Anti-Semitism at the University of California

Unfortunately for the University of California system, anti-Semitic incidents have increased in recent years. According to a report from the AMCHA Initiative, five of the UC campuses ranked in the top 10 nationally for anti-Semitic incidents. The Aggie states:

This surge in anti-Semitism comes on the heels of the recent passage of ASUCD Senate Resolution (S.R.) #9, which passed on Jan. 29, 2015 with an 8-2-2 vote. The resolution called for the UC Board of Regents to divest from “corporations that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settlements in Palestinian territories, violating both international humanitarian law and international human rights.”

My own UC Davis has seen a row of anti-Semitic attacks recently, sometimes under the guise of the BDS and “anti-Zionist” movements.

This negative trend culminated last week in an anti-BDS student leader leaving UCLA due not just to harassment from activists but from the university itself. The Algemeiner noted:

Earlier this week, now former UCLA Graduate Student Association (GSA) President Milan Chatterjee announced that he was leaving the university over the “hostile and unsafe campus climate” fostered by Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) groups and the UCLA administration.

Kenneth Marcus — president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law who provided legal aid to Chatterjee — told The Algemeiner, “This is a very dark day for the University of California, and a bad day for America.”

He continued: “The Milan Chatterjee affair reflects the insidiousness of the anti-Israel movement’s new strategy, which is to suppress pro-Israel advocacy and intimidate not only Jewish pro-Israel students but also anyone who even remains neutral. Good, conscientious students will be driven away from student government and replaced by extremists of the sort who victimized Mr. Chatterjee.”

What did Chatterjee do to bring about the scorn of anti-Israel activists? Opposing having a diversity event on campus directly associated with BDS.

Chatterjee — who is Indian-American and a Hindu — became the focus of a four-month investigation by the UCLA Discrimination Prevention Office (DPO) for distributing GSA funds for a November 2015 diversity event based on a stipulation that the event not officially associate itself with the BDS movement and the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter.

Over the course of the investigation, BDS groups began a “deadly, malicious campaign against me,” Chatterjee told The Algemeiner. “They wrote defamatory articles in the media, circulated petitions and tried to remove me as GSA president three times. A lot of venom was spread around campus against me.”

None of this should surprise readers at Harry’s Place. The BDS movement has been using these bullying tactics to smear anyone who does not support their cause for years. What should give us pause is the capacity this movement has to manipulate bureaucratic levers in the university system to achieve its ends.