JFFS Statement - March 18, 2016

 

Rose Project of JFFS and Hillel OC

 

The Rose Project of Jewish Federation & Family Services and Hillel Foundation of Orange County commend the report of the Working Group of UC Regents on Principles Against Intolerance.  The report states unambiguously that anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism have no place at the University of California.  

 

The establishment of the Working Group and its subsequent report stemmed from the undeniable resurgence of anti-Semitism on UC campuses and concurrent increase in virulent anti-Israel activity.  This activity has taken the form of aggressive demonstrations, protests against Israeli figures and disruption of events in which they are featured, divestment resolutions in student government, giant walls and other props that distort history and perpetuate the “Zionism is racism” canard, and more.  Further, these acts have been accompanied by incidents such as anti-Semitic slurs, accusations of blood libel and other anti-Semitic tropes, threats against Jewish students, and vandalism against Jewish-owned property.

 

As organizations committed to the principles enshrined in the First Amendment and to responsible academic freedom, we are steadfast in our support for the rights of individuals to criticize and condemn policies and actions they oppose.  We also recognize the important role of a university as an incubator of diverse views that challenge students’ deeply held views.  Nonetheless, as the Working Group states in its report, for far too long and on too many campuses, opposition to Zionism is expressed in ways that are not mere statements of disagreement over politics and policy, but also assertions of prejudice and intolerance toward Jewish people and culture.  The delegitimization of the Jewish State and Zionism by anti-Zionist activists often results in the creation of a hostile climate for Jewish students, their marginalization and demonization, and the denial of a core tenet of their identity. That is intolerable.

 

Our organizations have worked diligently at the University of California, Irvine over the past decade, in partnership with the administration, faculty and students, to improve the climate for Jewish students and to foster civility, bridge-building and difficult dialogues.  Colleagues in Jewish organizations around the state are likewise endeavoring to bring about a more positive environment on their campuses, even as the problem of anti-Zionism persists.  We applaud the Working Group for recognizing anti-Zionism as the face of contemporary anti-Semitism and call on the Regents in their March 23 meeting to adopt the report as the basis of a system-wide policy on anti-Semitism.    

 

The Working Group’s report can be found HERE.

 

Members of the community who wish to express their support for the Regents’ efforts to condemn anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism may sign THIS PETITION

 

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Jewish Federation & Family Services, Samueli Jewish Campus, 1 Federation Way, Suites 210 & 220, Irvine, CA 92603

 

 

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