At a Sept. 27 UC Boards of Regent meeting at UCLA, the Israeli-American Coalition for Action and a third-year student at UCLA spoke out against UCLA for its plan to host the National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) conference in November.
The student, Justin Feldman, accused SJP of aiming to demonize Israel through “resolutions to boycott Israel, claiming that Israel is an apartheid state, and even comparing Israel to Nazi Germany —— all of which are officially defined as anti-Semitism by the United States State Department.”
Feldman proceeded to highlight what he called “disturbing” statements from various SJP members, including desires to “stuff some Jews in the oven” as well as inviting “speakers with proven connection to terrorist organizations such as Hamas.”
“Some are even convicted terrorists themselves, like Rasmea Odeh, who was convicted [in Israeli courts] and jailed for the murder of two Israelis and many more wounded,” Feldman said. “These are SJP’s role models. Does this sound like a human rights conference to you?”
Feldman added that the SJP conference will be closed to the public, arguing that this violates UCLA policy and that pro-Israel students should be allowed to attend in order to defend Israel and expose any instances of anti-Semitism that occurs at the conference.
“I ask you, the UC regents, to either prevent SJP from hosting this conference at UCLAâ€¦ or alternatively, require SJP to open its conference to all students,” Feldman said.
Subsequently, Jonathan Harris, director of the IAC for Action, cited tweets from SJP members that read, “May Allah curse the Jews, and that’s all,” “Where do Black Jews sit? Wait for itâ€¦IN THE BACK OF THE OVEN,” and “Give me a weapon and send me to Gaza.”
Harris added that 36 percent of Facebook and Twitter posts from people affiliated with SJP at an unnamed American university “endorsed terrorism and violence against Jews,” arguing that this showed that SJP is “anti-Semitic at its core.”
“A group rooted in hatred for Zionism and the rights of the Jewish people is coming to UCLA to celebrate itself and seek legitimacy in the realm of public discourse,” Harris said. “Would a group dedicated to the hatred of African-Americans be as welcome? Or perhaps a group routinely justifying violence against women? Such groups, clearly, would not be allowed, yet a national network promoting hatred and violence against Jews will come to UCLA. “
By allowing SJP to hold a conference that is closed to the public, Harris argued that UCLA is failing to abide by its anti-discrimination policy for Jewish and Israeli students.
“SJP’s hatred of Jews and Israel is racism,” Harris said, “violent, rationalized racism. And this conference in Los Angeles sends one clear signal to anti-Semites: ‘Come to UCLA — you are welcome here.’”
After the two spoke, UC Regent Sherry Lansing said that she had thought that UCLA required all conferences to be open and that it was “very concerning” that SJP’s conference is going to be closed to the public.
In an emailed statement to the Journal, that SJP’s national conference is still “in the early planning stages,” so it’s not yet clear if the event is going to be closed to the public.
“If the conference is not open to the entire campus community, it will not be eligible for University funding,” the statement read. “However, if the conference foregoes University funding, there is no systemwide or UCLA policy that would require the event to be open to the entire campus community.”
“There is a systemwide UC Policy that requires that certain Registered Campus Organization (RCO) events be open to all university community members. However, that policy applies only to events where compulsory campus-based student fees are used for the activity.”
UCLA has come under fire for agreeing to host the SJP conference; for instance, a petition from the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has called on UCLA to reverse its decision. More than 1,600 people have signed the petition as of publication time.
The description of the conference on SJP’s national website called for the destruction of Zionism and accused it of promoting “ethnic cleansing, destruction, mass expulsion, apartheid, and death.”
Read the article here.