June 03, 2008

Anti-Semitism at the University of California, Irvine

Muslims around the world conveniently forget that Israel is a prosperous and civilized nation founded by legal land purchases and predicated on international law. Muslims choose to ignore the fact that Israel is a legitimate and sovereign nation, voted imprimatur into sovereignty and legitimacy by the United Nations.

Regardless of the facts, empirical historical and archaelogical evidence that Jews have righteously returned to their indigenous homeland, Muslims at the University of California, Irvine, specifically the Muslim Student Union (MSU), a virulently anti-Semitic and anti-American student group, hold several programs which unabashedly support terrorist groups and unjustly denounce Israel, America, and the Western world. MSU events have featured speakers like Norman Finkelstein, Ward Churchill, Muhammad al-Asi and Amir Abdel Malik Ali, and have had titles such as "Hamas: the People's Choice" and "Israel: The 4th Reich."

Out of all the MSU’s speakers, al-Asi has the most lurid personal history. A former Air Force Officer, al-Asi became radicalized by the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and is an avid admirer of the late Ayatollah Khomeini. In 1983, he was removed from his position at the Islamic Center in Washington D.C. for being too radical, and since then, he preaches his hateful message in front of the very same mosque to passers-by. Al-Asi also makes regular trips to Iran to meet hard-line officials, and as reported by the Washington Post, is under constant surveillance from the United State’s government.

Over the past several years there have been a growing number of reports from Jewish and non Jewish students at The University of California, Irvine (UCI) alleging anti-Semitism on campus and biased treatment by certain University officials. These allegations are summarized as follows:

1. Jewish students have been subject to physical and verbal harassment because they are Jewish and support Israel;

2. Hate speech, both direct and symbolic, is directed at Jews by speakers and demonstrators;

3. An annual week-long event sponsored by the Muslim Student Union is an anti-Semitic hate fest targeting Israel and Jews using lies and propaganda dating back to the anti-Semitism of the Middle Ages;

4. Speakers who are pro-Israel and/or those who condemn speakers who espouse anti-American and anti-Israeli views are subject to disruptive behavior by Muslim students and their supporters;

5. Jewish students claim they are subject to a hostile class environment by faculty members who adopt an anti-Israel bias;

6. Materials contained in certain Middle-East Studies courses are biased and are indicative of a “leftist” orthodoxy that characterizes this area of study;

7. The UCI administration is not responsive to complaints by Jewish students.

8. Jewish students complain of a “double standard” when the administration enforces campus rules and regulations.

Muslims also conveniently forget that those who have the privilege of living in the United States enjoy rights of Freedom of Speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as further interpreted by the United States Supreme Court.

Any proscription of speech or an attempt to force anyone to stop speaking as they choose, even if it is hate speech, is unacceptable.

Presidents and Chancellors of public colleges and universities have an obligation to establish an environment for education at their institutions; that the values of that institution in the search for truth should represent the values of our democratic society such as tolerance for a diversity of opinions and beliefs and respect for the individual.

Education at colleges and universities takes place both within the classroom and outside the classroom.

Therefore, student affairs administrators and academic administrators are not bystanders to the education process.

Administrators are also democracy’s guardians of acceptable behavior in the academy. This includes ensuring civil discourse within the academy.

Administrators must aggressively condemn behaviors, including speech that threaten an individual’s well being, denigrate an individual’s ethnic, religious, or racial identity, or blame a religious or ethnic group for criminal activity.

Public colleges and universities are a public trust and therefore must be held accountable to the public through the Board of Regents and the campus administration.

Citizens can also hold institutions accountable by supporting or withholding support for the University either through direct contributions and/or through the support or nonsupport of public funding measures.

Although the university has the moral obligation to speak out against hateful speech directed at a portion of the student body, they have made it clear they are going to avoid commenting on the issue or ensuring a safe campus environment. At the very least, administrators need to uphold the rights of all students and make certain civil liberties are maintained rather than selectively enforcing regulations.

An independent task force investigation recently issued findings that clearly suggest anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, and pro-terror speech is well documented at UC Irvine. The full report can be read here.

Click here for a video of Muslim hate speech at University of California, Irvine.