Dr. Leila Beckwith, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at U.C.L.A. and Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a Hebrew and Jewish Studies lecturer at U.C. Santa Cruz are on a campaign to address anti-semitism at the campuses of the University of California. Both are on the Board of Directors of the non-profit think tank Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME). They are soliciting signatures for a letter they will send to the President of the U.C. system, Mark Yudof, to take action against this phenomenon.
According to these educators, anti-semitism, anti-Israel propaganda, and harassment of Jewish students at U.C. campuses is out of control. They claim that although the Regents of the University system have addressed issues of racism and discrimination against other ethnic groups, they have shown virtually no interest in addressing the Jewish question.
They sent a letter to President Yudof last June, but claim that nothing has been done. In their current letter they ask for:
-A Timeline for when the issue will be addressed substantively.
-Assurance that the U.C. system will not award, fund or recognize groups that call for the destruction of Israel or the murdering of Jews.
Benjamin even filed a federal complaint against U.C. Santa Cruz, with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights in 2009 charging that hardcore anti-Israel rhetoric by instructors in classrooms and at University-sponsored events, has created a hostile environment for Jewish students. She said that office opened an investigation into her complaint in March of this year.
In her essay, "Anti-Zionism and the abuse of Academic Freedom: A Case Study at the University of California, Santa Cruz," published online (2/1/09) at the site of the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs she writes:
"At an academic conference on campus in 2007, the speakers claimed that Zionism is an illegitimate ideology and argued for the elimination of the Jewish state. The unscholarly, political, and anti-semitic nature of the conference raises questions about whether events of this kind are a legitimate exercise of academic freedom or an abuse of it."
She also relates an example of a lecturer in the Community Studies department at her campus (UCSC), who was teaching a course on the Middle East conflict and used the student email list to encourage students to protest outside the Israeli Consulate in San Franciso. The protest would be about Israel's "destructive actions" in Lebanon and Gaza.
In their essay: "Are Jewish Student Safe on California Campuses?" (4/25/10) for American Thinker, Benjamin and Beckwith cite examples of extreme anti-semtism and anti-Israel activity at U.C. Irvine, a campus known for its' very active Muslim Students Association, (M.S.A.) This group was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egypt-based organization dedicated to imposing Sharia (Muslim law) onto a future worldwide Muslim empire established by Jihad.
The M.S.A. is active on nine of the ten U.C. campuses, various Cal. State campuses, and hundreds of campuses across the country. Several established terrorists are alumni of the M.S.A. at their campuses and the group can be linked to the funding of Hamas through various splinter organizations.
At U.C. Irvine, "the M.S.A. has been involved in acts of physical aggression, harassment, and intimidation of Jewish student," says the article. These include disrupting the speech of the Israeli Ambassador, producing posters equating the Star of David with the Nazi Swastika, hosting radical speakers such as Amir Abdel Malik Ali, who according to the article I am referencing said, (during a speech on campus from what I gather from the article) "victory or martyrdom are the only two viable options against the Zionist apartheid state."
This same essay mentions the powerful influence of the Al Awda organization. That's a group that, according to the Anti-Defamation League, supports Hamas, calls for the elimination of Israel, and wields influence on college campuses to promote divestiture from Israel.
It looks bleak for American Jews these days. They figured their messiah had finally come in the form of a confused and shifty adolescent champion of "social justice." What they didn't realize, despite his close friendship with former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi, the views of his surrogate father Reverend Wright, and his own Muslim-influenced childhood, is that the "social justice" may be intended for their enemies.
Is the Obama presidency empowering the Muslim Student movement and others on campus who want to air out their pent-up resentment toward Jews and Israel? I don't know, but I'm guessing it doesn't help.
These two professors must have a lot of courage to do what they are doing. I don't know their politics. They may be liberals themselves, who knows, but they are calling out their fellow professors and their administrators and drawing a line in the sand. They are saying it's not o.k. to use your teacher-pulpit to preach hatred, nor student funds or taxpayer dollars to demonize Jews or Israel.
For the record, they are not targeting the M.S.A. for abolishment. Whether that group is censured in any way will ultimately depend if the U.C. administration accepts the terms of this protest letter's demands and applies them to one of the obvious culprits.