Irvine by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren and refused to let him complete his remarks. The incident triggered vast reaction.


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  1. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 19 March, 2016, 09:00

    My mom was Germanic Jew — which makes me technically Jewish (so it is written — somewhere). While Mom’s parents came over to the U.S. well before the rise of Hitler, we lost most of the rest of the family in the ovens of Europe.

    My father was a nominal Roman Catholic, so naturally I was raised Presbyterian as a result — which didn’t take. Hence I’ve never been too close to the Jewish faith.

    Yet it still troubles me that “we” Jews — so long persecuted by so many governments — still champion Big Government. A supposedly bright group with a penchant for accomplishment, Jews too often seem dumber than a bag of hammers. Their ideal is European Socialism — admiring a continent doomed by its welfare Ponzi schemes — a continent that still exhibits great animosity towards Jews and is in the process of turning Muslim (Karma lives!).

    CA Jews continue to mindlessly support California’s liberal, racist, bigoted, collectivist university system — reality notwithstanding. Karma.

    Oy vey!

    Reply this comment
    • steve
      steve 19 March, 2016, 14:14

      …you have just described the “Jew,” the Bolshevik Jew communist. The Russian gulags with 100 million Orthodox Christians, first tortured then mass murdered. Stalin, post WWII, and his infiltration of the Catholic Church, Hollywood and the US government as well as every other government around the world.

      “We Jews, we the destroyers, will remain the destroyers forever. NOTHING that you will do will meet our needs and demands. We will forever destroy, because we need a world of our own, a God-world, which it is not in your nature to build.”

      –“You Gentiles”p.155 Maurice Samuel

      Reply this comment
      • The Mossad (or not)
        The Mossad (or not) 19 March, 2016, 15:55

        Ahhhh. A sicko, you are. The quintessential NAZI.

        I checked our Jewish database, and found you easily — ain’t IP addresses a grand thing? BTW, IP addresses were invented by us Jews.

        We know who you are. We know where you live. We have been watching you for some time.

        Reply this comment
  2. bob
    bob 19 March, 2016, 09:59

    US tax suckers pay billions a year to the gooberment of Israel in “foreign aid,” more than any other foreign gooberment. When Benny Nuttyyahoo tells Obammie to jump, Obammie asks, “How high?”

    Don’t you know you’re not supposed to be critical (or just tell the truth) about Israel?

    Don’t you know this is the United States of Israel?

    So just shut yer yaps and pay yer taxes. Benny needs your dollars!

    Reply this comment
    • pcrussell50
      pcrussell50 19 March, 2016, 12:47

      I’d waaay rather pay my tax $$$ to support the only democracy in the region than some of (a whole bunch of) the crap we’re paying for now. A strong and stable Israel is pennies on the dollar for the money spent. Certainly far better money spent on that than the six figure salaries, with six figure retirements we pay to so very many federal employees, or how about financially rewarding bad behavior, like about 90% of our welfare money.

      For the record, I’m not a Jew, and despite travelling overseas many times a year (I’m in Africa as I write this), I’ve only been to Israel once.

      Reply this comment
    • Richard Rider
      Richard Rider 19 March, 2016, 12:52

      One can be critical of aid to Israel (and even of our military alliance) and still find the anti-Semitic atmosphere and intolerance on California college campuses repulsive. Such is my view of these matters.

      Reply this comment
      • steve
        steve 19 March, 2016, 14:17

        …you have just described the “Jew,” the Bolshevik Jew communist. The Russian gulags with 100 million Orthodox Christians, first tortured then mass murdered. Stalin, post WWII, and his infiltration of the Catholic Church, Hollywood and the US government as well as every other government around the world.

        “We Jews, we the destroyers, will remain the destroyers forever. NOTHING that you will do will meet our needs and demands. We will forever destroy, because we need a world of our own, a God-world, which it is not in your nature to build.”

        –“You Gentiles”p.155 Maurice Samuel

        Reply this comment
        • stanley
          stanley 19 March, 2016, 14:20

          Both Communism and International Bankers (Zionists) have a programme for the establishment of a single World Government, the former having been financed by the latter. “This world- wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation, and the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing. And this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America, have become the undisputed masters of the world.

          –Winston Churchill, Illustrated Sunday Herald, Feb. 8th 1920

          Reply this comment
          • Carl
            Carl 19 March, 2016, 14:25

            Benjamin Disraeli, theVictorian Prime Minister of Great Britain, referring to those people migrating from Russia, and Eastern Europe, to Western Europe, and the USA, declared that they were NOT Semitic people,” but a magnificently organised Caucasian tribe of people from Khazaria.” And no matter how closely they have followed a policy of inbreeding, it is impossible to change the genetic make-up from Caucasian to Semitic. Which automatically nullifies their claim to be returning to Israel, the land of their forebears, because their forebears were never in Biblical Israel. Additionally, the Eastward migration of Biblical Jews were of the tribe of Judah, and NOT Israel, which therefore denies them the right to call themselves Israelis.

      • pcrussell50
        pcrussell50 21 March, 2016, 12:41

        True, you can be both against support to Israel, and repulsed by the anti-Semitic atmosphere on college campuses… As long as you realize that without the support of the rest of the world, there is no Israel.

        Without our military and financial aid to Israel, there would be:
        1) no democracy in the middle East (no leading examples of how a society can exist without say, mysogyny and homophobia, as two of many examples)
        2) if having at least one democracy in the middle East is not important to you, consider what would likely happen to a militarily weakened Israel… Think genocide. Of course with the way our President has popularized anti-Semitism over the last 7 1/2 years, I can see that option number two might not be universally abhorrent.

        Reply this comment
        • Richard Rider
          Richard Rider 21 March, 2016, 13:01

          Israel supposedly has about 300 nuclear bombs. If they don’t, we should make sure that they do before we drop our protections commitment.

          Israel should then make clear that any major genocidal attack on Israel would result in the nuking of every major city in the Middle East, plus Mecca.

          The M.A.D. strategy served us well vs. the U.S.S.R. It’s the best approach for Israel. Because the U.S. resolve to defend Israel is both “iffy” and militarily weak, Israel should not rely on our protection. And indeed, they don’t.

          If nukes are launched against Israel, I doubt we will respond in kind, if at all. Do you think Obama would launch nukes if Israel is nuked?

          BTW, the democracy of Israel has had not the LEAST influence on the rest of the f–ked up Middle East. They couldn’t care less. Meantime American colleges are busy painting Israel as the worst apartheid state since South Africa. No one is impressed with Israel’s remarkable democracy.

          Reply this comment
          • pcrussell50
            pcrussell50 22 March, 2016, 09:13

            Civilized democracies do NOT “nuke every major city in the Middle East, including Mecca”, Israel included.

            Agreed that Obama would not respond in kind, if at all. Of course, he is the most anti-Semitic and anti-Israel POTUS we’ve had since Israel was formed.

            If American Colleges are painting Israel as any kind of Apartheid state, (I’m in Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa as we speak), they are bored and looking for a cause, the latest most popular one being girding against anti-Islam backlash by bending over too far to accommodate it. Nothing wrong with being on guard for unreasonable anti-Islam backlash. But taking it out against Israel, and being overly romanced by Islamists (as opposed to Muslims), which is all the rage these days, is over the top idiocy. Criticism of Israel’s democracy from their kind rings hollow, especially with the sanctimonious (mis) use of a sexy buzz word like Apartheid, that it is virtual certainty they know or nothing about.

  3. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 19 March, 2016, 14:35

    I will say that limiting free speech is always a DOA proposal.

    Reply this comment
  4. Truthafuss
    Truthafuss 21 March, 2016, 02:07

    I am surprised that all the supposed geniuses (actually a plethora of affirmative action racial studies nutjobs) could come up with anything anymore that even appears balanced. Went there way back in early 60s. It was left then, healthy left. Now we’ve empowered new generations most of whom open their mouths in protest at something before they are even suckled. They should have changed “UC” to “PC” about 30 years ago. The place is a shadow of its former self. It’s what happens when successful cultures give away the store.The sense of (undeserved) entitlement becomes overwhelming.

    Reply this comment
    • Richard Rider
      Richard Rider 21 March, 2016, 11:13

      I’ve posted this before, but repetition being the supposed key to learning . . . .

      It’s time for the alumni of American colleges to provide some adult supervision. STOP GIVING THESE LEFT WING PC COLLEGES MONEY!

      Too many people donate to their “alma mater,” based on a hazy recollection of their halcyon college experiences. Whatever you remember — real or sanitized — ain’t what’s happening on almost ALL of today’s campuses — public and private.

      Stop funding these anti-freedom, anti-American, totalitarian-oriented, brainwashing reeducation camps! Target your donations to nonprofit groups that support freedom.

      Perhaps more important, revise your charity donations in your wills and trusts to fund institutions that support the liberties and Western classical liberal values that at one time supposedly were the standard at American colleges and universities.

      I have. I’ve shifted my donations and my charitable remainder trust beneficiaries (a modest trust, to be sure) to the nonprofits defending liberty — Heritage, CATO, REASON, Institute for Justice, etc.

      Reply this comment

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Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

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