August 18/25, 2008
New York City
Jon Wiener’s “Warriors for Zion–in California” [July 7] dismissing Muslim anti-Semitism at UC, Irvine (UCI) is riddled with errors, distortions and omissions. He incorrectly states that only “one stone [was] thrown at one Jew,” and “only” one swastika was found–as if that weren’t enough. There have been several threats and assaults, and several swastikas, not to mention the destruction of a Holocaust memorial and regular Muslim Student Union (MSU) events spreading lies about Jews, promoting Israel‘s destruction, justifying terrorism and insanely claiming there’s a holocaust against Palestinians.
Wiener ignores the impact of this– students fearing to wear items identifying them as Jewish or pro-Israel and two students transferring, as recommended by the Hillel-organized Task Force of Jews and non-Jews (not the “ad hoc Jewish group” Wiener claims).
Wiener says that the Office for Civil Rights absolved UCI, but it wasn’t for lack of evidence. The decision was based on OCR’s determination to no longer afford Jews the same protections as other ethnic groups under Title VI. That’s why, as Wiener notes, “three Republican senators” complained about OCR’s decision. Six liberal Democratic Congress members also complained, including Brad Sherman and Linda Sanchez of California.
Wiener notes four Jewish students’ support for UCI chancellor Michael Drake’s efforts but ignores thirteen other students and the more than 1,000 signatories to a petition condemning the chancellor’s failure to denounce the MSU programs by name. Wiener emphasizes the MSU’s free-speech rights but ignores that administrators should be exercising their free-speech rights to denounce the MSU’s anti-Semitism–actions advocated by the ACLU. Wiener doesn’t mention that Congressman Sherman recently told UCI’s chancellor that he had a duty to condemn Muslim anti-Semitism on his campus.
Wiener’s attacks on “right-wing Zionists” make little sense. Don’t we all, regardless of our politics, support campuses free from bigotry?
MORTON A. KLEIN, national president
SUSAN B. TUCHMAN, Director
Center for Law and Justice
Zionist Organization of America