Fighting Campus Hate
Over the past five years, a distorted and hostile attitude toward Israel has prevailed at the University of California-Santa Cruz, creating an intimidating environment for members of the campus community, particularly Jewish students. Much of the anti-Israeli bias has been generated by the university's predominantly leftist faculty members, who have injected their personal ideology into course curricula, classroom lectures and discussions, and events and speakers sponsored by departments, research groups, and colleges.
UCSC is home to a great deal of virulent anti-Israeli rhetoric, which creates an intimidating environment for many Jews on campus. Although such hostility can be found at many other universities, what is unique at UCSC is that the animus is not directed by the usual sources, such as well-funded Muslim student groups or faculty in a Middle East studies program. In fact, the UCSC Muslim Student Alliance is not very active; nor are other pro-Palestinian/anti-Israeli student groups such as the Committee for Justice in Palestine. And while there is a Jewish studies program, there is none for Middle East studies, and no known Arab/Muslim funding of university faculty or activities. Instead, at UCSC the anti-Israeli sentiment is primarily generated by a leftist faculty scattered throughout the university's academic units.
Twenty-two of the university's faculty members, including two department heads and a divisional dean, have signed the UC divestment petition, which calls on the U.S. government to cut off military aid to Israel and demands that the University of California divest from Israel and from all U.S. companies that sell military equipment to it. Nine faculty members have signed an open letter from American Jews urging the United States to end all aid to Israel, and four have signed a petition to boycott Israeli academics and research. . . .
Moreover, there has been a significant rise in activities that spill over into various forms of hate-speech demonizing both Israelis and Jews. Recent rallies and public lectures sponsored by student organizations and academic units have routinely pilloried Israel as "colonialist," "racist," "imperialist," and even "Nazi." Examples include: Imam Abdul Malik, invited to speak at UCSC by the Muslim Student Association and the local community group headed by former mayor Kennedy, publicly accused Jews of perpetrating the 9/11 attack.
Hedy Epstein, an eighty-year-old Holocaust survivor and member of the International Solidarity Movement speaking at the invitation of the Women's Studies Department at UCSC, compared Israel to a Nazi state and Israeli soldiers to Nazis.
A panel discussion, in which ancient anti-Semitic blood libel accusations about supposed Israeli atrocities went unchallenged by any of the panelists, was cosponsored by ten different research groups, departments, and colleges on campus (Beckwith, http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=19337, 9/2/05).
[TBC: American universities have made much of the professed tolerance that prevails upon campuses. It is clear, however, that a humanistic virtue such as tolerance is of limited value when it comes to Christians and Jews.]