Despite every effort by the four original nay-voters to reverse themselves and clean up the mess they made in the recent vote against the nomination of the Jewish student, Rachel Beyda, to serve on UCLA’s student Judicial Board, and despite the UCLA Administration’s sincere efforts to deal appropriately with this matter, and despite the 12-0 vote of the UCLA Student Government to condemn anti-Semitism in all forms this week (see below), there is a back story that ought to be known.
That back story, published by the “Faculty Lounge: Conversations about Law, Culture and Academia,” shines a light on three of the four initial voters against Ms. Beyda. These three students have been activists in the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement against Israel at UCLA.
“For the past year, there has been a concerted effort at UCLA to rid the student government of anyone who might be insufficiently antagonistic toward Israel, which was seen as necessary to the passage of a BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) resolution. And as it turns out, at least three of the four anti-Beyda voters have been closely connected to that campaign. It is often said that the BDS movement is aimed only at Israel and not at Jews, but this incident shows just how easily anti-Zionism can give rise to what might be called Judeophobia – the assumption that Jews are politically suspect until proven otherwise.” http://www.thefacultylounge.org/2015/03/ucla-the-untold-backstory.html
Though it is possible to accept the right of the Jewish people to a nation state of our own and at the same time support limited-BDS in the occupied territories (a position I do not support because I believe it unfairly targets Israel and does nothing to further a negotiated two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians), the fact is that the main proponents of BDS deny the right of the Jewish people to a nation state on any part of our historic homeland. This position is not only anti-Israel and anti-Zionist, it is also anti-Semitic.
Yes, those three students changed their vote and apologized for offending Jews, but I question the sincerity of those apologies given these three students pro-BDS activism.
See story on UCLA Student Government resolution condemning anti-Semitism in all forms: http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/ucla_student_government_passes_resolution_condemning_anti_semitism1
Thanks for writing this John. One of the advantages of political defeat is that I feel like I am out of school! And free to think more expansively! Dealing with BDS and Israel on campuses is something I care about a great deal. I have no magic ideas but let’s stay in touch thinking about this.
All the best, and again thank you.