An exchange of letters with university officials.
To learn more about the Freedom Center's Stop the Jihad on Campus Campaign, visit StoptheJihadonCampus.org.
Editorial note: This fall, the David Horowitz Freedom Center released a report naming the 10 Top American Universities Most Friendly to Terrorists. Among them were three campuses of the University of California system: The University of California, Irvine, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, San Diego.
These universities give financial support and campus privileges to organizations that promote terrorist propaganda, specifically Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA). Both of these campus groups were created by the Muslim Brotherhood, the creator of Hamas, an organization which openly advocates for the destruction of the Jewish state and the genocide of the Jewish people.
On November 25, we wrote to the presidents of each university named in our “Top Ten” report to urge them to withdraw their financial and institutional support for student organizations which promote terrorist agendas. The president of the University of California and former head of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, did not reply to our letter but assigned a response to the Executive Director of Student Affairs at UC Irvine. What follows is our second letter to President Napolitano and then an exchange between the UC Irvine administrator and our campus director, Sara Dogan, followed by our initial letter to President Napolitano.
CEO & Founder, the David Horowitz Freedom Center
Sherman Oaks, California
January 4, 2016
University of California
Dear Janet Napolitano,
On November 20, 2015, I sent you a letter about two organizations that promote terrorist propaganda, and specifically terrorist lies about Jews and the state of Israel on your campuses. These organizations – Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Association – were founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the terrorist organization that trained Osama bin Laden and that created Hamas, whose charter calls for the extermination of the Jews. Both these organizations receive funding and special privileges from your university. I asked you to end this support: “This letter is to ask you to withdraw your active support for this organization and the terrorist agendas it promotes, specifically the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel, and the extermination of its Jewish population.” As a former head of the Department of Homeland Security, surely you can appreciate the inappropriateness of having a taxpayer-funded university provide financial support to pro-terrorist propaganda groups.
Yet your response to my letter was to pass this entire issue to a subordinate, Ms. Jerlena Griffin-Desta, who is in charge of student affairs at one of your satellite campuses. This sleight-of-hand evades the fact that these groups with your financial support and official blessing operate at virtually all your schools. Adding injury to this insult, your subordinate responded by lecturing me about the First Amendment, as though I had asked you to suppress these organizations and deny their freedoms of assembly and speech. I did not. It is true that these are hateful, pro-terrorist organizations that agitate for the destruction of the Jewish state and that support the terrorist party Hamas, which seeks the extermination of its Jewish inhabitants; but there is nothing in my letter that asks you to suppress them. By the way, this subterfuge of hiding behind the First Amendment is a staple of the defenses offered for the indefensible activities of SJP and MSA by Brotherhood agents like CAIR and their allies like the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Let me repeat the clear request of my original letter: I am asking you to withdraw the University of California’s financial support and campus privileges (e.g., offices provided by the University). If you continue to refuse to do this, please provide me with an explanation that does not insult my intelligence or the intelligence of the America taxpayers who pay your salary and support your institution.
CEO & Founder, the David Horowitz Freedom Center
Sherman Oaks, California
Cc: Jerlena Griffin-Desta, Richard C. Blum, William De La Peña, M.D., Gareth Elliott, Russell Gould, Eddie Island, George Kieffer, Sherry L. Lansing, Monica Lozano, Hadi Makarechian, Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Abraham (Avi) Oved, Norman J. Pattiz, John A. Pérez, Bonnie Reiss, Fred Ruiz, Richard Sherman, Bruce D. Varner, Paul Wachter, Charlene Zettel, Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom, Toni Atkins, Tom Torlakson, Rodney Davis, Yolanda Gorman, Harvey Brody, Cynthia So Schroeder, Marcela Ramirez, Richard C. Ackerman, Michael D. R. Arias, Jackie M. Barbera, Amer A. Boukai, Richard K. Bridgford, Esq., Jane Buchan, Ph.D, Paul E. Butterworth, Bruce E. Cahill, Hazem H. Chehabi, M.D., Salma A. Chehabi, D. Robinson Cluck, Joseph L. Dunn, John R. Evans, Howard J. Federoff, Douglas K. Freeman, J.D., LL.M, Ed D. Fuller, John D. Gerace, Howard Gillman Ph.D., Stephen H. Gordon, Emile K. Haddad, Raouf Y. Halim, Julie Hill, Gary H. Hunt, Brendan Yu (The New University), David Suissa (LA Jewish Journal), Robert Eshman (Jewish Journal), Fermin Leal (OC Register), Hannah Mitchell (OC Business Journal), Larry Gordon (LA Times)
January 4, 2016
Ms. Jerlena Griffin-Desta
Deputy & Executive Director-Student Affairs
University of California, Irvine
Dear Ms. Griffin-Desta,
Thank you for your response to our recent letter about the presence of organizations—namely the Muslim Student Union and Students for Justice in Palestine—that openly spread pro-terrorist propaganda on the campus of UC-Irvine. Let me begin by making one thing abundantly clear. Our letter was not about “student groups that express opinions critical of Israel.” It was about groups that spread terrorist propaganda lies on your campus.
While we are of course glad to hear that in your view “the UC Irvine Jewish student experience is thriving,” your letter did not address our particular concern that these organizations at UCI, which receive substantial funding and support from the university, participate in activities and displays of propaganda which can be traced directly to the terrorist group Hamas, an organization intent on the destruction of the Jewish state and the Jewish people.
Much of your response centers on your University’s duty to uphold the First Amendment and also neutrality on political and religious matters. You claim that these obligations prevent you from taking any action to curb the abuses of MSU and SJP, which you allude to only in passing, despite a myriad of specific examples in the attachment to our letter. This objection is a straw man. Our letter did not request or require any actions that would conflict with Irvine’s constitutional obligations to protect freedom of expression. We did not ask that Irvine suppress SJP and MSU, or prevent them from holding demonstrations on campus or exercising their Constitutional rights. What we did ask was that Irvine cease providing university support to these organizations—financial, moral and material—including the use of university offices and facilities.
As our prior letter noted, we strongly doubt that you would offer such benefits to campus organizations that preach hatred of other ethnic groups, the Ku Klux Klan, for example—or a similar organization centered around hatred of Muslims.
To reiterate what we explained in our previous letter, Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Association (called the Muslim Student Union on your campus) were both created by members of a terrorist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks the wholesale destruction of Israel as a Jewish state and the genocidal annihilation of the Jewish people. To characterize these organizations as merely “critical of Israel,” as your letter does, is like saying Adolph Hitler was “critical” of Jews and homosexuals.
At UC-Irvine, both SJP and MSU have participated in distributing propaganda and holding events intended to further these aims. To cite just a few examples:
In May 2015, during “Anti-Zionism Week” on campus, both SJP and MSU sold t-shirts (which they marketed on their Facebook pages) emblazoned with “UC Intifada,” openly stating their allegiance with anti-Israel terrorists who seek to create a third “intifada” or war of aggression against Israel. The back of the t-shirt read “End Settler Colonialism” and contained images derived from the genocidal Hamas propaganda maps which fraudulently allege that the Arab nation of “Palestine” was infiltrated and overrun by Jews.
As part of “Anti-Zionism Week” UCI MSU and SJP collaborated on the creation and display of a mock “apartheid wall.” The panels of this wall made numerous false and genocidal allegations against Israel including that Israel committed the “theft of the land” of Palestine and that Israel is an apartheid state. Panels on the wall also supported the anti-Semitic “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” campaign against Israel and portrayed the Israeli defensive military campaign, Operation Protective Edge, as “Gaza Massacre 2014.”
In April 2015, members of SJP and MSU were caught on video disrupting an Anteaters for Israel event with loud chants of “Israel is an apartheid state” and “When people are occupied, resistance is justified.”
In December 2014, UC Irvine SJP held an event in defense of terrorist Rasmeah Odeh, with law professor Marjorie Cohn, calling Odeh “our comrade and sister.” Odeh was convicted by an Israeli military court in 1970 for her involvement in two fatal terrorist bombings.
During Operation Protective Edge, an Israeli defensive military campaign which took place in the summer of 2014, UC Irvine SJP posted several statements and links on its Facebook page making clear that they sided with Hamas in the conflict, making such statements as “Israel’s war on Gaza is not an attempt to strike back at Hamas, nor was it in the 2008 war on Gaza or the previous wars it has waged against Palestinians. This is an attempt to murder as many Palestinians as they can before they decide to stop. If you are shocked that Israel is killing Palestinian women and children do not be, this is their intention and the principle on which their state was created.”
I hope that you will address our concerns and these examples of pro-terrorist propaganda directly. MSU and SJP at Irvine are spreading terrorist doctrine and genocidal lies on your campus with the ultimate aim of destroying the Jewish state and exterminating the Jewish people. No amount of cozy meetings or coffee klatches can obliterate this truth. We are not asking you to ban these groups from campus or to prevent them from displaying their noxious propaganda. We are merely asking that you apply the same standards to MSU and SJP as you would to any other campus hate group and refuse to support them—financially or otherwise—in their campaign of hatred and genocide. We look forward to your reply.
Campus Director, www.StoptheJihadonCampus.org
Cc: Janet Napolitano, Richard C. Blum, William De La Peña, M.D., Gareth Elliott, Russell Gould, Eddie Island, George Kieffer, Sherry L. Lansing, Monica Lozano, Hadi Makarechian, Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Abraham (Avi) Oved, Norman J. Pattiz, John A. Pérez, Bonnie Reiss, Fred Ruiz, Richard Sherman, Bruce D. Varner, Paul Wachter, Charlene Zettel, Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom, Toni Atkins, Tom Torlakson, Rodney Davis, Yolanda Gorman, Harvey Brody, Cynthia So Schroeder, Marcela Ramirez, Richard C. Ackerman, Michael D. R. Arias, Jackie M. Barbera, Amer A. Boukai, Richard K. Bridgford, Esq., Jane Buchan, Ph.D, Paul E. Butterworth, Bruce E. Cahill, Hazem H. Chehabi, M.D., Salma A. Chehabi, D. Robinson Cluck, Joseph L. Dunn, John R. Evans, Howard J. Federoff, Douglas K. Freeman, J.D., LL.M, Ed D. Fuller, John D. Gerace, Howard Gillman Ph.D., Stephen H. Gordon, Emile K. Haddad, Raouf Y. Halim, Julie Hill, Gary H. Hunt, Brendan Yu (The New University), David Suissa (LA Jewish Journal), Robert Eshman (Jewish Journal), Fermin Leal (OC Register), Hannah Mitchell (OC Business Journal), Larry Gordon (LA Times)
December 16, 2015
Dear Mr. Horowitz:
Thank you for your letter of November 20th regarding your views on student groups that express opinions critical of Israel. I am responding to your concerns on behalf of President Napolitano.
Public higher education is founded on principles of academic freedom that are built on the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. In accordance with Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations, and Students (PACAOS) 30.40, http://policy.ucop.edu/doc/2710523/PACAOS-30
The University recognizes, supports, and shall not abridge the constitutional rights of faculty, students, or staff to participate, either as individuals or as members of a group, in the political process of supporting candidates for public office or any other political activity.
Moreover, “As a state instrumentality, the University must remain neutral on religious and political matters” (PACAOS 41.10), and “campuses have a responsibility to assure an ongoing opportunity for the expression of a variety of viewpoints,” including “controversial, political, and ideological content” (PACAOS 86.31). This responsibility extends to access to University facilities and resources (PACAOS 41.11; 86.31).
In regard to your specific reference to the Irvine campus, the rhetoric around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has consistently been de-escalating as a result of UCI staff meetings with the Muslim Student Union. In fact, the UC Irvine Jewish student experience is thriving – student organizations like Hillel, Chabad, AEPi, AEPhi continue to grow and enhance the student experience. Students were part of the creation of this video highlighting their experiences: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7SUsfcTvqg. The campus has also supported both Muslim and Jewish students through programs such as Islam 101 and support of Shabbat dinners and other Jewish student activities. The Olive Tree Initiative, to which you refer in your letter, has actually received an award from the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy (in partnership with the U.S. State Department) as a Top Ten Citizen Diplomacy Program in Higher Education, among many other accolades for its work promoting peace and understanding. You can access additional coverage of the Initiative here: http://www.olivetreeinitiative.org/mediablog. Finally, the campus produced a Jewish Student Resource Guide to assist students and their families with navigating UCI.
The University remains committed to principles of community that aim for respectful dialogue between and among our various student groups. We appreciate your taking the time to share your views with us.
Deputy & Executive Director-Student Affairs
November 20, 2015
University of California
Dear Janet Napolitano,
Your school is host to organizations that spread terrorist propaganda among your student body in direct violation of the community codes of behavior that you have put in place to ensure a civil discourse on your campus. This propaganda campaign on your campus is spearheaded primarily by Students for Justice in Palestine whose violations of civil discourse are not only tolerated by your administration but actively supported and funded as well. This letter is to ask you to withdraw your active support for this organization and the terrorist agendas it promotes, specifically the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel, and the extermination of its Jewish population.
Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Association were created by members of a terrorist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, and are the chief sponsors of annual campus events called “Israeli Apartheid Weeks.” The sole purpose of these events is to spread the propaganda lies of the terrorist organization Hamas, which demonize the Jewish state. Members of SJP and MSA lead students in chants that call for the liberation of Palestine “from the river to the sea” – in other words, for the destruction of the Jewish state. They spread the lie that Israel is “occupied Palestine.” The easily accessible facts are that Israel was created on land that belonged to the Turks who are not Palestinians or even Arabs, and who ruled this territory for 400 years previous, until the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I. Other states created out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire are Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. There are no campus protests over these occupied lands. Only the lands that are home to the Jews.
Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Association are the chief sponsors of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolutions, a movement inspired by Hamas. The goal of these resolutions is the economic strangulation of the Jewish state. The SJP-MSA claim that Israel is an apartheid state is ludicrous given the fact that more than a million Palestinians are citizens of Israel where they enjoy more rights and privileges than the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank or indeed any Arabs in any Arab country. It is an obscene charge when Hamas, whose aggressions are wholeheartedly supported by members of both organizations, has declared its goal to be the extermination of the Jews – in so many words. Mahmoud Abbas, the lifetime “president” of the West Bank has publicly said that a liberated Palestine will be Jew free. There is no Palestinian group that supports the existence of Jews in the Middle East, a region that they have continuously inhabited for 3,000 years.
SJP and MSA are promoters of ethnic hatred against Jews whom they defame as racists, colonizers and baby killers. Yet your administration grants them—or campus groups that share their agendas, but may hide behind another name—campus funds and campus privileges, including university offices, and the right to hold their hate-fests on university property. These privileges would normally be denied to groups that preach hatred of any other ethnic group, let alone that support barbaric terrorists who slaughter men, women and children with the goal of cleansing the earth of people who disagree with them.
We appeal to you to withdraw these privileges and end an unconscionable situation which threatens the security not only of Jewish students on your campus, but, because the terrorists’ goal is to destroy free societies like the United States, the security of all Americans.
Please see attached [10 Top American Universities Most Friendly to Terrorists].
ceo The David Horowitz Freedom Center
Sherman Oaks California