On Wednesday, 22 March 2016, the University of California Board of Regents’ Educational Policy Committee voted unanimously to approve a working group’s recommendation for a set of “Principles Against Intolerance.” The twelve-page “Principles Against Intolerance” report and its controversial introduction were developed over several months by a working group of regents and University of California (UC) employees responding to claims of increased anti-semitism on UC campuses.
In particular, the report links anti-Semitism to opposition of Zionism. The report included a statement that read: “Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California.”
Dozens of UC students and faculty had opposed the propositions of the report. At the meeting, prominent scholar and UC-Berkeley professor Dr. Judith Butler told the regents that she was the daughter of Holocaust survivors and that “anti-Semitism is a despicable form of discrimination.” However, she said, UC should not conflate it with anti-Zionism, “a political viewpoint protected by the First Amendment.”
We spoke with Omar Zahzah, a Palestine organizer and a graduate student in Comparative Literature at UCLA, about the statement, the UC regents vote, and the implication of the resolution.