UC President Mark Yudof Stands Up for Occupiers but Not Jews

Campus confrontations take center stage, while anti-Semitic hate is facilitated throughout the university system.

The University of California President Mark Yudof is reacting aggressively to the uproar over video of police using pepper spray on student protesters who refused their orders to move. He has put the campus police’s chief on administrative leave and is reviewing its procedures. If only he were so pro-active in fighting pro-terrorist, anti-Semitic rhetoric and Islamist extremism since becoming president of the University of California in 2008.

President Yudof responded to the use of pepper spray with public condemnation. He is contacting all 10 of his chancellors to discuss how to promote responsible law enforcement and is examining the rules regarding the use of force. The force may have been excessive, but Yudof’s decisive response stands in sharp contrast to his reaction to outbursts of anti-Semitism, pro-terrorist propaganda and promotion of extremists in his school system. Supporters of Israel and opponents of Islamism are left bewildered at the discrepancy.

The University of California-Irvine was the focus of international attention on February 8, 2010 when Muslim students disrupted a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, accusing him of being party to genocide. Their insults and rudeness stopped him from proceeding. Eleven were arrested and 10 were convicted on charges of conspiracy and public disruption.

After significant pressure, Yudof condemned the rhetoric of the students and their ideological allies. In one statement, he said he condemns “the anti-Israel speech,” “insults to our students,” “unbalanced programs,” and “all the anti-Semitic utterances heard on the campus.” He established an Advisory Council in December 2010 to make sure the University of California campuses promote tolerance. The declaration provided hope that a turning point had been reached, but those fighting the campuses’ anti-Semitism were let down.

On October 31, 2011, the Amcha Initiative wrote a letter to Yudof to express its disappointment. It said that the Advisory Council Working Groups had specific focuses on intolerance towards blacks, homosexuals, Latinos and other minorities, but not the Jews. Amcha claimed that “UC administrators not only ignore intolerant and abusive behavior directed against Jewish students, they also condone, award, and at times even engage in it.” One of the Advisory Council’s members spoke at the UC-San Diego's Israel Apartheid Week put on by the Muslim Students Association (MSA), a Muslim Brotherhood-founded group.

The letter cites numerous examples of extremism on University of California campuses in 2011. In June, the MSA of UC-Santa Cruz held an Israel-bashing “Teach-In on Islamophobia” that included speakers that favor the destruction of Israel. A college administrator distributed a letter to students asking them to support the U.S. Boat to Gaza, a vessel involved in the terror-tied “Freedom Flotilla II.” Amcha states that the UCLA Chancellor’s Office’s newspaper published an extremely biased and inaccurate anti-Israel article in September that “effectively called for the elimination of the Jewish state.”

There are other incidents this year that can be added to the list. In February, Zaid Shakir spoke for the MSA of UC-Davis on civil rights. Shakir justifies attacks on U.S. soldiers and according to the New York Times in June 2006, “he said he still hoped that one day the United States would be a Muslim country ruled by Islamic law.” He condemns American “demonization” of figures like Bin Laden, the Taliban, Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi, while depicting Hamas, Al-Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents as freedom fighters. Another UC-Davis event featured a terror-supporter named Amir-Abdel Malik-Ali, where he complimented Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Yudof is a financial backer of the Olive Tree Initiative, a group that claims to promote understanding between both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but introduces students to supporters of Hamas and other extremists. In December 2009, Yudof allocated $5,000 to OTI from the Lumina Foundation for Education. This was only weeks after it was learned that an OTI student trip included a meeting with a senior Hamas official, Aziz Duwaik, who had been recently released by Israel. Students were asked to not talk about the meeting. In May 2010, Yudof gave OTI the Presidential Leadership Award of $2,000.

Yudof and UC-Berkeley are currently being sued by Jessica Felber and Brian Maissy for facilitating a hostile environment, specifically by tolerating the activities of the Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine. The lawsuit alleges that not enough has been done to prevent harassment of those that disagree with the groups’ agenda. In one incident, Felber says she was struck with a shopping cart by the leader of UC-Berkeley’s Students for Justice in Palestine leader. Felber and Maissy are seeking damages, a five-year ban on the two groups from organizing on campus and an end to the university’s financial support of them.

In June 2009, a member of the UC-Santa Cruz faculty, Dr. Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, filed a complaint alleging that professors were providing anti-Israel education and that the bias was having an “enormous” impact. She said that many students say they are “reluctant or afraid to express a view that is not anti-Israel.” As far back as 2005, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights advised that anti-Semitism on campuses is a “serious problem warranting further attention.”

If Mark Yudof is willing to take a stand against police officers who may have been too quick to enforce their orders using pepper spray, he should be willing to take a stand against the proponents of Islamic extremism and Jew-hatred in his school system.

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