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Contact: Nicole Rosen

Santa Cruz, CA, March 20, 2024 – Against the backdrop of an unprecedented surge in antisemitic activity on University of California (UC) campuses, AMCHA Initiative today released a new report which found a staggering increase of 1100% in anti-Zionist advocacy and activism by UC faculty since Oct. 7. The report was sent to the Regents, who are holding their monthly meeting in Los Angeles today and tomorrow.

Previous AMCHA research had suggested that anti-Zionist faculty play a pivotal role in fomenting the anti-Israel sentiment that fuels campus antisemitism and hostility towards supporters of the Jewish state. AMCHA’s current study looked at incidents, including lectures, statements and rallies, involving anti-Zionist advocacy and activism carried out by UC faculty, often in their official UC capacities, on UC’s ten campuses between 10/7/23 and 3/15/24 and compared it to the same 23-week period one year ago.  The researchers found a ten-fold increase, from 8 to 94 incidents.

These incidents involved individual faculty members, which increased from 6 to 30 incidents, as well as academic departments, which increased from 5 to 24. The department-driven incidents involved 25 different UC departments on 8 campuses.

The study also found that many incidents involved faculty organizations, especially Faculty for Justice in Palestine (FJP), which was established on all UC campuses after October 7, 2023 for the express purpose of providing support for their campus’ SJP groups and using their faculty positions to promote anti-Zionist advocacy and activism. FJP and other faculty organizations contributed to 38 of the faculty-related incidents.

Separately, the Chairwoman of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce yesterday sent a letter to UC Berkeley and UC leadership announcing her committee’s investigation into Berkeley’s failure to protect Jewish students, citing the role of UC Berkeley faculty in the surge in antisemitism.

Examples of UC faculty activity cited in the AMCHA report include:

  • A UC Irvine professor cancelling an entire week of class and emailing her students: “In observance of the week-long global strike (Jan 21-28) to support the Palestinian people's call to end the genocide, I am canceling our Week 3 classes … business as usual cannot continue under these conditions”;
  • The Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) department at UC Santa Cruz shut down operations and cancelled classes to participate in SJP’s “Shut It Down for Palestine” protest rally, which blocked the main entrance to campus for 6 hours. That day, CRES posted a message to their website urging their students and colleagues, “Skip school and work. Do not look away from the genocide. No business as usual!”;
  • UCSC faculty also wrote “Let’s make it clear – zionism is not welcome on our campus”;
  • UC Berkeley Black Studies Graduate Students released a statement that read, “[We] state clearly that the Zionist Israeli state must end.”;
  • During a UC San Diego protest rally, organized by UCSD Faculty for Justice in Palestine and others to promote an SJP-authored (and FJP supported) BDS resolution, protesters heckled a Jewish UCSD faculty member, a local rabbi and other members of the Jewish community, a protester dumped a bottle of water on the head of a community member and forcefully pushed a Jewish faculty member, hitting and fracturing the faculty member’s ankle. Another protestor disrupted and harassed Jewish faculty observing the protest;
  • A UC Berkeley graduate student teacher offered "a field trip and/or extra credit opportunity" for students to "attend the national student walkout tomorrow against the settler-colonial occupation of Gaza (info attached below) [or] watch a short documentary on Palestine and call/email your local California representative [in support of Palestine]," stating, "Doing so will either count as a field trip or an extra 5 points on the field trip category of your grade.”;
  • The Department of History and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (HCRES) at UC Merced posted to their website a statement, "Genocide in Gaza: Context and Conversation," which vilified Israel, rejected the characterization of the Hamas massacre as terrorism and called on the UC administration to "endorse the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions;” and
  • FJP groups at UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UCLA and UCSC co-authored and/or co-sponsored student BDS resolutions, in some cases with FJP’s own support for BDS cited as justification for the resolution, which all passed in their student senates.

“While anti-Zionist students and groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine are responsible for many of the incidents targeting Jewish students for harm, anti-Zionist faculty have played a pivotal role in creating a hostile environment for Jewish members of the UC campus community. As individuals and members of departments and faculty organizations, UC faculty have engaged in anti-Zionist indoctrination and activism under the mantle of academic freedom, provided material support for anti-Zionist students and student organizations, and incited animus and harm towards the Jewish state and its on-campus supporters,” wrote the researchers.

“Although the University of California has policies prohibiting faculty and graduate students from using their academic positions and university resources to engage in political indoctrination and activism, campus administrators are simply not enforcing these regulations. Unless and until this changes, we believe University of California campuses are not safe for their Jewish members,” the researchers warned.

AMCHA Initiative is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to combating antisemitism at colleges and universities in the United States. The organization monitors more than 600 campuses for antisemitic activity, as defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and the U.S. government. AMCHA is not a pro-Israel advocacy organization, nor does it take a position on current or past Israeli government policies; criticism of Israel that does not meet the IHRA and U.S. government criteria is not considered antisemitic by the organization. AMCHA has recorded more than 6,000 antisemitic incidents on college campuses since 2015 which can be accessed through its Antisemitism Tracker.

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