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California Regents Denounce Anti-Zionism

March 23, 2016

 

Washington, DC, – This morning, the Regents of the University of California unanimously adopted a landmark set of Principles Against Intolerance. The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law commends the Regents for this historic statement.

LDB’s Kenneth L. Marcus, who served as one of the Regents’ two national experts on anti-Semitism, commented, “This is a great Purim gift from the Regents to the Jewish community! It is truly reason to celebrate.”

Marcus elaborated, “Jewish students now have an important protection against the anti-Semitic harassment, especially when it takes the form of anti-Zionism. The Regents were right to clarify that they are denouncing the forms of anti-Zionism that are anti-Semitic. Unfortunately, much contemporary anti-Zionism is indeed anti-Semitic, especially when it demonizes Israel, and delegitimizes the Jewish state, and subjects it to double standards.”

Significantly, the Regents’ announced that “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.”

In a major policy statement, the Regents stated that, "Anti Semitism, anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California." The Regents also emphasized the need to protect freedom of speech.

Marcus commented, “This is a significant advance, even if it could have been better. I would have preferred for the Regents to clarify precisely which forms of anti-Zionism are anti-Semitic within the meaning of their now policy. This work will need to be done, either by the Regents or by the university’s senior administrative leadership.”

Marcus added, “This is not the end of the war, but it is an important success in the field of battle. Now we need to clarify, at the University of California and throughout the country, which forms of anti-Zionism we are talking about when we discuss the ‘anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism.’”

There is much credit to go around. Marcus commented, “Regent Norm Pattiz is especially to be commended for his leadership, as is Chairman Eddie Island.”
   


 
 
 
 
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Over 50% of Jewish American college students report that they experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism on their campuses during the 2013-2014 academic year. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has announced that campus anti-Semitism “is a serious problem which warrants further attention.” Campus anti-Semitism can include subjecting Jewish students to different treatment, harassment, violence or a hostile environment. In some cases, campus anti-Semitism is related to anti-Israel sentiment. In other cases, it is not. For most purposes, we define anti-Semitism according to the U.S. Department of State definition of anti-Semitism. .
 
 
 
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Lesley Klaff
Lesley Klaff is a senior lecturer in law at Sheffield Hallam University and an affiliate professor of law at Haifa University. She is expert in law and anti-Semitism, social and legal theory, and the English legal system.
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