On 16th March this year AntiSemitismWatch, alongside other groups, launched an action alert rallying cry in order to lobby the University of California over its forthcoming vote on revising its policy on intolerance. The was against the backdrop of several high-profile anti-Semitic incidents across its campuses.
The regents’ vote Wednesday does, however, represent a form of compromise between the demands of free speech advocates, who claimed that a blanket condemnation of anti-Zionism would suppress legitimate criticism of Israel, and Jewish groups seeking to protect pro-Israel Jewish students from harassment and discrimination.
The approved “Principles Against Intolerance” — which condemns all forms of discrimination and affirms the legal right to academic freedom and free speech — accepts a link between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism but not language.
The report did not specify punishments, but urged educators to “challenge” bias and affirmed the importance of “mutual respect and civility.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Wednesday’s vote took place at a “packed” meeting. Abraham Oved, a student regent said at the meeting, that the statement under consideration “unequivocally embraces the First Amendment” yet protects students who have been called “Zionist pigs” or been told “Zionist pigs should be sent back to the gas chambers.”
AntiSemitismWatch says this demonstrates, yet again, how agile, grassroots, community based activism can be harnessed to achieve change.