AMCHA Initiative’s Mission and Objectives
To investigate, document, educate about, and combat antisemitic behavior on college and university campuses in America and the institutional structures that legitimize it and allow it to flourish.
The Word AMCHA
AMCHA is the Hebrew word meaning “Your People” and also connotes “grassroots,” “the masses,” and “ordinary people.” AMCHA Initiative strives to bring together people from all over North America so that they might speak in one voice in order to express their concern for the safety and well-being of Jewish college and university students.
Leila Beckwith is Professor Emeritus in Pediatrics at UCLA. She gained her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at the University of Chicago which she attended from age 17 on as a scholarship student. She then went on to teach and do research for more than 30 years at the Neuropsychiatric Institute and the Department of Pediatrics at UCLA, publishing more than 80 scientific papers.Beckwith’s professional life has been devoted to the sacred mission of the university: to obey the laws of evidence and logic; to pursue the truth with integrity; to communicate it honestly to students. But after the momentous events of the 2nd Intifada and 9/11 occurred, she realized that the university had been corrupted and was no longer the bastion of truth over error. The overriding value of analysis and scholarly vigor was being overridden by political agitators, faculty, administrators, and student groups, who were using the university perversely to advance personal political agendas and to do so with blatant disregard for the facts.Through publications and advocacy efforts, Beckwith began to detail the diminishing power of academic integrity and the increasing antisemitic manifestations that had made their way to the campus. With her colleague, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, she founded the AMCHA Initiative to combat the rise of antisemitism at American universities. She also is a board member of the California Association of Scholars and Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. In 2013 she was honored with a Hero of Conscience Award from the American Freedom Alliance.
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin is a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the cofounder and director of AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit organization devoted to investigating, documenting, educating about, and combating campus antisemitism in America.Rossman-Benjamin has written articles about academic anti-Zionism and antisemitism and lectured widely on the growing threat to the safety of Jewish students on college campuses. She recently was a speaker at the 2014 Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism conference in Jerusalem. She also delivered a scholarly paper examining the academic boycotters of Israel at an international scholars conference that took place at the University of Indiana’s Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism.In July 2010, Rossman-Benjamin organized a two-week scholarly workshop entitled “Contemporary Antisemitism in Higher Education” at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies in Washington, D.C. In 2009, she filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights alleging a hostile environment for Jewish students on her campus, and in March 2011, a federal investigation of her complaint was launched. Rossman-Benjamin was nominated for Jewish Hero of the Year by the Jewish Federation of North America in 2011, named one of 2013’s Bright Pro-Israel Lights on U.S. Campuses by the Jewish Press, and designated as a “Jewish 100” by Algemeiner in 2014. Articles and opinion pieces from Rossman-Benjamin have been published in the New York Daily News, Jewish News Service, Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, Times of Israel, Algemeiner, Independent Sentinel, Jewish Voice, Jewish Post & Opinion, and others.