Union of Student Workers Represents all TA’s, Tutors and Readers at 9 UC Campuses

Contact: Nicole Rosen


Santa Cruz, CA, August 12, 2014 – Following a scathing antisemitic statement released by the Union of Student Workers promoting the boycott of Israel and exclaiming the need to “educate” others on the “settler-colonial” and “apartheid” nature of the Jewish state, twelve groups, today, urged University of California President Napolitano to intervene and ensure that hate-filled propaganda is not brought to UC classrooms.

The 83-member joint council of UAW 2865, representing all of the TA’s, tutors and readers at the 9 teaching campuses of the University of California, issued its statement outlining the union’s intent to support the anti-Israel and antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and to seek a full-membership vote on the statement this coming year.

In addition, the union leadership declared in the statement that it is their “responsibility as educators to both learn about and teach the social issues of our time, including…the struggle of the Palestinian people for liberation from settler-colonialism and apartheid.”

“While we support the right of every member of the UAW 2865 to exercise his or her freedom of speech outside of the instructional setting,” wrote AMCHA Initiative and the 11 other groups, “we are greatly concerned that these union members, who are responsible for instructing undergraduate students on 9 UC campuses, will bring their unscholarly, politically-motivated and antisemitic propaganda and advocacy into UC classrooms, where it certainly does not belong.”

The groups pointed out to Napolitano that “teaching undergraduate students one-sided propaganda which falsely alleges that Israel is a “settler colonial” and “apartheid” state worthy of elimination and promoting an antisemitic boycott of Israel do not constitute education but unabashed political indoctrination, which is expressly forbidden by the UC Regents in their Policy on Course Content (also known as the Regents Policy on Academic Freedom).”

Noting Jewish students had already reported in the UC Jewish Student Campus Climate Report that campus-based BDS activities “project hostility, engender a feeling of isolation, and undermine Jewish students’ sense of belonging and engagement,” the groups warned that “if TA’s, tutors and readers feel free to “teach” anti-Israel propaganda and promote BDS to their undergraduates, it can’t help but create a hostile, antisemitic environment for many Jewish students.”

In seeking the protection and well-being of Jewish students on UC campuses, the groups urged Napolitano to reaffirm the UC Regents Policy on Course Content as well as provide public assurances that UAW 2865 members will not be allowed to promote hateful antisemitic propaganda or the boycott of Israel as part of their contractual teaching responsibilities at the University of California, among other requests.

The letter was sent from AMCHA Initiative, Americans for Peace and Tolerance, Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, Hasbara Fellowships, Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs, The Lawfare Project and Zionist Organization of America.

A copy of the full letter can be seen here.

AMCHA Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to investigating, documenting, educating about, and combating anti-Semitism at institutions of higher education in America. AMCHA Initiative’s efforts are bolstered by a network of more than 5,000 members and supporters of the Jewish community — including university alumni, parents and grandparents, rabbis, religious school principals and synagogue members — who have joined together to speak in one voice to ensure the safety and well-being of Jewish students on college and university campuses across the country.