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UC Intolerance Principles A Step in the Right Direction
by via Jewish Voice for Peace
Friday Sep 25th, 2015 1:26 AM
Jewish Voice for Peace commends the University of California for discussing anti-Semitism in the context of racism, Islamophobia, and other forms of bigotry
Irvine, CA (September 17, 2015)—Jewish Voice for Peace commends the University of California Regents for considering today a statement of principles against intolerance that articulate opposition to all forms of bigotry and hatred. While the statement of principles could be strengthened by a better analysis of how institutional structures, not just intolerance, perpetuate racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of hatred, we are pleased that the document under discussion includes strong provisions regarding protection of freedom of speech and academic freedom.

The statement (see PDF) under discussion at the UC Regents meeting today rightfully does not include the controversial State Department definition of anti-Semitism. This particular definition of anti-Semitism includes vague provisions that can and have been used to stifle legitimate criticism of the State of Israel, and falsely conflates Jewish people with the State of Israel. Advocates of this particular definition of anti-Semitism want it adopted explicitly because it would codify advocacy for Palestinian rights through the tactics of boycott, divestment and sanctions as anti-Semitic.

Eitan Peled, a student at UCLA and Israeli-American citizen, stated: “As a Jewish student on a UC campus, it is frustrating to hear Israel advocacy organizations make false claims that activism for Palestinian rights makes campuses a ‘hostile environment’ for Jewish students. Many of us are actively involved in solidarity work with Palestinian classmates, and we see how these charges are used in attempts to silence human rights advocacy. As an Israeli citizen, this could even be used to stifle me criticizing my own country.”

Dr. Tallie Ben Daniel, Academic Council Coordinator with Jewish Voice for Peace and UC alum, added “The institutionalized racism and Islamophobia on campus, and the repression against Arab and Muslim students who speak up for Palestinian rights is extremely concerning. As an alum and current instructor in the UC system, I value my students’ rights to open and frank discussion. I am concerned that some in the public comment session today seemed to prioritize the emotional discomfort of some Jewish students over academic inquiry into critical issues relating to Israel and Palestine.”

The Statement of Principles are a step in the right direction. The UC system as a whole can undoubtedly do more than to ensure that the UC system adequately addresses issues of intolerance and institutionalized discrimination on its campuses. For example, well-funded initiatives to recruit and retain faculty and students of color would be a welcome addition to these principles, as would initiatives to make the university system more welcoming to undocumented students and gender nonconforming students.

Jewish Voice for Peace encourages the UC Office of the President to continue talking to a diverse range of students as they discuss how best to oppose intolerance while continuing to protect academic freedom and freedom of speech, and implores the UC to refrain from adopting any definition of anti-Semitism that conflates Judaism with the State of Israel.


Jewish Voice for Peace ( is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. Jewish Voice for Peace has over 200,000 online supporters, over 65 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.

Jewish Voice for Peace
§Regents of the University of California’s Statement of Principles Against Intolerance
by via Jewish Voice for Peace Friday Sep 25th, 2015 1:26 AM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by PrionPatyy
Monday Sep 28th, 2015 9:52 PM
Free Tibet!!!

That used to mean something to decent people in Ca.

Now it can be banned if some Chinese guy feels offended.
by PrionPartyy
Wednesday Sep 30th, 2015 6:18 PM
University, root word, universe. Encompassing ALL.

What they are pushing is not a university.

Thesis antithesis debate disclosure synthesis.

If where you are does not have these things, it is not a university.
by via UC Santa Cruz Faculty Association
Friday Oct 16th, 2015 6:14 PM
The Council of University of California Faculty Associations and the American Association of University Professors write to protest the following remarks made by University of California Regent Richard Blum and then supported by Regent Hadi Makarechian during the discussion of a proposed Statement of Principles Against Intolerance at the Board of Regents meeting on September 17, 2015:

“I should add that over the weekend my wife, your senior Senator, and I talked about this issue at length. She wants to stay out of the conversation publicly but if we do not do the right thing she will engage publicly and is prepared to be critical of this university if we don’t have the kind of not only statement but penalties for those who commit what you can call them crimes, call them whatever you want. Students that do the things that have been cited here today probably ought to have a dismissal or a suspension from school. I don’t know how many of you feel strongly that way but my wife does and so do I.”

These remarks by Regent Blum explicitly invoke his wife, U.S. Senator from California Dianne Feinstein, and threaten negative political consequences for the University if the proposed Statement of Principles Against Intolerance is not revised so as to be agreeable to him and Senator Feinstein. As such, they violate the spirit, if not the letter, of Article IX, Section 9 of the California Constitution, which declares that “The university shall be entirely independent of all political or sectarian influence and kept free therefrom in the appointment of its regents and in the administration of its affairs.”

Whatever varied opinions we may hold on the proposed Statement of Principles or any other matter for University discussion, we should all join in rejecting any attempt by a Regent to influence University deliberations by calling on external political forces in this manner.
The complex and competing issues involved in developing a suitable Statement of Principles Against Intolerance are matters of discussion and intellectual inquiry within the University. The purpose of academic freedom is to protect such inquiry from external political interference, and it is the duty of the members of the Board of Regents to uphold academic freedom and to protect the university from external constraints on this freedom. So it is very troubling to hear a Regent make statements that directly undermine free inquiry and the independence of the University. It is particularly disconcerting in this case, because among the central issues are academic freedom and free speech.

We understand that individual Regents, in their private capacity, like many others in the community, may hold strong views on this and many other issues. However, in their official capacity, the Regents have the responsibility to uphold the rights of University administrators and faculty to determine internal University policies through established processes of shared governance free of external political pressure and threats from any source, including the Regents’ own spouses, relatives and friends. We call upon the Regents, the President, and the Provost to provide explicit assurances that they will support and protect the independence and integrity of the continuing discussions of a possible Statement of Principles Against Intolerance.

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