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February 25, 2015 6:12 pm

UCLA Student Vying for Student Government Asked if Jewishness is ‘Conflict of Interest’ (VIDEO)

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The UCLA student government board debated the candidacy of a Jewish student this month and questioned whether her religion could be a "conflict of interest." Photo: Screenshot from YouTube video of the debate.

JNS.orgThe University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) student government is under fire after questioning the candidacy of a Jewish student based on her religion.

When student Rachel Beyda applied to be a member of the UCLA Judicial Board, earlier this month, she was questioned on whether her Jewishness and her participation in Jewish life on campus could be a “conflict of interest,” according to a video of the debate on the issue posted by the USAC Live! YouTube account.

“Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community. How do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?” asked Fabienne Roth, one of the students who opposed Beyda’s candidacy.

Although Beyda was eventually approved for the position in a 9-0 vote, that decision only came about after a faculty member intervened to explain the difference between an actual “conflict of interest” and a “perceived conflict of interest,” which could apply to any member of the judicial board.

After the debate, UCLA’s undergraduate student government president, Avinoam Baral, told the Daily Bruin that “it was definitely very difficult” to listen to the board discuss the student’s candidacy because they “were quite clearly biased against her because of her Jewish identity and her affiliation to the community.”

Baral added that it was particularly difficult for him to hear the debate “as a Jewish student,” as it “echoed a centuries-long sort of connotation of Jews being unable to be truly loyal.” Baral is currently working on a draft resolution against anti-Semitism on campus.

In response to the incident, UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block issued a letter stating that “no student should feel threatened that they would be unable to participate in a university activity because of their religion.” Four students who opposed Beyda’s candidacy, including Roth, also made a public apology.

Watch a video of the incident below (the debate begins at 47:30):

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  • Dean Max

    How is this Anti-Semitism?
    I mean this lady simply asked a Question of FACTS.
    How can you ask a Question of FACTS can be anti anything, set aside Anti-Semitism?
    Which begs the question, what the hek is this Anti-Semitism?

  • brenrod

    I see that the video has been removed, obviously they are trying to hide their anti semitism which should be prosecuted.

  • brenrod

    its time to make these b@stards pay. I see it was a jewish surnamed student who led the despicable charge. Enough is enough! Those students should be expelled.

  • Steven

    My response to this is that now is the time to stand up and confront any racism and antisemitism in this country. Resources should be allocated to this end.
    The main point to hammer home is that no Arab country measures up in any way shape of firm to the democracy and individual freedom granted in the only democratic society in the middle east.
    The notion that somehow we apply a different standard to Israel is in itself anti semitic.
    We must stand up and continuously point this out to all the bleedingheart liberal anti semites and self hating Jews

  • Julian Clovelley

    Seems to me to be a legitimate question – with the equally legitimate answer “no”

    That’s how democracy works

    Nothing wrong here surely. She was elected 9 to Nil on the basis of her merits

    Congratulations to her. If your loyalties are secure there is nothing wrong with them being questioned. I would think a Muslim or a Christian Fundamentalist could equally validly be questioned.

    • Dale

      The point, Mr. Clovelley, is that Muslims and Christian Fundamenatlists are NOT questioned. Nor is any other spiritual belief system or lack there of. Just as Israel is held to different standards in global politics, this young woman was being judged differently because of her Jewishness. “That’s how democracy works,” said the German when Hitler was elected.