Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

UC Santa Cruz to Co-Sponsor Conference Aimed at Redefining Anti-Semitism in Cooperation with Pro-Palestinian Groups on Day Declared Jihad Against Jews by Hamas

Update: UCSC Chancellor claims no responsibility for departmental choices, academic freedom, and are "truly sorry" for the pain caused to Jewish students

October 13, 2023 UPDATE: The UC Santa Cruz Chancellor, Cynthia Larive, sent out a response email to those asking the university to pull out of the anti-Israel conference today in which she simultaneously claimed the university as a whole had taken no action to participate in the conference to redefine anti-Semitism and that she had to allow academic freedom to the departments who are part of the university. She claims to "know" the conference comes at a bad time, and is "truly sorry this conference adds to your pain," apparently assuming only Jewish students are affected. Her message in toto:

"Thank you for your message. Though a small number of UCSC faculty and departments are engaged in the conference organized by the Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism, this conference is not endorsed by the university and is not being held on our campus.

Public universities operate under the principle of academic freedom which upholds the free speech of faculty and departments.

We know that this conference comes at a time when the Jewish community is reeling from the horrible terrorist attacks on Israel, and we are truly sorry that this conference adds to your pain.

Cynthia Larive, UCSC Chancellor Lori Kletzer, Campus Provost and EVC"

October 12, 2023 - UC Santa Cruz, along with such anti-Israel groups as Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace (actually a virulently anti-Israel organization) is co-sponsoring a conference titled "Battling the 'IHRA Definition': Theory and Activism." IHRA is the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Their definition of anit-Semitism was accepted in 2016 by the European Parliament and other national and international bodies and employed for internal use by a number of governmental and political institutions.

The full text of the IHRA definition is: "Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities."

The American Jewish Congress explicitly states that this definition does not bar criticism of Israel. However the definition is thought to include "denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor," according to the AJC.

The call to change the definition of anti-Semitism as advertised by the conference includes a panel that will discuss "Zionism's racial projects" and "anticolonialism." There is also the promise of information regarding "Toward a resistance framework." Naturally, the conference will discuss the boycott, divest and sanction movement (BDS).

UC Santa Cruz's participation involves sponsorship by the Center for Creative Ecologies, Center for Racial Justice, and the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies departments.

Hamas, the group responsible for the brutal carnage on Israeli citizens last weekend, has issued a joint statement with Khaled Mashal calling for a worldwide mobilization against Jews tomorrow, October 13, the same day as the conference to discuss softening the definition of anti-Semitism.


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