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Denounce Muslim group, UC Irvine chancellor urged

NEW YORK (JTA) — Nearly 2,700 people have signed an online petition encouraging a California university chancellor to publicly condemn an annual Muslim student event.

The document urges University of California, Irvine’s Michael Drake to denounce the Muslim Student Union’s "Israel: The Politics of Genocide" event, which began May 5 and runs through May 21.

"As an American, you have the right to speak out and explicitly denounce anti-Semitism, especially when it occurs on your campus," the petition reads. "As an educational leader, you have the moral obligation to speak out."

The petition also calls on Drake to condemn the Muslim group as a whole, alleging that it consistently violates a campus pledge to create "a learning climate free from expressions of bigotry."

The Irvine campus has been a hotbed of pro-Palestinian activism, and Drake himself has drawn fire in the past from some Jewish groups who have urged him to publicly denounce activity that is said to cross the line into anti-Semitism. Drake thus far has declined to denounce specific activities, speaking out only against hate speech in general.

The two-week program features lectures from noted Palestinian activists such as British Parliament member George Galloway and former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, among other events, according to the Orange County Weekly.

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