After a number of recent incidents at UCLA made headlines for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity, the welcoming image of the university seems to be deteriorating within the Jewish community. Prospective Jewish students are allegedly rejecting offers of acceptance to UCLA for fear of entering a hostile learning environment, and donors are allegedly pulling funds from what they see as an institution of intolerance for Jews.
In a recent interview with the Jewish Journal, UCLA’s Chancellor Block expressed his thoughts on anti-Semitic activities occurring on UC campuses. Block responded to criticism of a statement he had released last month, grouping the incident of a Jewish student potentially rejected from UCLA’s judicial board because of her faith with David Horowitz’s posters, which had linked Students for Justice in Palestine with Hamas terrorists.
He moved on to compare Horowitz’s posters with another form of “intolerance;” this time, that of Swastikas painted on a Jewish fraternity at UC Davis.
JJ: Shortly after that was the incident with the posters around campus [by Jewish activist David Horowitz’s group comparing the Students for Justice in Palestine to the terrorist group Hamas]. What was your immediate reaction to that?
Block: Well, another example of intolerance. Very different in nature, and it turned out it was external to campus, it wasn’t people internal to campus. I met with Muslim students who feel very threatened by those types of posters. And I thought again, an act of intolerance. Different issue. Very different issue. But again, something that our community needs to address, and in this case it was not our community. Actually our community responded uniformly in abhorrence to these posters, but it concerns me. It concerns me that there were swastikas at UC Davis, that’s horrendous. These posters were highly inflammatory. It’s concerning.
Block emphasized that he had not said that the Beyda incident and Horowitz’s posters were the same. It was apparent, though, after the interview, that he saw Horowitz’s posters as being as threatening to Muslim students as swastikas painted on a Jewish fraternity.