On Wednesday, May 14, 2008, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) sponsored an ad in the Daily Pilot, a local CA paper in the Irvine area, to publicize a ZOA petition condemning the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic programs that are sponsored on a regular basis at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) by a registered student group called the Muslim Student Union. The ZOA petition calls on the Muslim Student Union to stop its hateful rhetoric demonizing Jews, Zionism and Israel with vicious lies, and to start engaging in civil intellectual discourse free from falsehoods and bigotry. At the time that the petition was published in the Daily Pilot, more than 800 people had signed it. At present, more than 1000 people have signed the petition, expressing their opposition to the Muslim Student Unions (MSU) anti-Semitism and Israel-bashing, which most recently took place at UCI from May 7-15, 2008.
The petition states:
We, the undersigned, condemn this years Never Again? The Palestinian Holocaust as yet another program sponsored by UC Irvines Muslim Student Union that demonizes Jews, Zionism and Israel with falsehoods and misrepresentations, including the monstrous lie that Israel is perpetrating a holocaust against the Palestinian Arabs. These programs are not legitimate political discourse about the conflict in the Middle East. They are hateful, anti-Semitic, and violate UCIs principles and values, which call for a campus environment of positive engagement and mutual respect, free from expressions of bigotry. As the Unites States Civil Rights Commission declared, Anti-Semitic bigotry is no less morally deplorable when camouflaged as anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism.
We call on the Muslim Student Union to renounce the rhetoric of hate and engage in civil intellectual discourse that is free from falsehoods, misrepresentations, prejudice and bigotry.
(The petition may be found at: http://www.petitiononline.com/ucimsu01/petition.html)
The MSUs latest series of events filled with anti-Semitic falsehoods and misinformation included: Gaza: Life in a Cage; The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine; Death to Apartheid: A Farewell to Zionism; and Silence is Consent: Stop the Palestinian Holocaust. The United States was also the subject of a false and hateful attack, as evidenced by the program called Blood on Our Hands, American Involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
The speakers that the MSU featured at UCI last week are notorious for their demonization of Jews and Israel. For example, Imam Mohammad al-Asi spoke on May 12th. He is frequently invited to UCI, where he once said: You have the Jews who are blind and deaf and dumb, who cannot see the same forms of racism, or discrimination, or oppression that is institutionalized and implemented by one of their own; and that is the Israel Zionist government in Tel Aviv . . . We have a psychosis in the Jewish community that is unable to co-exist equally and brotherly with other human beings. You can take a Jew out of the ghetto, but you cannot take the ghetto out of the Jew.
Last week at UCI, al-Asis hateful rhetoric continued; here are some examples:
Just like you [Jews] didn’t learn from exile, you didn’t learn from ghetto life.
You left the ghettos of Europe, there were no ghettos to speak about in Muslim countries. You left those ghettos and then you came in the fashion that you did, with all the bloodshed that went with it and still continues.
You came to the holy land, which youve desecrated and blasphemed with every decision that you made and still are making, and then you realize that you are in a territory of hostilities all around you. These hostilities didn’t come from nowhere, these hostilities were a reaction to all of the misery and all of the hostility that you brought with you . . .
And then as you realized where you have located yourselves, you began to build a wall, a barrier, around the country that you are living in. Now isn’t this a grand definition of a ghetto!
Morton A. Klein, the ZOAs National President, said: What happened at UCI last week is unfortunately nothing new. The MSU is relentless in the vicious lies it spreads about Jews, Zionism and Israel. We know that this bigotry and hate has had a devastating effect on many Jewish students. At least two Jewish students left UCI and transferred to other schools to complete their studies because they simply couldnt endure the hostile campus environment any longer.
Members of the public should be asking the UCI administration why it continues to remain silent when anti-Semitic hate and bigotry occur on a regular basis on their campus. Its difficult to imagine that Chancellor Drake staying silent if year after year, a Ku Klux Klan student group sponsored programs on the campus that perpetrated the historical lie that slavery had never occurred in the United States, or that African Americans have never suffered discrimination in this country. You can be sure that the Chancellor would be speaking out and making it clear that while such a group might have the right to sponsor such rubbish, these are monstrous lies that go against the values of intellectual honesty and integrity that presumably underpin the university. But somehow hateful and false attacks on Jews and Israel are tolerable to the UCI administration. In fact, they are not tolerable. Members of the public agree, having signed the petition condemning the MSUs hateful rhetoric at UCI.
The petition, signed now by over one thousand people, speaks volumes about the publics reaction to the MSUs conduct and UCIs response to it. We should all support vigorous debate about the Middle East conflict. But telling bigoted lies about Jews, Zionism and Israel has no place in that debate. And the UCI administration should be sending this message to the MSU, clearly and forcefully.
Susan Tuchman, Esq., the director of the ZOAs Center for Law and Justice, said: The UCI administration may not have the right to shut down the MSUs deplorable programs and speakers. But Chancellor Drake and his administration have their own First Amendment rights. They should be exercising those rights and acting like leaders, telling the university community that while political discourse is important and, in fact, essential, we dont support political discourse that is bigoted, divisive, and factually inaccurate.
More than one thousand people have condemned what the MSU is doing at UCI. Those who havent signed the petition yet should speak out. Exercise your own First Amendment rights and tell the MSU and the UCI administration that anti-Semitic bigotry has no place on a college campus or anywhere else.