California Assembly calls on U.C. schools to condemn anti-Semitism

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The California State Assembly unanimously approved a resolution calling on University of California campuses to condemn all forms of anti-Semitism.

The bipartisan resolution, sponsored by State Sen. Jeff Stone, a Republican, passed the Assembly on Monday. The State Senate had passed it unanimously in May.

The resolution, which will not have the force of law, now returns to the State Senate for a concurrence vote.

“We applaud the California Legislature for unanimously passing this important resolution,” said the American Jewish Committee’s Los Angeles Regional president, Dean Schramm. “Anti-Semitism must be confronted without any equivocation, for it threatens not only Jews but the values Americans cherish.”

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The resolution includes a reference to the State Department definition of anti-Semitism but does not include the definition in full, the Los Angeles Times reported. It omits the part of the definition that talks about demonizing Israel.

Jewish and pro-Israel groups, as well as alumni, have called on U.C. President Janet Napolitano and the Board of Regents to formally adopt the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism in order to properly identify anti-Semitic expression on campus. The definition includes more general ethnic and religious hatred against Jews as well as demonizing Israel, and denying Israel’s right to exist.

Organizations critical of Israel say that such a definition would limit free speech and conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

Recent incidents on U.C. campuses include swastikas drawn on a Jewish fraternity house at Davis and the questioning of a candidate for student judiciary board about her Jewishness and Jewish affiliations at UCLA.

The University of California Board of Regents will discuss various forms of intolerance, including anti-Semitism, and issues of free speech at a meeting in September, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing a statement released Monday by the university system.

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