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University of California System and The Three-Pronged Attack on Free Speech and Campus Organizing

[Screenshot of The Stream from below video.] [Screenshot of The Stream from below video.]

In the following episode from AJE's The Stream, Palestine solidarity activists from various University of California (UC) campuses discuss a three-pronged attack on free speech and campus organizing throughout the UC system:

  1. A "Jewish Student Campus Climate Report" co-authored by Anti-Defamation League's Richard Barton, which cherry-picked interviews to create the perception that Jewish students largely agreed that Palestine solidarity advocacy was anti-Semitic and should be responded to by limiting who can be invited to speak on campus, enforcing balance at political events, banning hate speech, and defining anti-Semitism in ways that would include criticism of Israel.
  2. HR-35, a California Assembly bill that doubles down on the climate report, calling terms like "apartheid" examples of campus anti-Semitism, and endorsing censorship of student advocates for Palestinian rights. Civil rights groups have recently discovered that HR 35 was largely supported by UC President Mark Yudof.
  3. A series of lawsuits and Department of Education investigations that allege a hostile environment on campus for Jewish students stemming from Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) activity, and claims that the University of California is discriminatory against Jewish students as long as it fails to curtail that SJP activity. 

Palestine solidarity and free speech student activists on The Stream's episode on this issue insist that no evidence has been presented to justify the reports and investigations. They also highlight the ways in which the claim of anti-Semitism is being used to attack and stifle legitimate speech which has been part of the growing boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement at the UC system. Furthermore, they point out that the proposals would turn pro-Palestinian students into second class citizens, subject to monitoring and censorship not applied to other topics or student groups.

 

You can visit the University of California Students for Justice in Palestine archive to learn more about these issues, see SJP and civil rights groups responses, and read primary sources.

 

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