The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has issued a scathing indictment of Michael Drake, the Chancellor of the University of California at Irvine, for “enabling an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel atmosphere” on the campus for several years. The ZOA warned that the university will be responsible if anti-Semitism on campus escalates to the point where Jewish students and professors may be physically injured.
Muslim protestors Sunday night heckled guest lecturer Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the United States, several times and at one point stopped him from speaking for 20 minutes. The raucous protest succeeded in preventing a question-and-answer session following Oren’s speech on American-Israeli relations.
A statement by ZOA president Morton A. Klein and by Susan B. Tuchman, director for its Center for Law and Justice, lashed out at Chancellor Drake (pictured at left) for refusing “to criticize this student group and its hateful and bigoted rhetoric, thus sending a message to the Muslim Student Union and the rest of the community that anti-Semitism and Israel-bashing are acceptable and will be tolerated by the university.
“The administration has given the Muslim Student Union a free pass, which we believe has emboldened this group and encouraged an atmosphere that tolerates and accepts anti-Semitism and Israel-bashing. University policies are crystal clear. They prohibit harassment. They prohibit unauthorized fundraising. They prohibit the obstruction of university activities, like Ambassador Oren’s lecture. They prohibit disorderly conduct."
Klein and Tuchman blamed Chancellor Drake for dragging his feet. “University administrators who have tolerated their misconduct should be disciplined,” the ZOA officials said. “Under Chancellor Drake’s leadership, the anti-Semitism on campus has been allowed to escalate to the danger point. We must be concerned for the physical safety of Jewish students and professors. If someone gets hurt, the university administration will be responsible.”
They asserted that the ZOA for years has called on Chancellor Drake “to exercise his First Amendment right and his moral duty as a university leader and publicly condemn the Muslim Student Union for the anti-Semitic and Israel-bashing speakers and programs it regularly sponsors on the campus.” The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees free speech and “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.”
They also charged that the University of California’s Irvine campus “has actually lauded the group and honored students who have contributed to the bigotry and divisiveness on campus,” according to the ZOA. “In 2006, one such student, who helped organize a rally at which Jewish students were told they weren’t welcome, received a community service award from UC Irvine’s Alumni Association, was publicly praised in a UC Irvine publication, and was named a speaker at UC Irvine’s commencement ceremony in 2006.
Photo at left: Poster for Muslim Student Union anti-Semitic event
“UC Irvine’s Fall/Winter 2009 Alumni Magazine recently reported that the Alumni Association awarded a scholarship to a student who ‘is involved with the Alkalima Magazine, the magazine of the Muslim Student Union.’ Alkalima has published anti-Semitic and Israel-bashing articles, including one which asserted that Jews are genetically different from everyone else.
The ZOA also suspects that the “Muslim Student Union may have been involved in raising funds on campus for the terrorist group Hamas, when the Muslim Student Union sponsored a program featuring George Galloway last May. Such fundraising, if proven, would not only violate university policy but also federal law.”
Klein and Tuchman said that the university promised to issue a report by the end of 2009 on a probe of the charges, but that date later was changed to the middle of last month. “Almost five months have now passed since the university was provided with evidence of the Muslim Student Union’s wrongdoing and possible violation of federal law,” they said. “To our knowledge, neither the Muslim Student Union nor a single administrator has been disciplined.”