Students Speak Out About Anti-Semitism on University of California Campuses

Does the UC System Have an Anti-Semitism Problem?

The Times of Israel Blogs,  September 25 2015


It was her first week back at the University of California, San Diego, and Sara Ahdoot had already become the target of an anti-Semitic attack.

A psychology senior at UCSD, Ahdoot had planned to celebrate the start of her last year of undergraduate studies with a bang: by going out to a club. However, what was supposed to be a fun night out soon became a nightmare that many Jewish college students hope to never encounter. Shortly after arriving, Ahdoot noticed a familiar face — a male member of the pro-Palestinian group at her school, Students for Justice in Palestine. He noticed her too.

“I have felt uncomfortable around this student for the past two years and he saw me at a night club,” she recounted. “And after he saw me, he confronted me with nothing but hate and would not leave me alone.”

Throughout the night, Ahdoot was harassed about her Persian origins, yelled at and flipped off.

“They followed me, and called me by my first and last name. They were yelling that I was a ‘racist Zionist cow.’ I have never felt so unsafe in my life.”

Fearing that the attack would turn violent, she fled the club on the verge of tears. For her whole college career, Ahdoot was proud of her Judaism and her love for Israel — the Jewish state. She wore her Star of David necklace everywhere she went, letting the world know that she wasn’t ashamed of her identity, or her homeland.

And yet, the night after Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, she experienced attacks from a fellow UCSD student that saw her identity and homeland as patently unacceptable. Ahdoot said, “I didn’t know anyone would actually come in my face or put me in danger until tonight. This problem is way more serious than I had imagined.”

The University of California’s Anti-Semitism Problem

Long-time examiners of anti-Semitism within the University of California system know that Ahdoot’s story is nothing new. Over the past academic year, Jewish students across the UC system have experienced an unsettling rise in anti-Semitic attacks on their identity. Just as the racism once manifested within Jim Crow laws has evolved and choked the basic equal protections enshrined in our criminal justice system, so too has anti-Semitism transformed and seeped its way through the bedrock of these universities. It has evolved to become as a new political anti-Semitism — the result of an overwhelming tide of anti-Israel activism on campuses that overstep reasonable criticism of Israel’s domestic policies into demonizing perceptions of Israel and those who call it home.

Yael Steinberg, an alumni of UC Davis is no stranger to this demonizing rhetoric when she encountered anti-Israel sentiment on campuses across the UC’s overstepping into anti-Semitism. “I have seen discussions of [boycotts against Israel] turn nasty — from describing Jews as ‘privileged’ and ‘rich,’ to calling Jews ‘baby killers’ and told to wipe the blood off their boots. It’s terrible. Jews on campus face this intolerance the most when in conjunction with discussions about Israel, which often crosses the line from debate into hate speech.” Continue reading

Frontpage Magazine Editors: “the JFOC has much to answer for”

The Attack on Frontpage from the Jewish Federation of Orange County

May 15, 2015 by   42 Comments

Unable to withstand criticism from their shameful attacks on Jewish students and pro-Israel activists exposed by Frontpage, the Jewish Federation of Orange County (JFOC) has taken to the media to slander our publication. These calumnies must not go unanswered.

On May 4th, Frontpage made public serious reports of misbehavior on the part of the JFOC at a student-run pro-Israel event held at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). One of the most notable revelations of the piece was a report that JFOC representative Lisa Armony was witnessed attempting to move pro-Israel activists waving Israeli flags away from anti-Israel protesters who ambushed the event.

Writing on behalf of the JFOC in the Jerusalem Post,,  Armony’s primary complaint was that Frontpage’s coverage was based on “unsubstantiated” information from “unnamed sources.”

In fact, the information directly related to Lisa Armony and the JFOC in this incident was based on anamed eyewitness’ account of Armony’s activity. Gary Fouse, a lecturer at UCI and credible witness, confidently affirmed to Frontpage what he saw. We subsequently reported this eyewitness account, taking the utmost care with the accuracy of its presentation. As such, accusations that Frontpage’s coverage of this incident was flawed are simply false. Continue reading

UC Irvine Pro-Israel Student Group Leader Alleges Opposition from JFOC Leader

Pro-Israel Student Group Meets Opposition from Jewish Leadership

May 4, 2015 by  FrontPage Magazine

On Thursday, April 23rd, courage, contempt and cowardice collided during a pro-Israel campus event called “iFest” that took place at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). In the middle of the festivities, the president of the student group Anteaters for Israel (AFI), which organized the three-day event, was berated and brought to tears by the president of the Jewish Federation of Orange County (JFOC), who was among the iFest attendees. According to AFI leadership, the incident affirmed that the organization’s decision to purposefully disassociate from the JFOC due to its years of questionable leadership and interference in AFI’s pro-Israel activism on campus was the right course of action.

UCI’s 8th annual iFest featured the theme “Explore Israel” and was held April 22nd-April 24th. One night of iFest programming consisted of a candlelight vigil and a tribute for members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli civilians killed by terrorists over the years. Students from the campus chapters of Hillel, Chabad and Jewish fraternal/sororal organizations spoke at the vigil. The next day AFI “organized a beautiful festival where students enjoyed falafel and BBQ, learned about Israel and won prizes, painted and created art for charity, raised money for Save A Child’s Heart, and collected 170 signatures for a ‘Solidarity Letter with Israel,’” said AFI president Sharon Shaoulian. Shaoulian also reports that the iFest Shabbat dinner held Friday was attended by more people than the previous two years and that it was the best attended Shabbat of the year, with over 85 students attending. A number of sponsors contributed to iFest, including the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), StandWithUs, CAMERA on Campus, the Israel on Campus Coalition, and Hasbara. Continue reading

The 2015 Version of the Annual MSU/SJP Anti-Israel Diatribe at UC-Irvine




LA Times Op-Ed: The Israel boycott that backfired

The Israel boycott that backfired


November 5, 2014

For about a year, the American Studies Assn. has been offering a very public object lesson in how to destroy a scholarly organization. Ostensibly devoted to the study of all things American, the 5,000-member academic cohort has ventured outside its natural borders and into the crossfire of Israeli-Palestinian politics by voting to bestow pariah status on Israel. The decision to morph from a scholarly association into a political action committee has proved disastrous for the group and the discipline it purports to represent, undermining its credibility, alienating many of its practitioners and betraying what should be a bedrock commitment to the American values that used to define the field.

Here’s the back story. Continue reading

Hundreds Turn Out for Another Successful Solidarity Rally in Los Angeles For Israel.





Solidarity Rally in Support of Israel Will Be Held in Los Angeles Sunday, August 24, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m

A solidarity rally in support of Israel will be held this coming Sunday, August 24, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The rally will take place in front of the Federal Building in Los Angeles, at the intersection of Wilshire and Veteran, right off the 405 freeway. Come and show your support for the people of the State of Israel as they endure continuing rocket fire from Hamas controlled Gaza.


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