Menu Close





Santa Cruz, CA, May 15, 2024 – AMCHA Initiative Director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin issued the following statement today blasting Sonoma State University’s capitulation to the encampment demands of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), including committing the state school to a full academic boycott of Israel:

We are horrified at Sonoma State University’s morally reprehensible capitulation to the virulently antisemitic academic boycott of Israel campaign organized by the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). This is not an organically-driven student effort. This is right out of PACBI’s playbook, which includes instructions for targeting Israel’s on-campus supporters for harm. Sonoma State’s capitulation directly hurts its own students and faculty. Now that the University has adopted academic BDS, its motto, "Light of the Mind, Light of the World," should instead read, "Darkness of the Mind, Darkness of the World".

This academic boycott of Israel campaign (academic BDS), whose explicit goal is to purge campuses of Zionism and Zionists, is reminiscent of Nazi Germany and its successful purge of Jewish students and faculty from its universities. Academic BDS directly subverts the educational opportunities and academic freedom of students and faculty at Sonoma State University, and its implementation creates an intolerably hostile and unsafe campus for Jewish students and faculty who – like the vast majority of Jews worldwide – identify with the Jewish state and the Jewish people.

In 2014, the California State University system rightly condemned academic boycotts. For an academic boycott of Israel to not only be promoted, but implemented by the president of a CSU campus wholly supported by taxpayer dollars, is abhorrent and cannot stand.

CSU System Chancellor Mildred García must step in to immediately nullify this agreement, and if warranted, remove SSU President Ming-Tung “Mike” Lee from office.

California State Legislators must begin establishing legislation ensuring an academic boycott of any country, including Israel, can never be implemented at any state-funded school.

College and university leaders nationwide must take heed and immediately establish robust safeguards to ensure that an academic boycott of Israel may never be implemented at their schools.

The guidelines of the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel campaign, which coordinates academic BDS activity internationally, including calling for shutting down study abroad programs, also calls for boycotting educational programs in or about Israel and canceling or shutting down pro-Israel events and activities, as well as encourages the denigration, protest and exclusion of pro-Israel individuals — all activities that can have a devastating impact on students and faculty who want to study in or about Israel, or who identify with the Jewish state.

AMCHA Initiative’s studies have consistently found a strong correlation between BDS activity and acts of antisemitic assault, harassment and vandalism on campuses nationwide.

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 7,000 antisemitic incidents on college campuses since 2015 which can be accessed through its Antisemitism Tracker.

Skip to content