Amcha Initiative letter re Anti-Israel Campus Activity in California

California Senator Carol Liu
Chair, Senate Education Committee
State Capitol, Room 2083
Sacramento,  CA  95814

California Assemblymember Das Williams
Chair, Assembly Higher Education Committee
1020 N Street, Room 173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Senator Liu and Assemblymember Williams:

We are citizens of California and taxpayers of this state. Many of us are alumni, parents, donors and students of the University of California and California State University.

As taxpayers, supporters and stakeholders of the two largest university systems in the country, we are outraged that our tax dollars are being used to fund the promotion of a boycott of Israeli universities and scholars and other antisemitic propaganda by UC and CSU departments and faculty.

Recent egregious examples include the following:

At three University of California Schools — UC Davis, UCLA and UC Riverside —taxpayer dollars helped sponsor an event featuring Omar Barghouti, the founder and most vocal advocate of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. UC Faculty and departments were instrumental in sponsoring and funding Barghouti to speak on their campuses.  At UC Riverside, students in 8 courses were given credit for attending and listening to Barghouti’s hate speech, which was pure anti-Israel propaganda laced with classic antisemitism:

  • Invoking the classic blood libel, Barghouti accused Israeli soldiers of “hunting children,” saying that sharpshooter Israeli soldiers target Palestinian children and shoot to kill, and that the soldiers “entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport,” leaving the children with their “stomachs ripped out, the gaping holes in their torsos.”
  • Barghouti accused “Israel and its well-oiled lobby groups” of “buying and paying for the allegiance of Congress” and controlling the media.

California State University mathematics professor David Klein has been using his using his university’s website for hosting his inflammatory Boycott Israel Resource Page, which promotes the boycott of Israel and includes antisemitic material demonizing Israel and its supporters. Klein’s website includes untrue and malicious statements such as:

  • “Israel is the most racist state in the world at this time.”
  • “The result of Israeli state policies has been a 65 year program of ethnic cleansing…and mass murder.”

Klein’s university webpage also includes graphic photographs of bloodied and mutilated babies, with the clear implication that Israeli soldiers deliberately maim and murder Palestinian children.
As you may know, more than 220 university leaders nationwide, several academic associations, and 134 U.S. Congress members have condemned an academic boycott of Israel as antithetical to the mission of the university and a violation of academic freedom.   Most recently, the New York State Senate approved legislation barring public or private colleges in the state from using state monies to fund groups that support academic boycotts.

As stakeholders of the public universities in our state, we are firmly committed to the protection of free speech and academic freedom. However, we are unwilling to allow our tax dollars to fund faculty and departments that abuse the privilege of “academic freedom” in order to promote their own personal animosity towards the Jewish state and its supporters, and to advance antisemitic efforts to harm it.

We therefore urge you to take responsibility, as chairs of the state senate and assembly education committees, to ensure that our tax dollars are not being allocated towards the use of any state university resources to promote the personal political advocacy and activism of university employees, including the promotion of an antisemitic boycott of Israel.

Thank you for your looking into this matter.

We hope to hear from you soon.


The Undersigned (to be signed by California residents)