September 17, 2019

CAIR-CA Calls On UC Chancellors to Retract Opposition to BDS

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) California chapter called on the University of California Chancellors to retract their stated opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

In December, the ten UC chancellors issued a statement calling BDS “a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of our students and faculty”:

In a letter to the chancellors and the UC Board of Regents, CAIR-CA said that the UC Chancellors’ statement “ignores the continued reality, that faculty and other professionals who voice their support of BDS, are often targeted and denied tenure, speaking engagements, and other terms of employment because of their support of BDS.”

“In attempting to portray BDS as a silencing tactic, you are disingenuously mischaracterizing a critical First Amendment issue playing itself out on university campuses throughout the United States, including each of the University of California campuses,” the letter states. “Namely, there has been a concerted effort by public universities throughout the country to attempt to force speakers and others to pledge that they do not currently and will not in the future endorse BDS before allowing these individuals onto campuses.”

The letter also argued that myriad student governments on UC campuses have passed BDS resolutions and accused the chancellors’ statement of being “divisive and accusatory.”

“Although we are still in the initial phase of gathering information, our data already reveals that Muslim students report facing a significantly high amount of harassment and discrimination on their school campuses,” the letter states. “The UC schools are responsible for affirmatively protecting the academic freedom of speech of all its faculty, staff, and students. Through voicing opposition to BDS, you are attempting to silence the students, staff, and faculty on your campuses who have overwhelmingly voted to support BDS. “

Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs, told the Journal in a statement via email, “It is entirely unsurprising that an organization which engages in vicious bigotry against Israelis and others is upset about the UC [Chancellors] standing on the right side of history.”

“We have news for anti-Israel groups: those who criticize your extremism are engaging in free speech, not violating it,” Rothstein continued. “If CAIR-CA cared about free speech they would oppose, not defend, those who shout down pro-Israel speakers on campus.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League, CAIR has “an anti-Israel agenda” and has “refused to unequivocally condemn Palestinian terror organizations.”