Monday, August 15, 2016




          As the school year begins, one thing is certain: There will be anti-Semitic outbursts and incidents at campuses of the University of California.

          We know this because of a long history of such episodes at campuses like Berkeley, Irvine and UCLA, where Jewish students have been subjected to everything from physical obstruction and attempted intimidation to questions by Palestinian students and their sympathizers about whether their faith allows Jews elected to student government posts to make objective decisions.

          It’s safe to say that if such obstacles were placed before black, Muslim or gay-lesbian-transgender students, campus administrators would have come down hard on the perpetrators. But nothing has happened to the anti-Semites, who act under the guise of criticizing Israel. It is, of course, fine to scrutinize or criticize any government’s behavior, but the anti-Israel protests, mostly led by a group called Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), question Israel’s very right to exist. They even deny that Jews have any historical link to the Holy Land, despite copious archeology and Biblical references to that strong connection.

          These protestors question no other nation’s right to survive, only that of the world’s lone Jewish state, created as a refuge after history’s most murderous genocide claimed half of all Jews. No one suggested Japan should cease to exist after it conquered half of Asia, enslaving millions in the process. No one suggested Russia should disappear when it seized big chunks of Ukraine. No one even suggested there should be no Germany after Germans systematically killed more than 12 million persons before and during World War II.

Only the Jewish state’s existence is ever questioned by campus demonstrators. That kind of singling out constitutes one of the U.S. State Department’s definitions of anti-Semitism.

          UC regents last spring responded to this clear-cut prejudice with a policy declaring that “Anti-Semitism…and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California.” The regents did not, however, spell out punishments for students caught in such acts. They left that to campus administrators, led by the top official at each locale, the chancellor.

          So what happened when a dozen or so pro-Israel students at Irvine tried to screen a film about the Israeli army last May, only to have more than 50 protestors led by SJP members descend on the room they used, preventing anyone else from entering or leaving, all the while reportedly screaming “Intifada, Intifada—long live the Intifada! F--- Israel and f--- the police” and “All white people need to die” among other slogans?

          Irvine Chancellor Howard Gilman said the incident “crossed the line of civility” and called for an investigation.  Later, UCI condemned the harassment and intimidation of some of its Jewish students, but denied there is a longstanding problem on its campus, despite a series of incidents since 2001, when a guest speaker claimed Jews are “blind, deaf and dumb.” Meanwhile, nothing has happened to any student involved.

Wrote Gilman, “The people who know us best…(know),” that UCI is “consistently praised for efforts at creating an outstanding environment for Jewish students.”

          That’s not what some others believe. The national group Scholars for Peace in the Middle East described the May film-screening incident as the “most dramatic” anti-Jewish event at any American campus during that month, while U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman of Los Angeles County reminded Gilman in a letter that “The inability of Jewish and pro-Israel students to assemble peacefully to view an Israeli film is counter to (the new UC policy), which bans ‘actions that physically or otherwise interfere with the ability of an individual or group to assemble, speak or share the opinion of others.’”

          So the first significant test of UC’s new policy is so far an abject failure, although that could change, depending on what happens when Gilman’s announced investigation is complete.

          For sure, though, anti-Semites on UC campuses have seen yet another episode where their hostile actions are so far unpunished. This, of course, can do nothing but open the door to more and more of the same, as the reputation of UC as a place that tolerates anti-Semitism has again been furthered.


    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough, the Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit

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