Dear Board of Regents,
We are writing to express our extreme disappointment and outrage over the proposed Statement of Principles Against Intolerance that you will be considering at your upcoming meeting.
As you know, in the wake of unprecedented and alarming antisemitic activity on UC campuses, virtually all of it linked to virulent anti-Israel expression, there has been an outpouring of concern for the safety and well-being of Jewish students, along with strong communal support for the University’s adoption of the U.S. State Department definition of antisemitism. More than 80 Jewish student leaders, 17 Jewish student groups, 50 religious, civil rights, advocacy and legal organizations, 35 preeminent scholars of contemporary anti-Semitism, thousands of UC students, alumni, parents, faculty and donors, and dozens of California Jewish community leaders have all urged you to use the State Department definition to properly identify and educate the campus community about the forms of antisemitism affecting Jewish students on UC campuses.
Unfortunately the proposed statement of principles, which the Jewish community was led to believe would address their serious and well-founded concerns, is so watered-down and overly broad as to be meaningless. It does not even mention antisemitism, and it will do nothing to mitigate the antisemitic bigotry that Jewish students are currently facing at the University of California.
Furthermore, in light of the University’s strong commitment to diversity initiatives that heighten awareness of certain kinds of intolerance – for example providing extensive sensitivity training regarding the subtlest forms of racist, sexist and homophobic “microaggression” — it is extremely hypocritical, and deeply offensive to the Jewish community, that UC leaders are unwilling to even acknowledge, let alone commit university resources to addressing flagrant forms of antisemitic expression. This is unacceptable.
The Jewish community needs more than vague generalities. The University of California needs to condemn antisemitism in all forms, including discrimination, demonization, delegitimization, or harassment against the Jewish people, individually or collectively, and holding individual Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the State of Israel, or applying traditional anti-Jewish stereotypes and defamations to Israel.
In the absence of a meaningful statement of principles, we urge you to take substantive steps to address the difficult situation facing Jewish students on UC campuses. Specifically, we reiterate our call for the adoption of the State Department definition of antisemitism, or at a minimum, the inclusion within UC policy of the well-documented understanding that demonization and delegitimization of Israel and denying its right to exist is part of modern antisemitism. This will send a strong message that the University of California is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of its Jewish students.
Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity (AEPi)
AMCHA UCLA Alumni
American Institute for Jewish Research
Americans for Peace and Tolerance
Anteaters for Israel
BEAR: Bias Education, Advocacy & Resources
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)
CUFI on Campus
Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
Fuel For Truth
Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel
Iranian American Jewish Federation
Israeli-American Council (IAC)
Israel Peace Initiative (IPI)
Jewish Law Students Association at UCLA
Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA)
Middle East Political and Information Network (MEPIN)
National Conference on Jewish Affairs
Proclaiming Justice to the Nations
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Students and Parents Against Campus Anti-Semitism
Students Supporting Israel at UCLA
The Israel Christian Nexus
The Israel Group
The Lawfare Project
Training and Education About the Middle East (T.E.A.M.)
Zionist Organization of America
UC President Janet Napolitano
UC Provost and Executive Assistant of Academic Affairs Aimee Dorr
UC Vice President of Student Affairs Judy Sakaki
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
California Senator Carol Liu, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Education
California Assembly Member Jose Medina, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education
California Assembly Member Shirley Weber, Chair of the Select Committee on Campus Climate
California State Senator Marty Block, Chair of Legislative Jewish Caucus