UCLA Students Reject USAC

For immediate release:

Focus on Special Interests Distracts from Student Concerns                          

Los Angeles, CA November 19, 2014:  

Last night, the UCLA Undergraduate Students Association (USAC) heard an anti-Israel “divestment” resolution. This vote represents one of several attempts by a small, vocal coalition of students to improperly utilize student government to purport to speak for the entire undergraduate community.

We, the leaders of the Jewish community at UCLA, have joined together with a diverse array of thousands of undergraduates at UCLA who strongly object to this invalid and ineffective use of our student government. USAC is not the forum for unrepresentative special interest groups to push their perspectives on international issues. Today, we speak for the true majority at UCLA who reject this charade. USAC should advocate for all students.

Furthermore, this resolution is part of the global BDS movement, which delegitimizes Israel and is misleading on complex issues. Whereas we stand for a negotiated two-state solution which addresses Palestinian and Jewish self-determination and human rights, the global BDS movement offers no vision for a peaceful end to this conflict. This resolution also holds Israel to a double standard--the UC has thousands of investments around the world, yet USAC is focusing on the only Jewish State in the world.

Jewish life will continue to remain strong at UCLA irrespective of the results of tonight’s misguided initiative. We will continue to focus on building rather than destroying, hoping that one day we will be able to reach across the aisle like activists have done throughout history to elevate all of our campus communities.

Signed: Natalie Charney, Hillel at UCLA Student Board President, Eytan Davidovits, President, Bruins for Israel, Omer Hit, Vice President, Bruins for Israel, Gil Bar-Or, President, J Street U, Tammy Rubin, President Emeritus, Hillel at UCLA

END

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BFI Perspective on Anti-Israel Campus Events

This past week marked Palestine Awareness Week on our campus. The Bruins for Israel board met weeks in advance to discuss the best course of action. Ultimately, we decided that no response was the best response. We deliberately and intentionally chose not to engage or organize any counter-protests so as not to bring any attention to what we believe to be an illegitimate jab at the state of Israel. This week was by no means a week of awareness about the Palestinian people. Rather, it was a week dedicated to the delegitimization of the state and people of Israel and we were not going to give any validity to it by responding and drawing unnecessary attention to their cause.

Bruins For Israel Requests Apology from Empowered Arab Sisterhood for Erasing Israel at World In-Sight Fair

On Tuesday May 21, at UCLA’s World-In-Sight fair, a festival meant to expose UCLA students to the globe’s diverse cultures, the Empowered Arab Sisterhood (EAS) disseminated maps asking students to “Find All The Middle Eastern Countries”.  The EAS listed 17 countries among the list of Middle Eastern states to choose from (including Palestine) but conspicuously omitted the State of Israel.

President Napolitano's statement on civil discourse at UCLA

UC President Janet Napolitano made the following statement today (May 16) following UCLA Chancellor Gene Block’s message about the importance of civil discourse:

“I share Chancellor Block’s concerns about students at UCLA who target any student seeking to participate in student government who has a relationship with, or wants to travel to, Israel on trips sponsored by certain groups. At the University of California, freedom of speech is a highly valued principle. Yet, other principles are also highly valued, including the principles of civility, respect, and inclusion, and should also govern our campuses. The actions of these students at UCLA violate these principles.

“I encourage members of the university community, at both UCLA and at the other nine campuses at this great education institution, to come together, in open dialogue, to discuss the great issues of our day, learn from each other, and work to move our society forward.  Harmful, hurtful speech by some hurts us all. We must work to ‘heed the better angels of our nature,’ as Abraham Lincoln said. That is what the University of California really stands for.”

Submission: Ethics statement contains double standard

Over the past several weeks, we have witnessed the emergence of a troubling double standard targeting Jewish and pro-Israel students and organizations. While cloaked in the language of “ethics,” “marginalization” and “human rights,” this initiative is actually about denying our narrative and represents a frontal assault on dialogue, education and constitutionally protected rights.

Submission: Hate speech after divestment resolution only furthers divide

Last week, a member of Students for Justice in Palestine published an op-ed in the Daily Bruin titled “Daily Bruin should have disclosed authors’ link to Hasbara.” This frivolous attempt to taint our image, undermine our integrity and portray us as incapable of forming our own opinions is just one example of the radical and hurtful accusations that have been made about members of the Bruin community after the Undergraduate Students Association Council rejected a resolution to divest from five companies.

UCLA Student Government Votes Against Divestment From Israel

After a meeting that lasted until dawn Wednesday, the UCLA undergraduate student government voted against a measure that would have urged the UC system to sell off stocks of companies that do business with the Israeli military and profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.