Last night, the UCLA student government voted unanimously to pass a resolution supposedly condemning anti-Semitism on campus. The resolution was proposed in response to the incident of a student being potentially denied a position the school’s judicial board for being Jewish.
USAC president Avinoam Baral and representatives Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed, Sofia Moreno Haq, Fabienne Roth, and Manjot Singh proposed the resolution. The four USAC representatives apologized for their anti-Semitic behavior at a USAC meeting just last month. According to the Daily Bruin:
Before voting on the resolution, [Sofia Moreno] Haq said she thinks the comments at the Feb. 10 meeting were misconstrued by the press and on social media, but she condemns anti-Semitism.
Singh said as a Sikh he understands the bias people of a religious minority can face and he doesn’t wish discrimination on anyone.
Sadeghi-Movahed said she thinks some questions councilmembers asked Beyda oppressed the Jewish community. She added that she thinks the councilmembers who made the comments have to work to repair the relationship between themselves and the Jewish community.
“Personally, I don’t think that (the apology and resolution) suffice, but I will only speak for myself,” Sadeghi-Movahed said.
Roth said she doesn’t think the resolution should be the only solution to address ignorance and anti-Semitism on campus, but she thinks it is a good first step because it includes diversity training.
During the time designated for public comment, over 100 students including members of Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, J Street, Bruins for Israel, and others voiced their opinions about the resolution.
SJP Education and Resources Director Faria Tahir commented that while she supports condemnation of anti-Semitism on campus, she is concerned about allowing it to “override students’ right to legitimate political critique [of Israel] as a result.” She also noted how BFI and Hillel had contributed to the legitimization of her pro-Hamas student group, SJP.
Even more noteworthy than these posters, was the support we received from student groups such as BFI, Hillel, and from Avinoam Baral our USAC President. They all helped take down the posters and emailed Students for Justice in Palestine out of concern for our well-being. What this showed us was that while communities may have decisive political disagreements, all of us can engage in productive critique. We can still exchange ideas even though we have political differences…Those of us who support BDS and the Palestinian struggle for equality do so precisely because of the belief that everyone should live free of discrimination and not have any right denied to them based on ethnoreligious identification. Let’s not forget the progress we made a few weeks back. Let’s keep moving forward, and reject the confusion between political criticism and genuine discrimination.
Another attendee noted SJP’s remarks that the Jewish pro-Israel community led by Hillel and BFI had personally reached out to SJP in solidarity.
Others took to Facebook to express their concerns for the outcome of the resolution.
Aside from advertising to the world that UCLA is now anti-Semitism-free, the resolution proves to be useless in promoting any kind of effective action. Worse, the resolution has created a platform for pro-Hamas SJP leaders to spew their lies and hatred for Israel without being regarded by anti-Semitic by the pro-Israel community at UCLA, which is already so eager to accommodate them. As stated in the resolution,
WHEREAS, 'criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic,'
The “resolution against anti-Semitism” is indeed a resolution against anti-Israel rhetoric from SJP being regarded as anti-Semitism.
Hillel at UCLA denied comment to TruthRevolt on the issue.
(photo credit: Mati Cohen)