(JTA) — Five Jewish student groups at the University of California-Irvine do not agree with a call to boycott the university over campus anti-Semitism.
In a letter issued Monday, the groups said, "As students at UCI, we respectfully disagree with the ZOA’s position that students should stop attending UCI, and that donors should stop supporting the many programs at the school."
"This is both counterproductive and one of the worst ways to deal with the Muslim Student Union (MSU) at UCI."
The groups — Anteaters for Israel, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Chabad at UCI, Hillel at UCI and Alpha Epsilon Phi — called instead for "engaging in positive dialogue and peace-seeking efforts."
The Zionist Organization of America last week in a statement 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 urged donors to stop supporting Irvine, which has long been a flashpoint in the campus pro-Israel wars, and for students to stop enrolling there.
The ZOA’s call followed a speech at the university by Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, which was interrupted repeatedly by protesters. Eleven students were arrested.
The student groups’ letter also applauded campus police for arresting students who broke the law, and the university administration for "swiftly beginning the student conduct judicial review process which can result in suspension or expulsion."