Pro-Israel groups speak out at U.C. Board of Regents meeting

In the wake of anti-Israel activist Omar Barghouti’s Jan. 16 speaking engagement at U.C. Davis — an appearance said to be co-sponsored by four academic departments — representatives from several pro-Israel groups spoke out on  Jan. 22 at the U.C. Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco.

Addressing the regents during the public comments portion of the meeting were, among others, Gail Rubin and Johanna Wilder of StandWithUs, and Tammi Benjamin, a U.C. Santa Cruz lecturer and founder of the Amcha Initiative, which combats anti-Israel foment on campus.

A Sacramento-based lay leader with StandWithUs, Rubin told the regents that Barghouti is engaged in a “self-described campaign to wage a war of boycott, divestment, and sanction against ‘the Zionist entity.’ This event and others are becoming increasingly aggressive with rabid racial slurs.”

She and other pro-Israel speakers urged the board to condemn bigotry and review university rules regarding faculty and departmental sponsorship of events of a partisan political nature.

According to Amcha, four U.C. Davis “academic units — Middle East/South Asia Studies, Native American Studies, Asian American Studies and the Asian American Cultural Politics Research Cluster” — sponsored an event with Barghouti titled “Revisiting the Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” Amcha cited Students for Justice in Palestine as another sponsor.

Amcha also noted that Barghouti spoke recently at UCLA and U.C. Riverside, and that U.C. “violated university policy and state law when they used taxpayer dollars” to sponsor those events. “At U.C. Riverside, students were even given course credit for attending,” Amcha wrote.

“These events were intended to indoctrinate rather than educate students, and they included appalling anti-Semitic statements,” Amcha added.

At the Jan. 22 board meeting at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center, the regents did not directly respond to any public comments. — j. staff