AMCHA Calls for California DOJ Investigation
New Evidence Exposes CSUN Mathematics Prof may be Violating State and Federal Law
At the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees meeting on January 29, 2014, the AMCHA Initiative announced that it is asking California Attorney General Kamala K. Harris to investigate CSU Northridge’s Professor David Klein. AMCHA Initiative contends that for four years Klein has illegally used CSUN’s name and resources to promote a personal, political agenda. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and StandWithUs also spoke at the meeting.
“Professor Klein is a math professor. You wouldn’t hire him as an International Affairs lecturer. You wouldn’t offer course credit to students if he decided to teach a class on Middle Eastern studies. His boycott websites are not educational; they are part of his personal mission to indoctrinate,” said AMCHA co-founder, Tammi Benjamin. “They’re not state business and should not be promoted on the taxpayer dime.”
The following new evidence demonstrates that Klein’s anti-Israel postings are personal, political propaganda and do not qualify as state business:
- CSU Trustees Did Not Give Permission: On September 25, 2013, CSU Interim General Counsel Andrew Jones confirmed that CSU Trustees did not give Klein permission to post his webpage promoting the boycott of Israel on the CSUN website. A violation of CAL. EDUC. CODE 89005.5(a)(2)(C) occurs if an individual uses the CSU name, without the permission of the CSU Trustees, “to display…this name publicly at, or in connection with any…propaganda, advertising, or promotional activity of any kind which has for its purpose or any part of its purpose the support, endorsement, advancement…of…boycott.”
- Klein uses CSU website for character defamation: In March 2012, Klein posted a link comparing AMCHA co-founder Rossman-Benjamin to a Nazi collaborator. The author of the link writes, “Rossman-Benjamin reminds me of the court academics who prostituted themselves in 1933 when the Nazis came to power.” The author posted three photographs of Rossman-Benjamin next to a photograph of Martin Heidegger, whose caption reads: “famous philosopher who lent his talents to the cause of the 3rd Reich,” and he accused her of “climbing into bed with Hitler supporters.” The author also calls her a “junk academic,” a “zombie,” and a “fruit cake.”
- Violates Federal Law: Federal law prohibits any state from engaging in the type of anti-Israel boycott activities advocated by Klein. Were the University to engage in such activities, it would be subject to federal sanctions, including fines and tax penalties. As a result, Klein’s advocacy may trigger an obligation by CSUN to report the anti-Israel boycott campaign to the U.S. Treasury and Commerce Departments.
“Freedom of speech is essential, but an attempt to demonize Israel and its Jewish supporters is antisemitic,” said Leila Beckwith, AMCHA’s other co-founder. “Antisemitism has no place on a college campus and certainly not on an official university website.”
The promotion of non-state business on official CSUN websites violates the following state and federal laws:
- CAL. GOV’T CODE 8314: Prohibits any state employee from using public resources for personal benefit.
- CAL. EDUC. CODE 89005: Prohibits the use of state-owned name CSUN for the purpose of promoting personal or political activities and propaganda, including boycotts.
- 50 U.S.C.App. § 2402 (5) and § 2407 (c): Make it illegal to for a state agency to engage in anti-Israel boycott activities.
A copy of the AMCHA Initiative’s letter to Attorney General Harris can be seen here.