In a 12 to 0 vote, the student government at University of California at Los Angeles passed an initiative that will improve the lives of Jewish students on campus. This five-page resolution denounces all forms of anti-Semitism and protects Jewish students from future discrimination.
UCLA recently came under fire for their student government’s anti-Semitic review of a Jewish candidate, where the judicial board questioned whether or not a student being Jewish would affect her decisions on the board. In response, the Louis D. Brandeis Center blasted the council’s discriminatory behavior in a letter to the university. Since then, the student government has apologized for their wrongful actions. Now, the same student senators who challenged a council candidate on the basis of being Jewish have co-sponsored this very bill.
Importantly, UCLA has inserted the US State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism into their resolution, with examples:
Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. […]
Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews (often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion).
Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective—especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, the state of Israel, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations
However, UCLA’s resolution goes a step beyond definitions and examples; it includes the full definition of anti-Semitism by including three different, complex situations where anti-Semitism can appear:
“The United States State Department acknowledges that anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel and taking into account the overall context could include:
- Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis
- Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis
- Blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions
Double standards towards Israel:
- Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
- Multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations
- Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist.”
This resolution echoes the legislation that UC Berkley passed two weeks ago, which also made use of the State Department’s definition. However, UCLA’s resolution took extra, more comprehensive measures by acknowledging that anti-Semitism can encompass “Demonizing Israel,” “Double standards towards Israel,” and “Delegitimizing Israel.”
We commend UCLA for pairing their response of rightfully condemning their judicial board’s actions with such an appropriate and concrete resolution. This is a definitive step in the right direction, and hopefully we will see a declining number of anti-Semitic incidents at UCLA.