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Why Jewish advocacy groups are at odds over UC proposal on intolerance




A stock image shows the campus of UCLA. A new report says that despite recent tuition hikes at UC campuses, most families with annual incomes under $110,000 did not end up paying more.
A stock image shows the campus of UCLA. A new report says that despite recent tuition hikes at UC campuses, most families with annual incomes under $110,000 did not end up paying more.
Stock photo from Bogdan Migulski/Flickr Creative Commons

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In response to several on-campus incidents aimed at Jewish students, University of California officials have released a proposal on intolerance that identify several forms of discrimination that are unacceptable on campus.

While the aim of the statement is an attempt to differentiate between instances of free speech and discrimination, some say the UC missed the mark in tying anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism.

“In particular,” the statement says in part, “opposition to Zionism often is expressed in ways that are not simply statements of disagreement over politics and policy, but also assertions of prejudice and intolerance toward Jewish people and culture. Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California.”

Critics say the statement misses the point in tying anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism because anti-Semitism is a form of bigotry while anti-Zionism is simply a political belief, and that to suppress those beliefs would be a violation of free speech. There’s also concern that conflating the two terms dilutes the meaning of anti-Semitism.

Guests:

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder and director of the AMCHA Initiative, an organization that works to combat anti-Semitism on college campuses

Tallie Ben Daniel, academic council coordinator at Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization that advocates for security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians