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ASUC Senate Passes Bill Condemning Anti-Semitism

Bianca Carrillo, The Brandeis Blog

February 26, 2015

Fantastic news for UC Berkley’s Jewish students came this week. On Wednesday, February 25th, the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) unanimously passed a bill in their senate that condemns campus anti-Semitism. Pushed forward by ASUC Senator Ori Herschmann and endorsed by prominent campus leaders like the ASUC President, the Jewish Student Union, and other ASUC Senators, this bill will be integral in fighting anti-Semitism and protecting Jewish students’ rights.

The passed bill also incorporates the US State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism and examples of contemporary anti-Semitism as the resolution’s official definition, which they define as:

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 [..]

The Brandeis Center endorses the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, and we commend UC Berkley for adopting this specific language in their resolution. To supplement the State Department’s definition and examples of anti-Semitism, the bill also describes the important 2004 policy guidance issued by the-Office for Civil Rights chief Kenneth L. Marcus, who is now President and General Counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center:

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance which extended to protect Jewish students in 2004 on the basis that Judaism is both a religion and an ethnicity.

Additionally, the bill cites anti-Semitic incidents at UC campuses over the last five years, including when the UCLA student government discriminated against a Jewish student and the swastika vandalism that took place at UC Davis.  Significantly, the resolution also calls for a meeting with Chancellor Dirks and the Dean of Students to discuss anti-Semitism. The bill also creates an ASUC committee that will actively fight against anti-Semitism as well as an Ad-Hoc committee that plans Holocaust Memorial Day programming. UC Berkley is about to see real change.

In light of recent events, including the events at UCLA and UC Davis, the timing of this bill was becoming increasingly more urgent. Our hope is that other universities, especially those that have experienced repeated issues with anti-Semitism, will implement similar legislation that actively fights anti-Semitism.

If you are concerned about anti-Semitism on your campus, or if you seek advice about best practices, contact us.

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Research Articles
and Reports
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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Neal M. Sher, Esq.
Neal M. Sher is founder of the Law Offices of Neal M. Sher and Of Counsel to Simon & Partners, LLP, where he specializes in litigation and government relations.
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