AMCHA Initiative Applauds Napolitano’s Declaration That UC Should Adopt State Department Definition of Anti-Semitism


Napolitano Announced Board of Regents Will Vote on Adoption in July; 3 UC Student Governments and the California Senate Already Support


Santa Cruz, CA, May 21, 2015 – Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, AMCHA Initiative co-founder and director, issued the following statement after University of California President Janet Napolitano stated in an interview that will air today on Boston NPR’s Here and Now that she agrees with the U.S. State Department definition of antisemitism and that her “personal view is that we should” adopt it:

“On UC campuses where anti-Israel BDS campaigns have been promoted, antisemitic behavior has dramatically increased and the reality is grim for Jewish students.  Everything from swastikas spray-painted on dorm buildings and flyers blaming Jews for 9/11 to Zionists should be sent to the gas chamber scrawled on walls and attempts to prevent a Jewish student from serving in student government simply because she was Jewish.  Tensions are rising and Jewish students have begun to fear for their safety.  Just last month a UC Santa Barbara student shared at a senate meeting ‘For the first time in my life, I felt that my identity was under attack… I don’t wear that star of David necklace anymore. I don’t tell most people that I’m Jewish, and I definitely don’t tell them that I’m pro-Israel…I’m scared for my safety.’

“We strongly commend Janet Napolitano for joining three UC student governments and the California Senate in understanding that we must implement our government’s definition of antisemitism on campus to identify and address antisemitic behavior with the same vigor as all other forms of bigotry.  We look forward to working with her and her Regents colleagues to stem the tide of antisemitism at UC and fight discrimination and hatred in all forms.”

Information about Napolitano’s interview can be found here.

AMCHA Initiative is one of 23 groups that earlier this spring called on UC to adopt the U.S. State Department definition, which acknowledges that anti-Israel rhetoric can cross the line into antisemitism. AMCHA also delivered petitions signed by nearly 700 UC professors, UC alumni and California rabbis to the UC Regents yesterday urging them to adopt the U.S. State Department definition.

This past semester, student governments at UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara unanimously approved resolutions that strongly condemn antisemitism.  Last week, the California Senate unanimously passed SCR-35, a resolution condemning antisemitism.  In identifying antisemitic activity, the student resolutions and SCR-35 invoke the U.S. State Department’s definition of antisemitism.

AMCHA Initiative is a non-profit organization, based in California, that combats antisemitism at institutions of higher education in America.


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