Tammi Benjamin-Rossman, Hebrew language lecturer at UC Santa Cruz and founder of AMCHA, Initiative for protecting Jewish students, was pleased to announce today, the UC Board of Regents historic action in Oakland yesterday: condemnation of Anti-Zionism as Anti-Semitism. She wrote about this a major breakthrough in an AMCHA blog post, University of California Unanimously Passes Landmark Policy to Protect Jewish Students:
At the UC Board of Regents meeting today, the University of California passed a resolution which condemned “anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination” and stated “they have no place at the University of California.”
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!
AMCHA began communicating with UC Regents and community members a year ago after hearing from concerned parents and students about the rapid rise of anti-Semitism at UC. In September the Regents appointed a task force to address the problem. The task force held numerous public meetings and hearings to hear from the community and experts. Last week they released the proposed Statement of Principles Against Intolerance that was approved unanimously yesterday by the Regents Committee on Educational Policy and today by the full board.
At yesterday’s meeting, dozens of UC students and faculty, representatives from Jewish organizations, including, the Anti-Defamation League, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Jewish Community Relations Council, and AMCHA Initiative, and State Assembly member Travis Allen testified before the Regents urging them to support the measure. In addition, over the last week, more than 4,000 UC students, faculty, parents, alumni and stakeholders; 60 Jewish and education advocacy groups, including Hillel International, Jewish Federations of North America, and the American Jewish Committee; as well as the California Legislature’s Jewish Caucus and U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman urged the Regents to condemn anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in the Statement.
The vote, with the inclusion of the condemnation of anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism, represents a new direction in administration addressing modern anti-Semitism. We are incredibly proud of this achievement. It was a challenging journey to arrive at this point, one that required the persistence of AMCHA, our extraordinary at-will coalition partners, students, activists, alumni and supporters.
Watch this YouTube video of the historic UC Board Of Regents vote:
We have written numerous articles and blog posts about the virulent anti-Zionism espoused by Muslim Student Union, Students for Justice in Palestine in the UC system and other elite campuses. That began with a January 2011 interview about the situation on the UCIrvine campus with local Orange County Jewish activist, Dee Sterling. Especially concern was the disruption of a speech by Former Israeli Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren at UC Irvine in 2008, recounted his memoir, Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide. That led to the successful prosecution under California heckling conspiracy statues in Orange County. That led to the conviction of 11 MSU student leaders from the Riverside and UC Irvine Campuses in 2011.
There were revelations about campus leftists controlling the Olive Tree Imitative program, funded in part by a grant from a local Orange County Jewish Federation affiliate at UC Irvine. That led to an alleged chance encounter in 2009 with Aziz Duwaik, the Hamas Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker. In June 2015, we interviewed the President of Anteaters for Israel Jewish student activist Sharon Shaoulian, who recounted actions by former Orange County J Fed President Elcott and the campus Hillel chapter executive during IFEST (Israel Festival) supporting pro-Palestinian MSU kiosks during Apartheid Awareness week. We reached out to former AFI leader and UC Irvine alumna, Reut Rory Cohen who provided the history of Orange JFed antagonism towards campus Jewish activism. Ultimately, the cumulative effect of these exposes resulted in the resignation in July 2015 of Orange County J Fed President Elcott.
We hope that Sharon Shaoulian, Reut Rory Cohen, Dee Sterling, Gary Fouse, Debra and Amichai Glazer involved at UCIrvine are pleased about yesterday’s UC Board of Regents vote. However, now the effort must begin in earnest enlisting the Chancellors and faculty Senates of each University and state college campuses in California to implement initiatives protecting Campus Zionism activism and free speech. That also goes to local JFeds and Hillel Chapters to clean up their acts to reform misguided efforts thwarting such campus activism.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.