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August 28, 2012 6:58 am

University of California Urged to Examine Anti-Israel Bias

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University of California, Berkeley. Photo: wiki commons.

The pro-Israel education and advocacy organization StandWithUs has garnered more than 1,500 signatures on a petition urging the University of California (UC) system’s President’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate to accept a report whose findings reveal that anti-Israel bias on UC campuses negatively impacts Jewish students and faculty members.

Alice Huffman, president of the California NAACP, and Richard Barton, national education chair of the Anti-Defamation League, conducted the report on California state schools titled “University of California Jewish Student Campus Climate Fact Finding Team Report and Recommendations.”

According to StandWithUs, the report urges the UC system “to develop model institutional protocols that will ensure that bigotry, intimidation, and undue bias are marginalized, that Jewish students, faculty, and community members’ rights to free speech are protected, and that the university sets clear guidelines for responsible, reasonable debate.”

The StandWithUs petition counters a petition launched by the UC Ad Hoc Committee on Jewish Campus Climate and endorsed by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an organization some in the Jewish community consider to be anti-Israel due to its support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The Ad Hoc Committee on Jewish Campus Climate contends in its petition that the report “distorts campus life, and its recommendations threaten free speech on campuses.”

The UC President’s Advisory Council is set to decide in late October whether or not to accept the report’s findings.

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  • runda fhein

    It is unclear from this report to what degrees the university has been found to have official “model institutional protocols” in place regarding pedagogic rapport with respect to the nation of Israel. Also it is unclear to what extent these “protocols” enforce bigotry in or outside of the classrooms. But what is instantaneous clear is that StandWithUs seems to not wish an ontological line-in-the-sand be drawn between an ethnic/religious group and an independent nation with nuclear arms and a rogue administration. Coming from academia myself, I have great doubts that if the university leaned toward an anti-Syrian régime stance, that few would accuse the university of being anti-muslim, nor if attacks were made against judiciary corruption in Italy, that rebuttal of anti-Catholic sentiments would be feared by engaging faculty. The assumption too that all jewish students and staff support Israel, therefor “negatively impacting” them what-so-ever, is anti academic in its notion. Academia cannot be a scripture for popular sentiment nor for political correctness, especially when lives are on the line, wars encroaching around the corner, civil liberties are being questioned, and transparent governance is non-existent. Academia can no less ignore these debates of a nation like Israel than it can the United States. So to do so makes one no less American, no less a patriot, and no less proud, than it makes someone anti-Semite/anti-Jew (also, not one in the same). It makes them engaged and responsible academics, as well as great humanists.