Dear California Secretary of Education Thomas,
The â€œUC Intifadaâ€ at UCI â€“ is raging and Chancellor Drake and the University seem unable or unwilling to act in an effective way to protect the best interests of the student body, and keep intimidation, racism, and anti-Semitism off campus.
I have been the campus rabbi at UCI for almost 5 years, under the auspices of an independent Jewish campus ministry. I also serve as the only Rabbi of the UCI Interfaith Center. My concerns are based on long-term, grassroots involvement, which has brought me into contact with thousands of UCI students â€“ Jewish and Gentile.
It is a well established, and sadly, an accepted part of student life at UCI, that Israel and Jews are being singled out, vilified, and targeted for intimidation. It is the same nightmare of previous year’s except much worse and much longer.
Check out a video circulated by the Muslim Student Union on YouTube, which promotes their upcoming â€œIsrael: The Politics of Genocideâ€ nearly-month long campaign.
While some have pointed to the Olive Tree Initiative as the solution, even according to the participants it is irrelevant. It will do little to change the institutionalized commitment for the destruction of Israel held by the hard-line mainstream Muslim group on the campus, and their support for radical anti-Western, racist, anti-Semitic speakers. The OTI is not capable of solving this entrenched problem now, or in the future, even though they have admirable goals and ambition. In addition, the OTI has excluded religious Jews because they hold their major programs on the Jewish Sabbath.
What started as a week of intimidation called Anti-Zionism week, now encompasses nearly the whole month of May and accuses Israel of Genocide. In recent year’s they called the program â€œHolocaust in the Holy Landâ€. These outright lies, seem to conflict with the same groups willingness to abide by campus policies.
In 2006, I coined that phrase UC Intifada to describe what I saw.
In 2007, the Muslim Students used that phrase on their t-shirts to describe what they were doing.
The spiritual leader of the UCI chapter of the MSU, Malik Ali, has declared a “Jihad of the Tongue” against Jews, Israel and the West to be waged from here. Malik Ali has spoken many times praising suicide bombers, Hamas and Hizbollah. He is a nationally known racist, inciting hatred against the Jews. Videos of his diatribes are all over YouTube, and many were shot at UCI.
Someone from the UC system needs to provide supervision and protection. The UC System needs to send a message loud and clear that it will not tolerate racist groups from using campus groups to pursue their larger racist, agendas. In addition, it is the students that suffer the most. Theses programs cause anxiety and fear. It disrupts class and homework schedules.
I tried to reach Chancellor Drake, but he is traveling. Funny, they said that last year when we tried to find him during Hate Week.
Please help the students, cancel the events this week, and kick the MSU off campus.
Rabbi Yonah Bookstein
UCI Interfaith Center Associate Rabbi