Monday, May 19, 2014
Political campaigns frequently include promises by candidates on certain issues. At the University of California at Los Angeles this spring, a pledge that pro-Palestinian groups asked candidates to sign has some groups calling the tactic anti-Semitic. On Friday, the chancellor of UCLA sent a message to the campus saying that the activity was free speech that should not be banned, but he also criticized the activity -- and called for new efforts to promote civil debate on campus. The pledge may be a new flashpoint in campus discussions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Pro-Palestinian groups call the pledge an "ethics" statement. In it, student candidates were asked to promise not to travel on programs paid for by three pro-Israel groups: the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League and Hasbara Fellowships. The statement said that these groups have promoted Islamophobia and supported "the marginalization" of Palestinian and other groups in the Middle East and on campus. The pledge also includes a vow not to take trips sponsored by any non-student organization that "promotes discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, age, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, physical ability, mental ability, marital status, financial status or social status, or which engages in any form of systematic prejudiced oppression." Only the three pro-Israel groups are specifically banned. The pledge follows an unsuccessful effort by pro-Palestinian groups this spring to have the UCLA student government back the idea of the University of California selling stock in companies that are viewed as supporting Israel and its policies in the West Bank...
Full story at http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/05/19/ucla-chancellor-criticizes-pledge-asked-student-government-candidates
Chancellor Block's statement is at:
Block's statement was endorsed by UC president Napolitano:
There have been related developments on other UC campuses and a controversy last year at the Regents over selection of a student regent who supported Israel divestment/boycott. Link at: