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August 22, 2016 2:23 pm

‘Slap on Wrist’ of Violent Anti-Israel Student Protesters at UC Irvine ‘Feckless Punishment,’ Say Campus, Legal Groups

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Photo: UC Irvine.

The UC Irvine campus. Photo: UC Irvine.

The heads of major campus groups told The Algemeiner on Monday that they are outraged by the mild response of the University of California, Irvine (UCI) to the violent behavior of an anti-Israel student organization on its campus.

Referring to a letter sent late last week by UCI’s vice chancellor of student affairs criticizing Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) for “disrupting” a pro-Israel event, Ilan Sinelnikov, founder and president of Students Supporting Israel (SSI) — whose UCI chapter was the target of SJP’s violent protest in May — said, “UCI has turned its back on the Jewish and pro-Israel campus community.”

He continued, “On the one hand, the school writes that SJP broke the student code of conduct. On the other hand, the punishment is no more than a written warning and that SJP needs to host an ‘educational event.’ SSI and many other pro-Israel groups that worked with the university during its investigation believed the school would come up with just and fair results.”

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Roz Rothstein, CEO and co-founder of Israel advocacy group StandWithUs, expressed “disappointment that SJP is not facing more serious consequences” from the university.

“This is not the first time anti-Israel extremists have attempted to shut down free speech at UCI, and we hope to see a no tolerance policy for this kind of behavior this year,” she told The Algemeiner. “UCI was the first university to publicly commit itself to implementing the UC Regents Principles Against Intolerance, and we hope to see greater accountability for racism and anti-Israel extremism going forward.”

Aron Hier, director of Campus Outreach for the human rights organization the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called UCI’s written reprimand to SJP “a completely feckless ‘punishment.’”

“The university’s message here is clear,” he told The Algemeiner. “Pro-Israel free speech deserves less First Amendment protection than other forms of free speech.”

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, the head of campus watchdog group the AMCHA Initiative, questioned whether UCI’s punishment of SJP “is consistent with disciplinary measures that would be handed down to members of any registered student organization that had engaged in similar acts of harassment, intimidation, bullying and suppression of speech directed against any other racial, ethnic or gender group on campus.”

Antisemitism expert Kenneth L. Marcus — president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law — told The Algemeiner his organization is “glad that UCI has finally acknowledged that SJP’s disruptive behavior violates University of California policies.” Nevertheless, he said, the letter of warning that was the upshot of the investigation is “an insult to the victims of SJP’s activities and to the entire Jewish community.” UCI administrators “need to do more than…apply slaps on the wrist,” he said.

In a joint statement provided to The Algemeiner by Hillel International, Orange County Hillel and the Rose Project of Jewish Federation and Family Services, the groups said that while acknowledging SJP’s violation is “a step in the right direction…further action is needed to ensure Jewish students are protected and afforded the right to free speech and assembly, and to make clear that efforts to thwart those freedoms by groups or individuals will not be tolerated.”

UCI’s decision was reached following a drawn out investigation after, as reported by The Algemeiner, SJP and other anti-Israel student groups at UCI violently demonstrated against a SSI event featuring IDF veterans and the screening of a movie about the Israeli army.

The UCI investigation found SJP in violation of university policy, which included “obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, or other University activities.” SJP was issued a written warning and ordered to host an educational program by November 2016.

According to reports at the time, the protesters blockaded attendees and shouted slogans like, “Long live the intifada,” “f*** the police,” “displacing people since ’48 / there’s nothing here to celebrate,” and “all white people need to die.” One female student was forced to take refuge inside a nearby building. Police were eventually called in, but the protest was allowed to continue.

In July, as reported by The Algemeiner, UCI’s chapter of SJP came under investigation by the Orange County District Attorney’s office to determine whether the protesters’ behavior was criminal. The DA’s office concluded that SJP did not engage in any criminal wrongdoing.

The results of UCI’s investigation come on the heels of an AMCHA report, which found a dramatic rise in attacks against Jewish and pro-Israel students across more than 100 US college campuses between January and June 2016. According to the report’s findings, antisemitic incidents on college campuses increased by 45 percent as compared with the same time period in 2015.

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  • Purhaps these “virently antisemitic hate groups” need a taste of their own medicine. If they want to do physical intimidation and the University is not willing to expell them, then it is incumbent upon Jews and lovers of Israel to tak matters into their own hands

  • Yale

    I hope UCI is planning on vetting the “educational program” they have demanded SJP conduct in November. If it turns out to be an anti-Semitic hatefest, then they will have simply made the situation worse.

    • Alan Margolies

      Why aren’t title IX school administrators being held to the California Regents decree for UC campus’ and federal protocol? Why isn’t some group, any group especially Stand With Us sending letters and filing law suites against these egregious anti-Semitic acts by the low-life Muslims on our campus’? Why haven’t these groups been banned from our Universities? Why do these rejects from the Middle East be allowed to spew they hatred across our country? Are we becoming a fascist state? If we don’t fight back it will be getting worse and worse until one of us gets killed and the ones of us with guts picks up arms. Then these “human being” will have brought their disgusting war here. They already have brought their hatred. Where the hell are our leaders? C’mon Roz, use more of your legal education to effect a change in this abomination of American ideals.

  • Myron Slater

    If this type of behavior is allowed to continue on campuses, it’s back to Germany, 1920s. That was the start of Natizisn, by standing by and not reacting, it allowed the hate to grow!

  • These students should come to Israel’s universities. There is enough going on in English For them to learn and qualify here.

  • diane

    I am sadden and find that UCI is a disgrace to the future of our children and grandchildren. This is one University that I would not want my family members attending.I am also very saddened that past members of my family attended this University. I also find it ironic that our schools in the elementary level teach our little ones not to bully and that we are all equal and on the other hand the Universities will not keep our students safe, what a bunch of two face cowards.All these universities that allow hate crimes are a disgrace to human kind. Also we all know that the police are not perfect by all means that are also human but the University should of expelled these student for disgracing our police officers. Shame on all our U.S. Universities and colleges for not having a back bone.
    But of course some of these students learn from the best and that’s their parents, shame on you, do you not see that you are paying tuition for your children to be hateful towards another human being. An education and a degree or two is nothing without having caring,compassion and love for other people, so you parents and so called teachers or if you even dare to call yourself a professor have some kind of back bone to speak up to your kids and students against their hateful behavior.

  • Ephraim

    I am afraid that if you are relying on California university administrations to pursue justice, you might as well ask David Duke to conduct a Passover Seder. As they are totally allied with the neoNazis on campus, they would act to protect Jewish students just as quickly as would Heinrich Himmler.

  • Lia

    I know this sounds like a retreat, but why do the Jewish students still try to civilise the barbarians? Their tuition fees and every other cent they contribute to the Uni’s projects, enables the uncivilised behaviour. Simply stop carrying this weak-kneed admin by donations & contributions and by your (the Jewish students’) outstanding academic achievements.

  • ROY J. KENDALL

    check out the USS LIBERTY June 8, 1967.

    • Mr. Kendall, if you read the book “The War Against Israel” by Loftus and Aarons, it states that the Johnson administration committed an act of war against Israel by having the Liberty radio all Israeli troop movements and positions to the Egyptians.

    • Efrem

      Check out OPERATION SOLOMON May 24 and 25, 1991.

  • Yaakov

    Where is the editor? A comma after “Irvine” is required.

    If no further disruption of pro-Israel events occurs, then the desired results will have been achieved.

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