Jewish Bruins respond to Israel ethics charges
The Mike Report has kept readers up to date regarding the harassment of student leaders at UCLA for the crime of visiting Israel. The anti-Semitic group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) have filed ethics charges against two student senators, Sunny Singh & Lauren Rogers, who went on an Israel trip last year (their ethics hearing will begin tomorrow). The group alleges that such trips would bias students and hence disqualify them from voting on Israel related issues. SJP has expressed no such qualms regarding their endorsed candidate, President elect, Devin Murphy, who went on the same Israel trip as fellow senator Lauren Rogers. When queried, Murphy asserted that he took the trip prior to being elected to the student senate, and that, he says makes all the difference.
The Pro-Israel students community responded to the assault on their right to visit the Jewish state in a letter by students Luba Ismakov and David Nusbaum printed in The Daily Bruin. The students point out that many students, including senators sympathetic to SJP’s nefarious goals have participated in sponsored education programs, but only trips to Israel are considered beyond the pale. Here are some excerpts.
“Over the past several weeks, we have witnessed the emergence of a troubling double standard targeting Jewish and pro-Israel students and organizations. While cloaked in the language of “ethics,” “marginalization” and “human rights,” this initiative is actually about denying our narrative and represents a frontal assault on dialogue, education and constitutionally protected rights.
During the recent Undergraduate Students Association Council elections, a coalition of student groups including the Muslim Students Association, Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace led an initiative asking candidates to sign an “ethics statement.” The statement asked candidates to pledge to refrain from taking trips with certain pro-Israel organizations, based on claims that these groups “marginalize” communities on camps.
If councilmembers can belong to groups that are strictly representative of their own community or other political organizations and attend UCSA or USSA lobbying conferences without any scrutiny, then student leaders should have the freedom to associate with pro-Israel groups both on and off campus.
In fact, if councilmembers insist on voting on geopolitical issues as contentious and complex as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is imperative that they educate themselves in order to make informed decisions, just as members of Congress have taken trips to Israel in order to be informed representatives.
Barring student leaders from associating with pro-Israel organizations, but not others, would make the council incapable of serving our student body as informed representatives of all communities.
An objective look at the situation reveals the perpetuation and acceptance of a despicable double standard. The blatant hypocrisy of the “ethics statement,” as well as attacks exclusively targeting Jewish and pro-Israel groups and students, sends a message to the campus community: Association with pro-Israel organizations must be condemned, while affiliation with groups that marginalize, tokenize or otherwise harm not only the Jewish and pro-Israel communities but other groups on campus are perfectly acceptable and immune to criticism. “