The University of California just released a report (1) on Jewish campus life that conflates criticism of Israeli polices with anti-Jewish hatred, and calls for limiting the free speech of those who support Palestinian rights.
The good news is that many are speaking out—including Jewish UC students and faculty who have written an extensive critique (2) of the report.
But unless we all stand up now, this report could lead to a rollback of academic freedoms—and inspire similar restrictions across the country.
These students have created a Change.org petition asking UC President Mark Yudof to table the report—will you sign it and forward this email to others? *
Sign here: http://chn.ge/MarVJX
When I was an undergrad at UC Santa Cruz, I organized an event with an Arab and a Jewish Israeli citizen to speak about the militarization of Israeli society. At the last minute, under pressure from a professor who called the event “anti-Semitic and anti-Israel”, the university made us cancel the event.
This is just one of many similar stories about UC campuses. So many of us, Jews and non-Jews, have not felt safe criticizing Israeli policies. And yet this report not only ignores our experiences— if implemented, it will actually institutionalize silencing of criticism.
If you agree that this report cannot go unchallenged, please sign the petition.
Colleges and universities have become the frontline for the battle over young minds, and the UC system seems to be the testing ground for efforts to police critical thought and activism.
As a Jew, I think criticizing Israeli policies of occupation and disregard of human rights is essential to my identity. And so do growing numbers of UC students and faculty. Limiting free speech will only make us more determined.
UC Santa Cruz ‘10, Jewish Voice for Peace Member
* If you’re a part of the UC community and Jewish, you’re invited to sign the longer letter as well.