UCLA Chancellor’s Poway Statement Criticized

May 3, 2019
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Two UCLA professors and the leader of a pro-Israel group criticized UCLA Chancellor Gene Block’s statement following the Chabad of Poway shooting.

While Block wrote heartfelt words over the death of Lori Gilbert-Kaye who was a UCLA alumnus, he also stated: “Intensifying rhetoric, both in our nation and abroad, coupled with a rise in White nationalism, has fomented resentment of ethnic minorities and led to increases in anti–Semitism and hate crimes in general, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the FBI and the Anti–Defamation League.”

Judea Pearl, chancellor professor of computer science at UCLA, National Academy of Sciences member and Daniel Pearl Foundation president, said in a statement to the Journal, “Chancellor Block is right in stating that: ‘We cannot ignore the larger context for so much of this violence.’ However, singling white nationalism and ignoring anti-Zionism as a major contributor to anti-Semitic violence not only distorts that context but renders it totally divorced of reality. There is a clear logical connection between the bigotry of congresswoman Ilhan Omar or the rhetoric of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) cronies at UCLA and rising hostilities against Jews. If Israel is indeed as criminal as her critics claim she is, and if Jews pray for Israel’s safety, then it follows that Jews are either deliberate criminals or hopelessly stupid. Neither adds respect for Jews and neither makes America safe for Jews.”

Pearl added the term “Zionism” is not “in any official statement of our University, including statements issued by the office of (make no mistake) ‘Equity, Diversity & Inclusion.’ The question remains, are Zionist and Israeli students welcome on this campus?”

UCLA anthropology professor Joseph Manson similarly said in a statement to the Journal, “White nationalists are dangerous, but at the present time their dangerousness is limited by the fact that their ideas are taboo. For example, Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa was stripped of his committee assignments (and thus much of his power) by his fellow Republicans for flirting with white nationalism. Yet, left-wing anti-Semitism, masquerading as anti-Zionism, is not only not taboo, it has become mainstream, as shown by the infamous recent New York Times cartoon, and the House Democrats’ unwillingness to condemn the anti-Semitic remarks of Rep. Ilhan Omar. The Democratic Party seems to be heading down the same path as the British Labour Party, just 5-10 years behind it. I’m disappointed that in addressing the “larger context” of the Poway shootings, Chancellor Block has ignored political trends that many American Jews find deeply alarming.”

UCLA Students Supporting Israel President Justin Feldman told the Journal that Chancellor Block’s statement may have been “a good-willed gesture,” but “Block should have elaborated specifically that both white nationalism and Islamism have motivated such virulent attacks. It was only in November that an Islamist extremist attempted a car-ramming of Jewish pedestrians on Shabbat, not too distant from our campus in Hancock Park. So too, is the anti-Semitism that us Jews face in university, characterized by a diverse spectrum of perpetrators, and quite often by Islamist-sympathizing aggregates.”

A university spokesperson did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

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