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Sponsored trips to Israel become thorny issue in UCLA student elections




LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 28 2012:  Students go about their business at University of California,
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 28 2012: Students go about their business at University of California,
David McNew/Getty Images

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A group of UCLA students that advocate for Palestinian rights and recognition of the Armenian genocide urged candidates running for student-body president to sign a pledge promising they won't visit Israel on trips sponsored by certain lobbying organizations, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The group was able to get more than half of the candidates to sign the document.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and UC President Janet Napolitano both criticized the move. "I am troubled that the pledge sought to delegitimize educational trips offered by some organizations but not others," Block wrote in an email that was sent out to students Friday. "I am troubled that the pledge can reasonably be seen as trying to eliminate selected viewpoints from the discussion." Student Gabriel Levine says the free trips are from external organizations that have political agendas or histories of marginalizing student communities on campus.

Does taking a trip to Israel sponsored by particular advocacy groups automatically color an individual’s politics? Should it be an issue in student elections?

Guests:

Gabriel Levine, Member of Jewish Voice for Peace at UCLA; Co-Author of the “Joint Statement on USAC ( ) Ethics”

Eytan Davidovits, President, Bruins for Israel, a student and pro-Israel organization at UCLA, Junior, Economics