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Monday, August 3, 2020

L.A. City Council Approves Resolution Calling on UCLA to Cancel SJP Event

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The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously on Nov. 6 in favor of a resolution calling on UCLA to cancel the upcoming National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) conference.

According to a source, city councilman Paul Koretz introduced the resolution, which stated the concern that the conference “will promote anti-Semitism.”

“SJP members have posted violent anti-Semitic rhetoric on social media, ranging from calling for the annihilation of the Jewish people, to the admiration of Adolf Hitler and hateful calls to ‘kill Jews’ ‘kill all Zionists’ and ‘let’s stuff some Jews in the oven,’” the resolution states.

The resolution also noted that SJP’s website “comparing Israel to the Nazis” would constitute as the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

Additionally, the resolution stated the concern that SJP would be excluding students from attending the conference who are not approved by SJP or other pro-Palestinian groups on campus.

“A public university should not allow any group to implement a litmus test for event participation on their campus based on an attendee’s beliefs, religion, or national origin,” the resolution states.

Therefore, the resolution argued that this would violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act that “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in federally assisted programs or activities.”

“The Regents of the University of California should let UCLA know that it is not appropriate for SJP to have a meeting on campus, especially where many of the leaders of the organization are calling for violence against Jews,” the resolution stated. “It is never a good time to have this type of event, but given the atmosphere in the country, including the recent shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue and arson at synagogues in New York, it is inappropriate for UCLA to host such a conference.”

Koretz said in a statement, “As we work to increase security at Los Angeles Jewish community institutions in light of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue massacre, bringing the SJP conference to Los Angeles in which leaders and members exhort to ‘kill all the Jews’ and ‘stuff some Jews in the oven’ is also a significant threat to public safety. “

Additionally, Koretz sent a letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene Block expressing similar concerns to what was mentioned in the resolution as well as pointing out that SJP members were involved in a May disruption of a Students Supporting Israel (SSI) event on campus.

“As a UCLA alumnus and as the City Councilmember representing the Fifth District that includes UCLA, I am shocked and disappointed that the University would allow such an event to occur on campus,” Koretz wrote.

Koretz later added, “Although UCLA has a responsibility to allow freedom of speech, our campuses should never become an environment where students of any origin are harassed, bullied, or prohibited from learning.”

On Oct. 31, UCLA issued a cease-and-desist letter to National SJP for using the UCLA Bruin Bear playing with a Palestinian kite as their logo for the conference. NSJP tweeted on Nov. 5 that UCLA’s cease-and-desist letter was “discriminatory” and that they are “extensively reviewing our legal rights with our attorneys.”

UCLA has not responded to multiple requests for comment from the Journal as of publication time.

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