UCLA Hillel Fight Against Campus Antisemitism Gains Community Support

Influential Synagogue sends letter to congregation urging their support.

The plans announced by Hillel at UCLA to combat the campus anti-Semitism and the bullying of Israel supporters has picked up key community support.

Sinai Temple whose Rabbi David Wolpe -- who was called the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post -- sent an email to its congregation urging support of the UCLA Hillel effort. The letter said in part, that the anti-Semitism on campus is "attempting to disqualify a generation of pro-Israel students from campus leadership and add to the rising presence of the BDS movement."​

Along with targeted harassment of  a Jewish students by the campus Muslim magazine, Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace (named as one of the top ten anti-Israel organizations in America), the Muslim Student Association (associated with the Muslim Brotherhood), the Afrikan Student Union, and the Armenian Students’ Association have banded together to promote an "ethics statement" which asked student government candidates to prohibit themselves from visiting Israel with pro-Israel organizations.

When news of this proposal first came to light, Israel on Campus Coalition Executive Director Jacob Baime told TruthRevolt, "“College students should be encouraged to explore and engage the world" and that he hoped students are "not intimidated by closed-minded zealots with their heads in the sand.”​

Rabbi Aaron Lerner of the UCLA Hillel sent a letter to the community asking for help. Temple Sinai responded with an email to its congregation almost immediately:

Dear Sinai Temple Community,

We want to bring to your attention the most recent events affecting the UCLA community:

We are informed that before elections for UCLA student government offices, candidates running to serve as officers in the undergraduate student government at UCLA were asked to sign an ethics statement, a pledge that they will not go on certain free or sponsored trips to Israel, AIPAC Policy Conference, etc. The pledge would require council members to abstain from participating in trips paid for or partially sponsored by American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Hasbara Fellowships.  

This sentiment speaks to UCLA attempting to disqualify a generation of pro-Israel students from campus leadership and add to the rising presence of the BDS movement -- BDS is the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign which targets and demonizes Israel.

The Sinai Temple Israel Center supports the UCLA Jewish community and stands by her side at this trying time. We pledge our commitment to the strengthening of ties within the Jewish community and our obligation to visit the land of Israel. An attack on our students’ right to express their Jewish identity and love for Israel is an attack against the entire Jewish community, here in Los Angeles and abroad.

Bruins for Israel, supported by Hillel at UCLA, has organized a petition which condemns this type of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish activity and outlines positive steps to promote respectful and inclusive conversation among all UCLA students.  If you are an alum or know of alumni and current students, we invite you to sign your name to this statement (http://www.bruinsforisrael.com/statement/) and join the Bruins Against BDS Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/StopBDSatUCLA).

May our Sinai Temple community stand united with the UCLA Jewish student body,

The Sinai Temple Israel Center