Professors condemn anti-Semitism at Irvine

Thursday, May 13, 2010 | by

Forty faculty members at U.C. Irvine have signed an open letter decrying heated anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric on campus. The signers include Jewish and non-Jewish professors.

Published on the website of the Orange County Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism, the letter reads in part: “We … are deeply disturbed about activities on campus that foment hatred against Jews and Israelis.” It went on to list recent incidents, such as “the painting of swastikas in university buildings” and “a statement (by a speaker repeatedly invited by the Muslim Student Union) that the Zionist Jew is a party of satan.”

To read the letter in full, go to


Disclaimer: June 2009 OC Jewish Life Magazine “Campus Currents” article

An article appearing in the June 2009 issue of OC Jewish Life contains erroneous information concerning the Orange County Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism .

  1. The” Campus Currents” article incorrectly titled the recent MSU-UCI  hate programs:  “Never Again?, The Palestinean Holocaust.” This years three week anti-Semitic programs were actually called “Israel the politics of genocide”
  2. The Task Force did not issue the petition or statement which accompanies it in the article. The actual petition and statement were both issued by the Zionist Organization of America.  It called upon the MSU to stand down from  its hateful, anti-Semitic rhetoric. It called upon Chancellor Drake:   “….to speak out and explicitly denounce anti-Semitism, especially when it occurs on your campus….”
  3. The Task Force supports the petition, thus, published it on this web-site.
  4. Member(s) of the Orange County Independent Task Force on anti-Semitism were not interviewed for this article.


EDITORIAL: Props to UCI task force persistence

Daily Pilot

“When the Hillel Foundation of Orange County dropped its investigation into anti-Semitism at UCI, the task force assembled to do the inquiry was “surprised and shocked,” according to its leader Jesse Rosenblum.

So were we. Even more shocking was when the foundation decided instead to promote Jewish life on campus sometime “over the summer.”……

See Also:

Daily Pilot: Props to UCI task force persistence

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————Scholars For Peace in the Middle EastA NEWER LOW IS ACHIEVED: MOCKING ANNE FRANKS MEMORY AT UC IRVINE

Published in: Orange County Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism May 11, 2009


Quiet war on campus: Israel remains under attack despite fewer public protests

Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?

The Jewish Journal
August 20, 2008

Brad Greenberg

“….One person’s hate speech is another person’s education,” Manuel Gomez, vice chancellor of student affairs, reportedly said during an October 2006 meeting with Drake and about a dozen Jewish student leaders.

(In a recent interview, Gomez characterized that quote, which was reported by one participant, as “another distortion” and said his point was that students are protected constitutionally when their speech causes discomfort and even emotional pain, as long as it doesn’t incite violence.)

Then this past February, a task force on anti-Semitism, originally assembled by the executive director of UCI Hillel and later cut loose, released a 34-page report condemning university officials for turning a blind eye to anti-Semitic activism and shirking its responsibility to ensure the safety of every student on campus…..”


Campus Anti-Semitism:

The Issues Have Changed, the Problem Has Not

Bnai Brith Magazine

By Janet Lubman Rathner and Alison Goldstein

“Jewish students in the 21st century might well face cases of anti-Semitism on campus, but the causes are considerably different than those that plagued their parents and grandparents in decades past. While, in the last century, the main problem involved the imposition of “quotas”—and an illogical hate of Jews—now it often has to do with the Middle East conflict.

At a recent University of California, Irvine (UCI) rally organized by the Muslim Student Union, a member applauded the use of Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel while another showed off a swastika tattoo.

These actions—indicative of the years-long pattern of hostile behavior directed toward UCI‘s Jewish students—led the Orange County (Calif.) Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism on Campus to make a shocking recommendation in areport released in February:…..”

UCI students shy from Jewish groups after some back chancellor’s choice not to condemn allegedly anti-Semitic speakers.


Updated: Saturday, April 5, 2008 9:22 PM PDT

A campus divided over allegations of anti-Semitism drew another line this week.

“One of the main issues appears to be how UC Irvine administrators respond to campus leaders and speakers who are critical of Israel. Student leaders issued news releases critical of each other this week as they duel over whether anti-Semitism is a problem on campus.

The dispute boils down to several questions. Is it appropriate for the administration to criticize anti-Israel comments? Would that chill free speech on campus? Does some of the criticism of Israel cross into anti-Semitism?

A number of former and current UCI students recently distanced themselves from Jewish groups on campus after organization leaders supported the university’s and Chancellor Michael Drake’s decision to “protect 1st Amendment rights” rather than censor or explicitly condemn certain speakers on campus that some have called anti-Semitic.

The dispute among Jews at UCI comes after the school has faced scrutiny over accusations of anti-Semitism on campus. A Department of Education review said the administration and university did not support anti-Semitism, but a task force review made up of community leaders, mostly Jewish, said anti-Semitism was a problem at the school and called for action….”


Fight UC Irvine campus anti-Semitism

Apr. 3, 2008

Jerusalem Post correspondent, NEW YORK , THE JERUSALEM POST

“A group of students at University of California, Irvine – known as one of the more militant campuses in the country when it comes to anti-Israel activity – took the chancellor to task in a news release this week for failing to adequately respond to the ongoing incidents on campus

The 20 current and former UC Irvine students said they were “deeply concerned about the anti-Semitism at UCI that has been frequently couched as false and hateful attacks on Israel.”

The letter follows a statement by campus Jewish groups that called concern over anti-Semitic activity “exaggerated” and defended the administration’s handling of the situation…..”

“….Meanwhile, an independent task force comprising Jewish and non-Jewish community members recently concluded a year-long investigation into anti-Semitism at UCI, and found that “acts of anti-Semitism are real and well documented. Jewish students have been harassed. Hate speech has been unrelenting.”


Candidly Speaking: Hillel goes post-modern

Isi Leibler , THE JERUSALEM POST Mar. 31, 2008

Post-modernist thinking has made massive inroads at all levels, not excluding the Jewish political world, where references to right and wrong or good and evil have become rare, replaced by a politically correct lexicon. Recent controversies involving the Jewish campus organization Hillel highlight the trend.

“Supported by the Jewish community to further its stated objectives of strengthening Jewish identity and assisting Jewish students to confront anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic agitation on campus, Hillel extended an invitation to Michael Drake, chancellor of the University of California Irvine (UCI), to address its recent summit of Jewish leaders in Washington. The UCI campus is notorious for widespread allegations of anti-Semitic harassment that often escalates into actual violence. That harassment reached a level which compelled the Hillel director himself to complain that “Jewish students are legitimately fearful for their safety.”

The local Hillel board created a task force to review the situation, but for reasons yet to be disclosed, the Hillel board of directors refused to release the findings of their own divisional enquiry and withdrew the report.

The task force decided to carry on as an independent body and, a year later, in February 2008, released a scathing report condemning the university authorities. The report singled out Chancellor Drake for having repeatedly declined to condemn the demonization and delegitimization of Israel and the physical harassment of pro-Israeli speakers….”


Senators query racism report

Senators question what they see as discrepancies between anti-Semitism report at UCI and policies of Education Department.

Questions about anti-Semitism and harassment at UCI, which has seen two separate reports in recent months on the subject, now involves three U.S. senators.

The three senators on the U.S. Senate Committee of the Judiciary recently sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education calling into question some portions of its investigation into alleged anti-Semitism on UCI’s campus.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) questioned the investigation, focusing on what they characterized as inconsistencies in “prior policy statements” held by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights with the conclusions in its report on anti-Semitism allegations at UCI. The Zionist Organization of America in 2004 initially filed the complaint, and the department’s report was issued in November.

The university has been rocked in recent years by complaints about anti-Semitism, much of which revolve around controversial speakers who criticize Israel.

“The letter is indicative of a concern that people have in this country for this type of hatred on campus,” said Ted Bleiweis, a spokesman for the independent task force that issued a report — after the Office of Civil Rights’ report was released — suggesting there is a problem with anti-Semitism at UCI….”


Time for dialogue?

By Eileen Schneider

Orange County jewish Life Magazine

.”…. The 34-page report, which was the culmination of a yearlong investigation, concluded that harassment, hate speech, hate events, and disruptive behavior have taken place on the campus; that the administration has not condemned such actions; and that most Jewish organizations have been ineffective in dealing with anti-Semitism at UCI.

Some of the task force recommendations included:
1) The chancellor should publicly denounce hate speech.
2) The university should take responsibility for making itself a hospitable environment.
3) Community leaders should hold the university responsible for its actions.
4) The university should enforce its rules and regulations uniformly and fairly.
5) Community leaders should meet periodically with the university administration.
6) Jewish students should have an orientation that informs them of support structures and procedures to follow when confronted with anti-Semitic and anti-Israel behavior on campus…”


Report says UCI is a hostile place for Jewish students

Brad Greenberg

LA Jewish Journal

“An anti-Israel speaker praises suicide bombers. Posters display Nazi symbols, anti-Israel slogans and the Israeli flag with blood dripping from the Magen David. A Muslim student says “F— Israel,” drops his drawers and shows his swastika tattoo to a non-Jewish student.

Such allegations, detailed last week in a 34-page report by an independent task force on anti-Semitism at University of California, Irvine (UCI), are not new. During the past few years, the Orange County campus has been the subject of news reports and protests because of the pro-Palestinian campaign of its Muslim Student Union (MSU). Anti-Israel, and at times anti-Jewish, rantings are often spewed by radical speakers these students have invited for campus events dubbed “Zio-Nazis,” “The UC Intifada: How You Can Help Palestine” and “From Auschwitz to Gaza: The Politics of Genocide,” the last of which was held this month.

The 12-member task force was formed by Hillel Executive Director Jeffrey T. Rips and community activist Ted Bleiweis in December 2006 in the wake of allegations that UCI’s vice chancellor made the statement: “One person’s hate speech is another person’s education.” Rips and Bleiweis selected the initial members, and those members added a few more to the committee, which included a former member of UCI’s medical school faculty, four rabbis and a Presbyterian pastor. Hillel lost interest in the task force last summer and cut it loose. It then became the Orange County Independent Task Force….”


Jewish students urged to avoid UC Irvine


“Anti-Semitism is so rampant at the University of California-Irvine that Jewish students should avoid enrolling, a new report says.

An unaffiliated task force made up of Jewish residents of Irvine conducted 80 hours of interviews with students, faculty and residents and determined that anti-Semitic acts are “real and well documented” on campus, according to an article in the local Daily Pilot.

“Jewish students have been harassed. Hate speech has been unrelenting,” the report alleges. The report takes faculty to task for “political correctness” that prevents them from speaking out against anti-Israel events and speakers sponsored by the school’s very active Muslim Student Union.

The report comes two months after the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights completed its own report, which states the university does not discriminate against Jewish students.

Chacellor Michael Drake declined to participate in the task force’s investigation, the Pilot reports. Pilot reporters did not speak to anyone from the Muslim Student Union.

The task force was created by the Hillel Foundation of Orange County in February 2007 to investigate anti-Semitism at the university following a series of clashes between Jewish and Muslim student groups. Hillel dropped the investigation last summer, but the task force continued working on its own.

The task force report supports the Muslim Student Union’s right to free speech, but demands that the university take stronger action against “hateful” speech, and speech calling for the destruction of Israel…”


Report:Racism ignored at UCI

Daily Pilot

“The UCI Muslim Student Union endorses hate speech against Jews, and UCI administrators and local Jewish groups need to do a better job condemning it, according to a report released Tuesday by an independent community task force that investigated anti-Semitism at UCI…”


Independent Task Force Confirms ZOA’s Claims Of Anti-Semitism At UC Irvine And Condemns UC Irvine’s Response

“A Task Force of community leaders, formed approximately one year ago to investigate allegations of anti-Semitism at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), issued a 34-page report this month. (To read the report, click here.) The report confirmed the allegations that the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) made more than three years ago, in a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The ZOA’s complaint contended that Jewish students had been repeatedly harassed and intimidated on the campus, but that the UCI administration had failed to redress the problem in violation of federal law…”


Jewish Group Refutes Civil Rights Report – New University
By Anam Siddiq, Daniel Johnson
“The Orange County Task Force on Anti-Semitism released a report compiling previous acts of alleged anti-Semitism at UC Irvine on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Since its publication the report has come under fire from various members of the UCI community, many of whom supported the investigation on anti-Semitism conducted by the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which stated that there is no evidence of anti-Semitic harrassment of Jewish students at UCI…”


Tapings OK for UCI talks

Policy changes to allow recording of student groups’ events. Some say that previous speakers have spewed hate speech.

….“Clearly they’re not empowered by a grand jury or anything, but neither were they when they were with Hillel,” said DeVore, who was interviewed by the task force. He said the public should gauge the report’s influence by who was involved in it, who was interviewed for it and how the investigation was conducted.

“They certainly weren’t leading the witness when I spoke to them,” DeVore said. “They would ask me a question, reword it and ask it again to really get to the truth…”


Jewish org. nixes UCI probe

October 17, 2007

By Joseph Serna

The Hillel Foundation of Orange County has called off its investigation into alleged anti-Semitism at UC Irvine and has instead directed its resources to promoting Jewish life on campus, an official said Tuesday.

The foundation began investigating allegations at UCI in February after a number of incidents on campus, including Muslim students disturbing a lecture by Daniel Pipes, a Middle East scholar and defender of Israel.

“We wanted to focus more on the campus and improving Jewish life at the university,” said Jeffrey Rips, the executive director of Hillel Foundation of Orange County.

The investigation was canceled over the summer, said Rips, who declined to say what, if anything, Hillel’s inquiry turned up or why the foundation’s leaders did not announce it.

He said the organization’s board of directors decided their resources could be better spent improving campus Jewish life and then informed the university of the decision.

Tensions between Jews and Muslims have been high in recent years as students have brought in controversial speakers.

In 2003, a Holocaust memorial was vandalized, and a display criticizing Zionism was burned down in 2004.

UCI students planned to participate Thursday in OneVoice Echo, an international event to promote peace in the Middle East as Jewish and Palestinian leaders prepare to meet. However, OneVoice Echo organizers said late Wednesday that the event had been canceled due to security concerns. Members of the Middle East Studies Initiative had planned to gather at the UCI flagpoles for the event and call for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


UCI chief meets with Jewish groups

Chancellor encourages community involvement against incidents of perceived hate speech on campus.



IRVINE – “UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake told several hundred concerned Jewish community members Wednesday night to join in on discussions and work together against what he calls isolated incidents of anti-Jewish speech by outsiders on campus.

Drake answered questions during a 90-minute town hall meeting at Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Irvine addressing concerns about what the Jewish community calls ongoing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on UCI’s campus.

“We promote dialogue, understanding, growth and tolerance at UCI,” Drake said. “I’d like to enlist all of you in working with me to make Jewish life on campus as strong as possible.”

The meeting comes after a February decision by the Hillel Foundation of Orange County, a Jewish group, to form a task force to investigate what it called “a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents” at UC Irvine….”


Signs of hope

Orange County Jewish Life Magazine

“….Thus far, 2007 has not been without incident. On January 31, a group of students chanting anti-Israel slogans disrupted a Hillel event at UCI, at which Dr. Daniel Pipes, a noted historian and counter-terrorism analyst who specializes in the Middle East, was speaking. Most of the 50 individuals were reportedly members of UCI’s Muslim Student Union (MSU).

The Hillel Foundation of Orange County responded by forming a task force to study and investigate alleged incidents of racism and anti-Semitism at UCI. The goal of this select task force is to issue a thorough and objective report, with findings and recommendations made to the community and UCI administration by year’s end. The task force includes academic, professional, and religious leaders. Interviews will be conducted with students, alumni, faculty members and administration, as well as individual Jewish and non-Jewish organizations and community members regarding their campus experiences. Anyone in the community with knowledge of, or who has witnessed acts of racism or anti-Semitism at UCI, is encouraged to contact the task force ….”


Civil rights official supervised a report that says UCI is among several U.S. schools with conflict.

Speaker: ‘A lot’ of anti-Semitism

Civil rights official supervised a report that says UCI is among several U.S. schools with conflict.

By Michael Miller – Daily Pilot
“A federal civil rights official who visited UC Irvine on Thursday said anti-Semitism exists on the campus, although he added that it was difficult to gauge how large of a problem it is.

Kenneth Marcus, the staff director of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, spoke to an audience of about two dozen in the campus Berkeley Place building. Marcus’ group, an independent agency established by Congress in 1957, issued a report last July on campus anti-Semitism nationwide, and UCI was among the campuses cited in the study…”


UCI Anti-Semitism Distorted, Editorial, New University Online

March 5, 2007, By Editorial Board
“UC Irvine is being investigated for anti-Semitism for the third time in as many years, this time by the Hillel Foundation of Orange County. Although Hillel’s report likely won’t be released for a few months, one can already predict with a high degree of certainty what it will say….”


“A Jewish group announced this week that it will investigate alleged anti-Semitic incidents at UC Irvine, a campus with a history of tension between Muslim and Jewish students.

The Hillel Foundation of Orange County said the investigation will attempt to document “an alarming increase in anti-Semitism” at the school, an official with the group said. Hillel is an international group of Jewish college and university students with more than 500 chapters.

Jeffrey Epps, the foundation’s executive director, blamed the Muslim Student Union for most of the alleged incidents. He said Hillel decided to form the all-Jewish task force after Muslim students disrupted a Jan. 31 lecture by Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes, a staunch defender of Israel.

The probe “will not be a witch hunt,” Epps said. “We will release an objective report that will include findings and recommendations to the community and UCI.” He said the report was expected to be completed by the end of the year. It is the second investigation in two years of alleged anti-Semitism at the campus. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights began a probe in 2005, after the New York-based Zionist Organization of America filed a complaint alleging that UCI presented a “hateful, hostile and threatening” atmosphere to Jewish students. The federal investigation is ongoing….”

Jewish group forming task force on anti-Semitism at UC Irvine
San Jose Mercury News, CA
IRVINE, Calif. – A Jewish group said Tuesday it will form a task force to investigate “a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents” at the University of

Jewish group forming task force on anti-Semitism at UC Irvine
KGET 17, CA –
(AP) – A Jewish group says it will form a task force to investigate “a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents” at UC Irvine.

Jewish group forming task force on anti-Semitism at UC Irvine
CBS 47, CA –
(AP) – A Jewish group says it will form a task force to investigate “a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents” at UC Irvine.

Jewish group forming task force on anti-Semitism at UC Irvine
IRVINE, Calif. A Jewish group says it will form a task force to investigate “a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents” at UC Irvine.

Jewish group forming task force on anti-Semitism at UC Irvine
San Diego Union Tribune, CA –
IRVINE – A Jewish group said Tuesday it will form a task force to investigate “a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents” at the University of California,

Jewish group forming task force on anti-Semitism at UC Irvine
San Francisco Chronicle, CA –
A Jewish group said Tuesday it will form a task force to investigate “a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents” at the University of California, Irvine.

Jewish group forming task force on anti-Semitism at UC Irvine
San Luis Obispo Tribune, CA –
IRVINE, Calif. – A Jewish group said Tuesday it will form a task force to investigate “a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents” at the University of

Jewish group forming task force on anti-Semitism at UC Irvine
Contra Costa Times, CA –
IRVINE, Calif. – A Jewish group said Tuesday it will form a task force to investigate “a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents” at the University of

Jewish group forming task force on anti-Semitism at UC Irvine
Press-Enterprise (subscription), CA –
A Jewish group said Tuesday it will form a task force to investigate “a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents” at the University of California, Irvine.

Jewish group forming task force on anti-Semitism at UC Irvine
Monterey County Herald, CA –
IRVINE, Calif. – A Jewish group said Tuesday it will form a task force to investigate “a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents” at the University of

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