Thousands of Jews and their supporters in California have appealed to the president of the University of California, asking him to deal with the growing anti-Semitism on campus.
More than 5,000 signatures were on the letter sent to Mark Yudoff on September 18, asking him to 'forcefully and promptly' address the problem of anti-Jewish bigotry on UC campuses. Among the signatories were more than 70 rabbis as well as 1,200 individuals who lead, work or volunteer at local Jewish organizations. In addition, more than 3,200 members of Jewish organizations, as well as some 1,400 UC alumni and current students signed the petition as well, along with more than 2,200 UC parents and family members.
Hundreds of UC donors, faculty and staff members also signed the petition, according to organizers. One donor, who holds degrees from two campuses, said, “During the past six months I have not donated and will not do so until this matter is resolved.”
Two legal actions currently are suing the University of California in connection with similar issues: both allege that the University's leadership has allowed a hostile environment for Jewish students at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz.
UC Santa Cruz is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights due to a series of pro-PA events held on campus that also allegedly crossed the line into anti-Semitism.
It was on the University of California's Irvine campus that Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, was heckled mercilessly last year by pro-Palestinian Authority Arab students who called him a murderer, among other things. A subsequent campaign to prosecute the hecklers was not entirely successful.
One alumnus who signed the letter – a project of the grassroots AMCHA Initiative coalition -- related a personal experience of anti-Semitism:
“I was a student at UC Berkeley from 2006-2009 and encountered many threatening situations by the anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic community – I never felt so afraid to reveal my Jewish or Israeli background.
“The amount of hatred on this particular issue ruined my experience in classes and I really hope other students like me will not need to feel this way,” the alumnus wrote.
“No one should ever be ashamed or afraid to reveal their background.”