(JTA) — Pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups at the University of California, Santa Barbara issued a joint letter condemning a conservative activist’s attacks on the school’s Muslim student group.
The letter criticizing David Horowitz, founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, was signed by the Santa Barbara Hillel and UCSB American Students for Israel along with the campus’ Muslim Student Association and its chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine.
It was published Thursday in the campus newspaper in advance of a scheduled address by Horowitz that evening titled “Infantile Disorders at UCSB: Why the Muslim Students Association is Afraid of David Horowitz.” The campus’ College Republicans chapter is sponsoring the address.
“The UCSB MSA is an incredibly valuable member of our campus, has been involved in numerous interfaith dialogues and provides a cultural and religious home to a large segment of the UCSB Muslim community,” the four groups wrote in their letter to The Daily Nexus. They suggested that Horowitz’s event would promote “bigotry and prejudice.”
Tensions between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian students have run high at many California colleges. For instance, the Muslim student group at the University of California, Irvine down the Pacific coast has sponsored events featuring anti-Semitic rhetoric, praise for anti-Israel terrorism and calls for Israel’s destruction.
Rabbi Evan Goodman, executive director of the Santa Barbara Hillel, told JTA that relations between Muslim and Jewish students have been good on his campus of late.
“Over the last two years we’ve worked very hard to develop positive relationships between Jewish and Muslim students on and off campus,” Goodman said, adding that “The Muslim Student Association has been helpful in working with us to combat bigotry on campus in all forms.”