Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Forward has been covering UCI

Susan Tuchman of the ZOA - bless her heart - brought to my attention that the Forward newspaper has been covering UCI. Here are two articles that they've put out in the past six months:

May 26, 2006: College Chief Hit Over Anti-Israel Events

August 11, 2006: ZOA Brings Civil-rights Education to Campus

September 1, 2006 (apparently not yet available on the Forward website):

Salute Irvine Students

Most people would agree that Jewish students should not have to tolerate verbal threats or insults, physical assaults or the destruction of property (“ZOA Brings Civil-rights Education to Campus,” August 11). But it’s important to understand that when Israel is demonized as a brutal, murderous state, when it is obscenely compared to Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, or when claims are made that the State of Israel has no right to exist – these are also manifestations of antisemitism that can have a devastating impact on Jewish students, and they shouldn’t be tolerated.

As Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews, you are talking antisemitism.” The United States Civil Rights Commission also appreciated that anti-Zionist and anti-Israel actions can amount to antisemitic harassment. This is part of what the ZOA hopes to make clear to college students and administrators alike in our public education initiative, so that they will understand their respective rights and obligations under these new federal guidelines.

Fixing the problem of campus antisemitism requires bringing it out in the open. That’s why Jewish students like those at the University of California , Irvine , deserve our respect and applause. They made repeated efforts to resolve informally the harassment and intimidation they faced on their campus, by seeking the help of college officials and trying to engage in constructive dialogue with the perpetrators of the hate.

When all these efforts failed, the students courageously came forward and provided detailed information to the ZOA about their experiences and the problems they were facing, which formed the basis of our civil rights complaint on their behalf and led to the first-ever investigation of campus antisemitism by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Though they had school, work and many other obligations, these students subjected themselves to time-consuming interviews with federal officials and have never backed down from their ongoing effort to improve the campus environment for Jewish students.

African Americans, women and the disabled are prime examples of aggrieved groups that have effectively used not just education and negotiation, but also the legal system, to secure their civil rights. Our community should likewise support the use of all those tools, which will provide the best chance of redressing antisemitic harassment, in all its forms, on our campuses.

Susan Tuchman
Director, Center for Law and Justice
Zionist Organization of America
New York , NY

No comments: