January 17, 2020

UCLA Student Council Passes Resolution Saying SJP Isn’t Anti-Semitic

Photo from Public Domain Pictures.

The UCLA Undergraduate Students Association Council (USAC) passed a resolution May 21 condemning those calling Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) anti-Semitic.

The resolution denounced faux newspapers from the David Horowitz Freedom Center that compared “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activism with Nazism and terrorism were discovered on the UCLA campus on April 30.” The resolution went on to “administrative figures including Chancellor Gene Block and local politicians have promoted the same accusations found within both Canary Mission and the David Horowitz Freedom Center propaganda, equating support for the National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference held at UCLA in 2018 with anti-Semitism either directly or by implication, thereby compounding the atmosphere of fear, intimidation, and political repression that the aforementioned vigilante initiatives and organizations seek to stoke.”

Block’s November Los Angeles Times Op-ed called SJP’s support for BDS as “actions that stigmatize that nation [Israel] and label it a pariah state” and that the SJP conference that month would “be infused with anti-Semitic rhetoric.” The resolution called these comments “marginalizing” and “stigmatizing.”

“We call on administration at the highest levels to issue statements condemning the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Canary Mission website for the unjust intimidation tactics they truly are and affirming that such defamatory initiatives must have no bearing on the occupational prospects of all affected members of the campus community,” the resolution states, adding the statement should “also include language affirming the right of students to discuss and advocate for Palestinian human rights without outside misinformation and intimidation from organizations such as Canary Mission and the David Horowitz Freedom Center.”

According to the UCLA Jewish news outlet Ha’Am, the USAC voted by a margin of 8-1 in favor of the resolution; the lone dissenting vote was from Tara Steinmetz, the only Jewish representative on the council.

“Just last week, we had a Jewish student berated by a professor who declared Zionism is white supremacy, and the student was left in tears,” Steinmetz said before the vote. “To ignore how anti-Zionism can cross into antisemitism is problematic.”

UCLA’s Students Supporting Israel President Justin Feldman told the Journal in a text message, “The repeated effort to immunize anti-Zionist perpetrators of anti-Semitism on our campus from accountability serves to show that the Undergraduate Students Association Council has a continuously ingrained issue with validating Jewish safety concerns and Jewish denunciations of hatred. The nature of how this resolution passed is an uncomfortable reminder that keeping quiet about the double standards that Jews collectively face on campus is not an option.”

Feldman added, “Marking just over a year since the violent disruption of one of our cultural events, by SJP, in which we were absurdly castigated as ‘white supremacists and terrorists,’ as ongoing victims of white supremacy and terrorism, we must continue to empower more Jewish students to speak up for themselves and demand that our campus eliminate conditional inclusion of our pro-Israel and Jewish identities.”

David Horowitz Freedom Center Founder and President David Horowitz said in a statement to the Journal, “UCLA’s Students for Justice in Palestine is a political arm of the terrorist organization Hamas, whose goal is the genocide of the Jews and the destruction of the Jewish state. Not a single sentence or phrase in the UCLA resolution addresses the evidence we have published and sourced that SJP is funded by Hamas through it front organization American Muslims for Palestine. AMP is headed by the notorious anti-Semite and jihad supporter, Hatem Bazian, the co-founder of SJP. AMP’s board, as Jonathan Schanzer has shown in congressional testimony, is run by former leaders of the Holy Land Foundation which was successfully prosecuted by the US government for funding Hamas. SJP is the chief campus sponsor of BDS – a Hamas orchestrated campaign to strangle the Jewish state. Everything SJP does is designed to spread the Hamas lies that Israel is an apartheid state which illegally occupies so-called Palestinian land. The UCLA resolution is a disgraceful collection of smears designed to provide a smokescreen which will deflect attention away from these undeniable facts, which obviously SJP and its political supporters can’t begin to refute.”

Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper called the resolution an “insult to the Jewish community” in a statement to the Journal,  posing the hypothetical on what the public reaction would be “if eight white students at UCLA passed a resolution defining ‘racism’ without input from African American or Latino students.”

“[The] UCLA Administration will likely continue to hide behind phalanx of rules that guarantee intimidation-free environment for  bigots and zero protection for Jews who dare embrace 3,000+ years of love of Israel,” Cooper said.

Roz Rothstein, CEO and co-founder of StandWithUs, similarly said in a statement to the Journal, “Non-Jewish student government members have no right to declare what is or is not anti-Semitic. Given that Jewish students provided ample evidence of SJP’s hateful rhetoric, the student government should apologize and rescind any language shielding them from criticism. While it’s understandable that it is unpleasant to be labeled anti-Semitic, groups can be accountable and work to change their image. SJP can do so by stating their case without attacking others or using destructive tactics, and by engaging civilly with the many Jewish students and others who support Israel’s existence, rather than trying to demonize and isolate them.”

Judea Pearl, chancellor professor of computer science at UCLA, National Academy of Sciences member and Daniel Pearl Foundation president, also said in a statement to the Journal, “The USAC resolution strengthens our belief in alternative universes and the most inverted of all Orwell’s dreams. SJP, a student organization that prides itself on crushing meetings of other student organizations has now been given the victimhood stage and is crying out to us: ‘Gewalt! Misinformation!, Islamophobia! We are only racist against Israelis and most American Jews, not against Jews that behave themselves! What a terrible misinformation!’ It re-raises a decade-old question: When will UCLA administrators understand who they are dealing with?”

Executive director of UCLA Hillel Rabbi Aaron Lerner said in a May 22 letter to Hillel community members that the resolution’s passage was another instance “of targeting Jews and Israel in ways that our university community would never allow against other minority communities.” He argued that “there is plenty of evidence linking SJP to hate, including their inflammatory use of a kite in the conference logo. Dressing a wolf in sheep’s clothing doesn’t change its predatory nature.”

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

UPDATE: Canary Mission sent a statement to the Journal via email that read, “Canary Mission aggregates the tweets, posts and actions of individuals and compiles them into profiles for the public to view. Any accusations of anti-Semitism based on Canary Mission’s reporting are derived from factual evidence gathered from public sources. Canarymission.org contains thousands of examples of anti-Semitism from SJP members, so we find this resolution laughable.”