The University of California Board of Regents held their much-anticipated meeting at UC Irvine on Thursday, purportedly to decide whether or not to adopt the U.S. State Department’s official definition of Anti-Semitism for the UC system. They held a lively public comment period with over fifty speakers waiting in line, who were given exactly one minute each to speak.
Many people are unaware that the UC Board of Regents President is none other than “Big Sis,” former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano!
Free speech advocates and critics of Israel spoke strongly in opposition to adoption of such a policy, while Jewish and pro-Israel folks insisted that it was necessary to stop the hate, bigotry, and Anti-Semitism. In the end the board decided there was “more work to be done” in drafting the document, but the video testimonies here are priceless.
One Jewish woman said that “malicious anti-zionism and anti-semitism go hand in hand.”
At minute 13, an angry Jewish woman complained of specific hate crimes committed against her and her friends, including one man who dared to tell her that “Zionist jews were responsible for 9/11!”
One Jewish male student who supported the BDS movement said he’s concerned about “demonizing or applying a double standard to Iran,” and that he wants the regents to carefully consider the “implications of their actions.”
A female UC Alum and member of the National Lawyers Guild said that adopting the State Department definition of Anti-Semitism would amount to an unconstitutional violation of the first amendment and “will serve to chill political speech.”
Another said “now criticising the Israeli government is going to be banned. Judaism is a religion. Israel is a state. Why do you want to ban criticizing the Israeli government?
Another urged the regents to “allow the full intellectual force of the university to prevail.”
A Jewish speaker complained to the regents of the “toxic campus climate” that has developed “because of your inaction.”
Another added that “it is unacceptable for someone who is not Jewish to define what is or is not Anti-Semitism.”
Yet another insisted that “the State of Israel does not represent all Jews” and that criticism of Israel, even if objectionable, is “not akin to harassment.”
A young lady from ‘Christians United for Israel” urged the regents to adopt the State Dept. definition of anti-semitism on campus and asked the regents “Will you stand up and show strength? Or weakness in the face of blatant Anti-Semitism!?”
Next, the regents held their discussion on the matter. Despite media reports that a vote was to occur on adopting the State Dept definition of Anti-semitism, the board had actually already drafted a document for consideration titled THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA’S STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES AGAINST INTOLERANCE in preparation for the September 19th meeting, which the board would discuss. This proposed document paled in comparision to the State Dept’s extreme defnition of Anti-Semitism. As a matter of fact, the proposed ‘statement of principles’ linked above made no mention whatsoever of Jews or Anti-Semitism! The Jews at the meeting were very upset at this glaring omission, and in the end the UC regents decided they will work on drafting a new version to consider.
One Regent noted “I’m a woman, I’m a lesbian, I’m a hillbilly… the state department definition may not be correct, we think we have more work to do..”
A male regent complained that the statement “essentially says nothing,” that it was “a whitewash… by not specifically addressing Anti-Semitism.”
Another admitted that the state department definition “isn’t one that lends itself to an academinc environment. We’re smarter than that. We can craft a policy.”
Regent Bloom suggested “suspension or dismissal” for students who commit such ‘crimes’ or offenses that were cited by the Jewish speakers.
Regent Reese said that the proposed statement “doesn’t say to Jewish students ‘we hear you.’
At minute :37 Janet Napolitano begins speaking. She said “more work needs to be done… we have a huge diverse population…we want to get it right …to listen, to learn, and in the end to educate and to educate well, so that when our students graduate they will have a sense of what it means to live in an open and diverse society… this work will be a process of the board.”
Here is the video of the public speakers. [Public comments begin at minute 5:33. 9/11 girl starts at minute 13.]
Here is the video of the Board of Regents discussion. Big Sis Janet Nap starts at minute 37.
It’s ironic that this regents meeting was held at UC Irvine, which is not the standard location for the board meetings. Readers may remember that five years ago, a group of Muslim students at UC Irvine heckled Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren and were later arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy offenses. The case, dubbed the ‘Irvine 11,’ was a particularly controversial matter involving freedom of speech on college campuses. The Muslims were not charged until nearly a year after the incident. The statute of limitations was about to expire when a Jewish Rabbi paid a personal visit to Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas office, which then ‘coincidentally’ and immediately filed criminal charges against all the Muslims, who were ultimately (and unfortunately) convicted. [See our extensive coverage of that case here: Five Years Ago, The ‘Irvine 11’ Dared to Heckle An Israeli Ambassador on a UC Campus- & Learned How ‘Special’ Israel Really Was.]
News of the meeting:
- UC Regents Reject Resolution on Intolerance for Failing to Mention Antisemitism
- UC regents reject much-hyped ‘principles of intolerance.’ Napolitano: ‘More work needs to be done’
- University of California scraps speech code after protests from free speech, Jewish groups