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July 17, 2015 4:52 pm

California Lawmakers Approve Legislation Urging UCs to Adopt State Department Definition of Antisemitism

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California State Senate chamber. Photo: Wikipedia.

California State Senate chamber. Photo: Wikipedia.

A Jewish watchdog group that monitors antisemitism on college campuses welcomed news on Friday that the California senate approved legislation calling on the state’s public universities to adopt resolutions condemning antisemitism, as it is defined by the State Department.

“We commend the California Assembly and Senate for recognizing the alarming and frightening rise of antisemitism on campus and using the State Department definition to properly identify and address it,” said Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder of the Amcha Initiative, which was established in response to the recent uptick in antisemitic incidents on college campuses countrywide over the past few years.

“A critical step to fixing [the problem of antisemitism] on campus is for students and faculty to accurately comprehend contemporary antisemitism. We need a school-wide standard, a universal tool, for understanding antisemitism and preventing it. We look forward to working with the University of California to formally adopt the State Department definition of antisemitism across all 10 campuses,” said Rossman-Benjamin.

The State Department definition of antisemitism includes violence against Jews or stereotyping Jews as a group or collective. But it also includes efforts to demonize Israel or hold it to a double standard, or to delegitimize the Jewish state’s right to exist.

The UC regents are expected to discuss the issue of antisemitism on campus during their meeting late next week.

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