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AMCHA Initiative Co-founders Challenge California Attorney General Regarding Anti-Semitic Web Pages

Letter from AMCHA Co-Founders to California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Deputy Attorney General Stepan Haytayan

June 7, 2012 3:48:09 PM PDT

Re: boycotting the Jewish state using public funds

Dear Attorney General Harris and Deputy Attorney General Haytayan:

We would like to bring to your attention an article that recently appeared in the Electronic Intifada, an online publication that promotes calls for the boycott of Israel. The article, entitled “In blow to Zionist censors, California backs professor’s right to call for Israel boycott on state university website,” celebrates your apparent refusal to prosecute CSU Northridge Professor David Klein for alleged misuse of state resources by posting his webpage promoting the boycott of Israel on the CSUN web server.

In the article, Klein is quoted as saying of your decision: “I hope that it is a source of encouragement to other faculty members to do similar things, to go ahead and take a public stand against apartheid in Israel and ethnic cleansing, and all the injustices there.”

Please understand that there are many California taxpayers, including ourselves and the group of concerned citizens we represent, who are deeply troubled by your decision and its impact on the Jewish community, particularly on Jewish students. As you may be aware, the U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism has declared that the academic boycott of Israel, which is prominently promoted on Klein’s website, is anti-Semitic. In addition, the Jewish community recognizes campaigns to boycott Israel as deliberate assaults on the Jewish state and the Jewish people, and mainstream Jewish organizations across the political spectrum have vigorously condemned these campaigns.

In our opinion, we believe that Prof. Klein’s calls for the boycott of Israel on his CSUN-hosted “Boycott Israel Resource” web page are in violation of the following California statutes:

  • California Education Code 89005.5, which provides that no one shall use the name of any California State University campus for political activity, including “boycott.”
  • California Government Code 8314, which states that it is unlawful for any state employee to use public resources for “personal or other purposes which are not authorized by law.”

Indeed, since you provide no explanation in your letter, we are puzzled as to why you concluded that Klein’s explicit and numerous calls for the boycott of Israel on his University-hosted website are not a violation of California law.

Therefore, in addition to our previous query requesting you to determine whether the personal attacks against us and our organization by Prof. Klein and Interim President Hellenbrand on their CSUN-hosted webpages constitute misuse of public resources, we, and many in the California Jewish community, would like to know the following: on what basis did you conclude that Prof. Klein’s University-hosted “Boycott Israel Resource” page was not a violation of state law?

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative

Leila Beckwith
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative

CSU Chancellor Charles Reed
CSU Presidents
CSU Board of Trustees
CSU General Counsel Christine Helwick
California Governor Jerry Brown
California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom
California Speaker of the Assembly John A. Perez
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
California Attorney General Kamala Harris
Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley
City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles Carmen A. Trutanich
Congressman Brad Sherman
Congressman Howard Berman
California State Senator Alex Padilla (Northridge)
California State Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (Northridge)

Members and supporters of the Jewish community

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