In blatant chutzpah, if the pro-Palestinians at UCSD will allow a Yiddish term, they have launched a specious campaign to claim they were harassed and insulted by their opponents. This false claim is in order to step up their own fear, slander and harassment that silences students and faculty at UCSD and other campuses from defending Israel.
These false charges are a test experiment to use elsewhere to counter the documented charges of harassment and violence by pro-Palestinian students at other campuses that have been deemed serious enough to be taken up by the federal government under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and for which ten students were convicted for their acts at U of C Irvine.
The absurdity of their specific claims at UCSD is even more manifest, and dangerous, because it is actually the opposite that occurs at many campuses. The activities of pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli students and faculty have harassed pro-Israeli students and faculty, leading many to be silent rather than become involved because of fear of attack or that it would endanger their career path in retribution by the alliance of virulent Israel haters with extremist Leftist allies.
On February 29, the UCSD student government defeated for the third year running a pro-Palestinian resolution for the University system to divest from US companies that supply Israel’s defense forces. The divestment proponents claim they seek to counter violence in the world, but no such divestment was called for from companies supplying any other country. This is exactly the double-standard that the US State Department labeled anti-Semitism: “Applying double standards by requiring of it [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”
A Music professor at UCSD, who leads the campus chapter of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, was one of those who spoke against the divestment, presenting a letter from 40 Nobel Laureates against divestment. On March 2, leaders of the pro-Palestinian students sent a letter of complaint to faculty, administration, and members of the UCSD Campus Climate Committee “to address the hostile campus climate being created for students of color and students from underserved and underrepresented communities.” (The UCSD Campus Climate committee is the local of the system-wide committee appointed by U of C President Mark Yudoff last year. There are no Jewish student representatives on the UCSD Campus Climate committee.) The emailer of the letter is studentJosue Castellon, a member of the Student Affirmative Action Committee and of the official UCSD Task Force to Promote the Recruitment, Support and Retention of Historically Underrepresented Faculty. (It is fairly certain that doesn’t include pro-Israeli faculty.) The letter claims that someone speaking as a professor isde facto intimidating, “to refer to themselves in their position as ‘UCSD staff’ or ‘UCSD professor’ is uncalled for.” Then the letter charges “But this was not all. University professor Shlomo Dubnov of the Music department followed a student outside of the 4th floor Forum to verbally attack her and to tell her that her narrative about surviving bombings in Lebanon was ‘cheap and ridiculous.’ ”
Professor Dubnov that day wrote to the same list, denying the scurrilous claim, citing witnesses, and requesting an official investigation by the UCSD Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination into what Dubnov properly called “libel.” The official in charge of the investigation by the official UCSD Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination told him a few days ago they have not yet been able to identify the student who he allegedly harassed.
Facts, however, is not the goal of the pro-Palestinian students. Instead of going to the UCSD body charged with investigating such claims, and that could expose their lies, they went to an unofficial faculty body, the San Diego Faculty Association (SDFA), headed by pro-Palestinian professors.
Last year, Professor Dubnov and 27 other UCSD professors published a piece in the campus newspaper against divestment’s “troubling hypocrisy.”
The organizers of the acrimonious and divisive spring event have a golden opportunity this year to show that they are genuinely interested in the rights and dignity of all the people of the Mideast by expanding their focus beyond the tiny Jewish state and, in so doing, put on an event that will do more to unite our campus than divide it.
In counter, 30 UCSD professors wrote: “we deplore unsubstantiated attacks on individuals and groups with opinions that challenge mainstream and dominant perspectives.” Signers of that response included Professors Ivan Evans and Fred Lonidier. Evans is the Chair of the San Diego Faculty Association, and Lonidier a member of its Board of Directors.
The SDFA is the local chapter of the AAUP, supposed to defend academic freedom. The SDFA instead, without investigating, supported the pro-Palestinian students claim: “the SDFA is speaking out against racist comments and student harassment that occurred at a recent Associated Students meeting.” Indicative of the political cast of the SDFA, it resolved last October to “stand in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street.”
Professor Dubnov wrote to the SDFA on March 9, protesting it taking the side of the pro-Palestinian students, without investigation and in the absence of facts:
Aside from their false accusations directed at me, I can tell you that the characterization of the event by these students is replete with outrageous inaccuracies. It is actually mind-boggling how they have inverted the reality of the situation.
I have reported these events to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination who are investigating these allegations and are verifying the specifics with others who were in attendance to corroborate the facts. These are people of unquestionable credibility, including other faculty and UCSD staff who I saw at the meeting who can comment on the veracity of the students’ claims.
Since your email has reached many faculty who are beyond the administration listed on the list I would like to request that you forward this email to the very same list you sent your original email and demand to halt from any further discussion on this issue until the investigation is completed by the appropriate instances in the university.
Your act of spreading a letter to undisclosed list of faculty on a matter that is under formal investigation is a blunt act of defamation that breaches the basic principles of collegiality, responsibility and decency.
The SDFA Chair, Ivan Evans, brushed off Professor Dubnov’s protest:
The Board of the SDFA stands behind its statement. We are particularly unwilling to engage the hyperbolic and uncivil tone of Professor Dubnov’s email below and will not comment further on it.
How’s that for academic civility or integrity, squelching a pro-Israeli professor, and from the same professors who falsely claim that pro-Israelis are the “dominant perspectives” on campus? Instead, proof that the pro-Palestinian and radical Leftist alliance is dominant on campus.
To cap this travesty off, the UCSD committee on Campus Climate, subsidiary to the UC system-wide effort to investigate and ameliorate hate on UC campuses, is looking into the matter, but has no official capacity to do so. It provides a sounding board for issues regarding Climate on campus. It held a hearing on March 8. Professor Jorge Mariscal is on that UCSD Campus Climate Committee and sits on the UC system’s UC President’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion. Last year, Mariscal complimented the UCSD Muslim Student Association for its propaganda apartheid wall on campus as “a superior educational experience.”
Although the meeting was supposed not to deal with the matter of the claims against the professor, a presentation bearing on it was permitted. The student who presented to the UCSD Campus Climate Committee the pro-Palestinian students feelings spoke for about twenty minutes, including presenting a bogus poll of some of her supporters saying that a majority feel they are “targets on campus”. The president of the student government, Alyssa Wing, was attacked as “corrupt” because she voted against the divestment proposal as being unduly divisive. Two pro-Israel students got to speak for a few minutes each.
We await the findings of the official UCSD Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination requested by professor Dubnov. It remains to be seen whether the pro-Palestinian students will go to this official investigative body, instead of trying to drum up its false narrative via unofficial or biased bodies. Regardless of facts, however, look for this spurious new harassment tactic to come to other campuses, to try and silence pro-Israel students and faculty.