Jewish U.C. regent nominee calls probe deeply unfair

A Jewish UCLA student nominated to serve as a regent for the statewide University of California system alleged that a conflict of interest probe against him is “an attack against me as a pro-Israel student.”

Avi Oved released a statement before a July 1 emergency meeting via teleconference of the University of California Student Association, or UCSA, looking into allegations against him during his run for the UCLA student government.

Amal Ali, a former president of Students for Justice in Palestine at U.C. Riverside, alleged at a UCSA board meeting on June 28 that Oved failed to disclose a campaign donation from pro-Israel philanthropist Adam Milstein, the Daily Californian, U.C. Berkeley’s student newspaper, reported.

In his statement Oved, who did not appear at the July 1 emergency meeting, called the accusations “hurtful and deeply unfair” and questioned why he was being criticized for “failing to provide information not required” by the UCLA student government’s election code. He said that “no similar demand has been made of any other candidate.”

The campus election code does not require disclosure of campaign funding sources.

Milstein has denied making a donation during the 2013 election from his Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, pointing to the foundation’s 2012-13 tax return.

Oved wrote, “As a proud pro-Israel advocate, I have never wavered on my political beliefs on respective issues nor diluted my stances to appease those who had differing opinions. I would hope everyone would respect me and my point of view just as I respect and welcome those that differ from my own.”

The UCSA tabled any decisions until it hears directly from Oved, according to the Los Angeles Jewish Journal. Its Systemwide Affairs Committee met in closed session July 3 to further discuss the allegations.

The U.C. Board of Regents is scheduled to vote to confirm Oved’s nomination during its two-day meeting in San Francisco starting Wednesday, July 16.

If approved, Oved would become the 2015-16 student regent after a year as a regent-designate. The 2014-15 student regent is Sadia Saifuddin, the first Muslim student representative on the U.C. governing board. Saifuddin’s appointment also met with controversy for her support for divestment from companies that do business with Israel in the West Bank. — jta