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May 11, 2017 1:53 pm

After Effort by New Pro-Israel Group on Campus, Chapman University Student Government Passes Resolution Condemning Antisemitism

avatar by Rachel Frommer

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Chapman University. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A pro-Israel student group in its infancy has succeeded in getting a resolution condemning antisemitism passed at its university.

The Students Supporting Israel (SSI) chapter at Orange County’s Chapman University — a group approved only this semester — won the student government’s support on Monday for a motion adopting the State Department’s definition of antisemitism, which includes demonization of, delegitimization of and holding double standards for Israel. No representatives voted against the measure, though three abstained.

Nicole Newman — the founder and president of Chapman’s SSI chapter — told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that immediately after gaining official student group status, she “wanted to do something proactive, to make a big difference — instead of sitting back, waiting for something to happen and then having to respond.”

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Newman said the motion — a version of similar SSI bills passed at other campuses across North America — did not mention the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement explicitly, “because we don’t have a BDS problem on our campus,” but that she believed it, with its stated recognition for the Jewish “collective right to self-determination,” will act as a deterrent to any BDS attempts that may arise in the future. (A chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine — a student group often behind BDS campaigns — was approved this semester at Chapman as well, according to Newman).

Newman started SSI to fill a need she saw at Chapman for a “strong, unabashed pro-Israel voice on campus,” that isn’t afraid to talk about the politics, culture and history of the Jewish people and Israel. A J Street U is active on campus, but Newman said, “I don’t consider them pro-Israel.”

This semester, the group has hosted IDF troops through an organization called Reservists on Duty and had a virtual reality program, where students could “experience” walking through the Old City of Jerusalem.

Next year, Newman said they will be focusing on getting the antisemitism motion approved by student government to be adopted by the administration.

In March, the SSI at Ohio’s Kent State University succeeded in getting a similar resolution passed.

Elsewhere in California, a group at a Santa Barbara campus was found last week to have used a falsified quote about expelling Arabs from Israel on their “apartheid wall” attributed to the Jewish state’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.

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