Editor’s note: UCLA is the latest school to be named to the Freedom Center’s report on the “Top Ten College Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment.” It joins the campuses of Brooklyn College (CUNY), Tufts University, Brandeis University, and Vassar College on the list. These campuses provide financial and institutional support to terrorist-linked campus organizations such as the Hamas-funded hate-group Students for Justice in Palestine while actively suppressing speech critical of Israel’s terrorist adversaries and their allies in the United States.
Last night, the Freedom Center placed posters exposing the links between SJP and Hamas terrorists on the UCLA campus. UCLA administrators such as Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Jerry Kang have previously labeled similar Freedom Center posters “ethnic slander” and an effort to “trigger racially-tinged fear.” These posters pose a challenge to the UCLA administration to abandon these attacks on speech that exposes the truth about SJP and its ties to terrorism, and to fulfill its constitutional obligation to uphold the First Amendment on campus.
University of California-Los Angeles: Jerry Kang, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Gene Block, Chancellor:
UCLA Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jerry Kang has undergone extreme intellectual and political contortions in defending the UCLA chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) as “an officially recognized student organization, based on political commitments, that is also in good standing” despite SJP’s constant manifestation of Jew hatred on the Los Angeles campus.
In one widely noted expression of the group’s anti Semitism, SJP members illegally questioned student government candidate Rachel Beyda about whether her status as a Jew would bias her decisions on campus matters. It also attempted to create a litmus test for student government candidates by introducing an initiative that would require them to sign a pledge to not take trips to Israel sponsored by pro-Israel organizations.
Such incidents violate UCLA’s Principles of Community which state, in part, “We are committed to ensuring freedom of expression and dialogue, in a respectful and civil manner, on the spectrum of views held by our varied and diverse campus communities.”
Despite his title as the UCLA administrator in charge of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Vice Chancellor Kang has ignored SJP’s continual violation of these Principles of Community, disregarding the harassment of Jewish students forced to endure SJP’s mock “apartheid walls” plastered with Hamas propaganda and its rallies decrying the founding of the Jewish state as “Al-nakba” or “the catastrophe.” But when the David Horowitz Freedom Center hung posters on campus exposing SJP’s ties to anti-Israel terror group Hamas, and naming campus activists who had worked to bring about the destruction of the Jewish state, both Kang and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block were quick to condemn them. In an email to the entire 50,000 member UCLA community, Kang said the posters were “designed to shock and terrify,” and accused the Freedom Center of using “the tactic of guilt by association, of using blacklists, of ethnic slander, and sensationalized images engineered to trigger racially-tinged fear.” In a second diatribe, he claimed the posters caused “chilling psychological harm” and “focused, personalized intimidation.”
University Chancellor Gene Block also reacted to the posters by stating “Islamophobic posters appeared on campus, in complete disregard of our Principles of Community and the dignity of our Muslim students. But we can, and we will, do our best to hold ourselves to the standards of integrity, inclusion, fairness and compassion that are the hallmarks of a healthy community.”
Quick to defend SJP and its violent rhetoric, Kang and Block have been missing in action when Jewish students faced intimidation and harassment from anti-Semitic speakers and Hamas propaganda plastered across campus.
In addition to the incidents listed above, UCLA SJP holds an annual “Palestine Awareness Week” on campus featuring speakers who endorse the genocidal BDS movement against Israel. SJP’s 2016 event featured journalist Max Blumenthal, who stated during his address that suicide bombing against Jews is justified by “the occupation” and described Palestinian terrorists as “young men who took up arms to fight their occupier.” He also compared Israel to the Islamic state, calling it “‘JSIL,’ the Jewish State in Israel and the Levant.” Another speaker, Miko Peled, also defended Palestinian terrorism, renaming it “a struggle for freedom and justice and equality,” and describing terrorists as “very brave Palestinians who are engaged in fighting this brutal occupation.” Peled also described Jews as analogous to Hitler, calling Jewish soldiers “young little Jewish gestapos,” and further accused Israel of “massive, violent, brutal oppression,” “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing,” and of being “a colonialist, apartheid, racist system.”
Nor is such hate speech directed at Israel and Jews restricted to SJP events. In 2015, UCLA’s Center for Near Eastern Studies held a conference on “Palestine and Pedagogy” during which speakers compared Israel to the Nazis, praised anti-Israel terrorism and supported the BDS movement against Israel. UC Irvine Professor and Director of the UC Institute for Humanities Research Theo Goldberg accused Israel of practicing “eliminationist racism” similar to the Nazis’ and claimed Israelis view Palestinians as “vermin, cockroaches, rats, snakes…that take boots on the ground to get rid of.” Goldberg further charged that Israelis make “snuff films” featuring the deaths of innocent Palestinians which go viral resulting in “an orgasm” for Israelis. Meanwhile UC Riverside Professor David Lloyd called Israel “a colonial Zionist project that has become a…nightmare, ever more rigid and oppressive” and endorsed the right of Palestinians to take up arms against Israel.
This hate speech was ignored by Kang and Block and other appeasement-minded UCLA administrators.
Kang’s support for SJP and its pro-terrorism agenda was also evident in his lack of support for second year law student Milan Chatterjee, president of the Graduate Student Association (GSA) at UCLA. When he attempted to keep the GSA out of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction controversy on campus, Chatterjee was subjected to such severe harassment by SJP and Kang that he resigned. He later announced he was leaving UCLA to continue his law degree elsewhere because of the “hostile and unsafe campus climate” created by groups supporting the BDS movement on campus in concert with the UCLA administration.
Chatterjee wrote in a letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene Block: “It is unfortunate, indeed, that your administration has not only allowed BDS organizations and student activists to freely engage in intimidation of students who do not support the BDS agenda, but has decided to affirmatively engage in discriminatory practices of its own against those same students. Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, the fact is that the UCLA campus has become a hostile and unsafe environment for students, Jewish students and non-Jewish, who choose not to support the BDS movement, let alone support the state of Israel.”
In comments made to the media, Chatterjee also stated, “I filed a complaint with the office of Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jerry Kang, who took zero action and refused to investigate... This is very disturbing behavior and shows a double standard at play at UCLA. If SJP files a complaint, they will bend over backwards. If it’s anyone else, they don’t care.”
In their zeal to defend pro-terrorist campus organizations like SJP, both Kang and Block have not hesitated to violate the First Amendment rights of their critics. The taxpayers of the state of California would be well advised to take note of their actions.