ZOA to Jewish students: Stay away from Irvine

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Zionist Organization of America is calling on Jewish students not to apply to the University of California, Irvine because it does not condemn campus anti-Semitism. 

ZOA in a statement released Tuesday accused the university of enabling bigotry and violating civil rights "by failing to condemn longstanding anti-Semitic and Israel-bashing speech and conduct on campus, and failing to enforce its own policies against the perpetrators."

The group also urged donors to stop supporting Irvine, which has long been a flashpoint in the campus pro-Israel wars.

The ZOA’s call comes following last week’s speech at the university by Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, that  was interrupted repeatedly by protestors.

In its statement, the ZOA said that “UC Irvine must now pay the price for its inaction. We call on all decent people, both Jews and non-Jews, to stop supporting, with their money and enrollment, a university that has been complicit in promoting bigotry. It’s the right and moral thing to do, until the university makes it crystal clear that it will stop tolerating anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism and that the perpetrators will be held to the same standards of conduct as everyone else.”

The Muslim Students Union, a major source of ZOA ire at the university, has accused the ZOA of infringing on its right to free speech. 

"The ZOA has unlawfully threatened the MSU’s freedom of speech and freedom of association," spokesperson Hadeer Soliman said in an e-mail to JTA. "It has long lobbied University administration and governmental legislatures, acting as a vigilante group to undermine MSU’s very basic freedoms. It seeks to silence MSU, and its tactics have resulted in an unconstitutional chilling effect."

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