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University of California Adopts Policy Linking Anti-Zionism to Anti-Semitism

(Photo: Eric Risberg/AP)

The regents of the University of California unanimously adopted a new policy on discrimination on Wednesday that links anti-Semitism to opposition to Zionism, the ideology asserting that the Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in historic Palestine.

At a meeting in San Francisco, the UC Board of Regents approved a working group’s recommendation for a set of “Principles Against Intolerance” that accepts the argument that “manifestations of anti-Semitism have changed” as a result of debates over Israel on college campuses and “expressions of anti-Semitism are more coded and difficult to identify.”

“In particular,” the report stated, “opposition to Zionism often is expressed in ways that are not simply statements of disagreement over politics and policy, but also assertions of prejudice and intolerance toward Jewish people and culture.”

To address the concerns of pro-Israel students and faculty, who claimed that supporters of Palestinian rights who disagreed with them were practicing a form of discrimination, the working group was formed in September to expand on a draft statement that had said, “Intolerance has no place at the University of California.” In January, the working group proposed that the declaration should read instead: “Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California.”

But that proposed language was criticized — by, among others, the ACLU, the Middle East Studies Association of North America, student activists and faculty members like Michael Meranze, Saree Makdisi and Judith Butler — for erasing the line between legitimate criticism of the state of Israel and hate speech aimed at Jewish students and faculty. Just before the regents voted on the policy on Wednesday, a member of the working group, Norman Pattiz, further amended the reference to anti-Zionism so that it now condemns “anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism.”

Read the full article at The Intercept.

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