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October 21, 2022 1:41 pm
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University of California Newspaper Demands Action Against Antisemitism After Series of Incidents

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Hart Hall at the University of California, Davis. Photo: Wayne Hsieh/Flickr.

The school newspaper of University of University of California-Davis is urging administrators to “do more to support the Jewish community,” after a series of antisemitic incidents which have occurred on and near the campus since 2015.

On Friday, the editorial board of The California Aggie charged that the university’s response was inadeuqate to the litany of incidents which include the graffitiing of several swastikas and antisemitic banners which were hung by a far-right group on the overpass of a nearby highway.

“General condemnation and a vague plan of action does not sufficiently address the discriminatory threats or provide genuine support and relief to the Jewish community,” the Aggie said. “Neither does a single link to the Student Health and Counseling Services, provided at the end of the statement, as these counselors may not be specifically trained to support students in the event of a hate incident.”

The editorial board further said that neither the university’s nor law enforcement’s actions have deterred antisemitic hate incidents throughout the city of Davis. It suggested that prevention on campus could be achieved by disclosing the identities of students guilty of committing them and the punishments they received, arguing that “this could discourage people from taking part in similar incidents in the future.”

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In August, law student groups at UC Davis’ sister campus, University of California-Berkeley, adopted a policy of banning Zionists from speaking at the UC Berkeley Law. Jewish groups and leaders denounced it for creating “Jewish Free Zones,” with Louis D. Brandeis Center chairman and founder Kenneth B. Marcus describing it as a “moral shame.”

Friday’s editorial condemned that policy as “a violation of first amendment rights to free speech that is undeniably rooted in antisemitism.”

The paper concluded with a call for the campus community to look inward, noting that antisemitic incidents across the country have risen 34% this year.

“All administrators, students, and faculty must ensure that our campus supports freedom of expression, stands with the Jewish community, and actively works to prevent future incidents of hate,” it said.

On Friday, Roz Rothstein, CEO and founder of the Los Angeles based nonprofit, StandWithUs, which fights antisemitism and provides educational programming about Israel, commended the editorial for “making clear that antisemitism has no place on or off campus.”

“However, the condemnations on their own are not enough,” she continued. “To curb this disturbing rise in antisemitism effectively requires education and action. Without support from leadership and the broader community to identify and take swift and meaningful action against antisemitism, how can Jewish students feel safe on campus?”

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