The following is an excerpt from an article published in the New York Times on March 26, 2016. To view the full article, click here.
University of California Adopts Statement Condemning Anti-Semitism
By Ian Lovett
LOS ANGELES — When the University of California’s Board of Regents unanimously adopted a statement condemning anti-Semitism on its campuses, it became the first public university system to do so since thepush for economic boycotts of Israel emerged on campuses across the nation.
But the measure — an attempt to combat hostility toward Jewish students amid this growing opposition to Israel — softened a proposed flat-out condemnation of anti-Zionism, or opposition to the creation of a Jewish state. And it seems unlikely to quell battles that have rocked campuses here and across the nation. Even as the measure was unanimously approved by the university’s governing body on Thursday, objections were raised from across the political spectrum. Pro-Palestinian groups complained that it was designed to stifle opposition to Israeli policies. Academics worried that it would impinge on free speech. And Jewish organizations, while praising the measure as an important first step, said it did not go far enough in addressing hostility they said Jews have faced on University of California campuses.
In the end, the Board of Regents dropped from the final resolution a direct condemnation of anti-Zionism, language that had prompted an explosive debate about free speech in one of the country’s most vaunted public university systems. Instead, the final language simply read: “Anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California.”
No penalties were outlined for those who violate the policy.
Still, Dima Khalidi, the director of Palestine Legal, an advocacy group based in Oakland, said that pro-Israeli groups had “succeeded in convincing the regents that Palestine advocacy is inherently anti-Semitic, and should be condemned.” She said the regents’ action was even more troubling, given the intense scrutiny that Muslims are facing in the current climate.
“It’s very clear that they have as a goal a restriction of political speech criticizing Israel and its policies,” she said.