MSU Regularly Sponsored Anti-Semitic and
Israel-Bashing Speakers and Programs
After a multi-year campaign by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the University of California, Irvine has earned the ZOAs strong praise by finally suspending the Muslim Student Union, a registered student group on campus. For years, the Muslim Student Union has been regularly sponsoring campus speakers and programs that promote bigoted and hateful lies about Jews and Israel. This past May, a frequent speaker for the Muslim Student Union referred to Jews as the new Nazis. In addition to regularly bashing Jews and Israel, the Muslim Student Union has tried to squelch the expression of pro-Israel views; last February, the group orchestrated the repeated interruption of a speech given on campus by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. The Universitys ordered suspension for the 2010-2011 academic year means that the Muslim Student Union will be prohibited from holding any events during that period. In addition, UC Irvine has put the Muslim Student Union on disciplinary probation for the 2011-2012 academic year, and the groups members will be required to collectively complete 50 hours of community service.
The ZOAs campaign against the Muslim Student Unions hateful and bigoted speakers and programs at UC Irvine has included taking legal action on behalf of harassed and intimidated Jewish students, garnering congressional and Jewish organizational support, publishing op-eds and letters, taking out newspaper ads, sponsoring on-line petitions, visiting and speaking at the University and at Irvine community venues, and regularly communicating with dozens of concerned students, faculty and community members.
Morton A. Klein, the ZOAs National President, and Susan B. Tuchman, Esq., the Director of the ZOAs Center for Law and Justice, strongly praised UC Irvine for finally taking appropriate action against the Muslim Student Union: After years of calling on UC Irvine to enforce its own policies and suspend the Muslim Student Union for repeated wrongdoing, the ZOA is grateful that the University has finally done the right thing. Its finally holding the Muslim Student Union to the same rules and standards that other students and student groups are expected to follow, and making the group accountable for its reprehensible, hateful and even dangerous behavior.
This result has been a long time in coming. For years, the Muslim Student Union has promoted bigoted and hateful lies on campus about Jews and Israel, which has caused Jewish students to feel harassed and intimidated, and even to fear for their physical safety. The Muslim Student Unions harassing and intimidating conduct violated University policies, but despite repeated complaints by students, the ZOA and others, UC Irvine for years gave the group a free pass.
Last May, the Muslim Student Union may even have solicited funds on campus for Hamas, a group whose charter calls for murdering Jews and destroying the State of Israel. Hamas has been designated by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization. The Muslim Student Unions fundraising last May not only violated University policies; providing material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization is also illegal under federal law. After the ZOA apprised the University of the Muslim Student Unions actions, UC Irvine failed to enforce its own policies and discipline the group for its misconduct.
The Universitys inaction began to concern a long-time defender of the UC Irvine administration, the Jewish Federation of Orange County. When Shalom Elcott, the President and CEO of the Federation, came to meet with us at the ZOAs offices in Manhattan, he told us that if UC Irvine did not take strong disciplinary action against the Muslim Student Union, the Federation itself would urge strong action against the University.
After bringing a legal action on behalf of Jewish students at UC Irvine, meeting and working with students, faculty, and community members, working closely with political leaders like Senator Arlen Specter, Congressman Brad Sherman, Congressman John Campbell, and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, and shining the spotlight on the problems that have plagued the UC Irvine campus for years, the ZOA is grateful that the University has finally acted and that justice has been done. We strongly praise UC Irvine for taking this historic step. It sends a powerful message to other colleges and universities where students and student groups are promoting hate and bigotry against Jews and Israel, making it clear that this bigotry against Jews and the Jewish State will not be tolerated.
The ZOA also applauds those students and members of the community who put their concern for Jewish students, and for a tolerant and respectful campus environment, first and foremost even if that meant publicly challenging the UC Irvine administration and criticizing its silence and inaction over the years. We thank these students and community members for maintaining the strength of their convictions and having the courage speak out, which finally led to this fitting and just result.