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A letter to President Napolitano and Chancellor Gillman on ‘anti-Zionism week’

Hi Dear President Napolitano/Chancellor Gillman,

As Jewish and pro-Israel student leaders from across the University of California system, we write to you in protest and unequivocal condemnation of the “anti-Zionism week” held at UC Irvine from May 4th-7th.

We represent large student communities that define Zionism as support for the rights of the Jewish people to self-determination in their ancestral homeland – Israel. Anti-Zionism Week subjects Jewish students to an entire week of racist events dedicated to undermining their right to liberation and self-determination. Moreover we are extremely concerned that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Student Union (MSU) are selling t-shirts that say “UC Intifada” as part of this campaign. For Israeli students in particular, the word “intifada” triggers deeply traumatic memories of innocent people being brutally murdered in suicide bombings and other attacks by racist terrorist organizations. This bigoted series of events, along with SJP and MSU’s celebration of violence, creates a hostile learning environment on campus for many Jewish and Israeli students, who are minorities on all UC campuses.

In recent months the UCLA and UCSB student governments unanimously passed resolutions recognizing that “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist” are forms of anti-Semitism, and demanding that more be done to combat this bigotry. UC Berkeley passed a resolution reaffirming Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.” We are shocked that “Anti-Zionism Week,” which clearly falls under the above definitions of anti-Semitism and racism, is being allowed to take place without a word of condemnation from university leaders.

While we fully support academic freedom for all UC students and faculty, we also expect leaders at all levels of the UC system to speak out against racism and hate speech, and do everything in their power to protect minorities on campus. The UC celebrates minority identities and rejects efforts to promote intolerance and alienate others. Anti-Zionist Week seeks to do both as it supports one identity while tearing down another. 

As such, we call on you to publicly condemn UC Irvine’s “Anti-Zionism Week” and adopt the resolutions passed at UCLA, UCSB and UC Berkeley as the official policy of the entire UC system.

Sincerely,

AEPi at UCLA
AEPi at UCSB
AEPi at UCSC
AEPi at UCSD
Alpha Epsilon Phi at UCSD
Anteaters for Israel
Chabbad at UCLA
Bears for Israel
Bruins for Israel
Grant Fineman, President of AEPi at UC Berkeley
Gauchopac (AIPAC at UCSB)
Gouchos United for Israel
Highlanders for Israel
Hillel at UCLA
JAM at UCLA
Students Supporting Israel at UCLA
Tritons for Israel

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