(JNS.org) The heads of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of California (UC) statewide system issued dual statements condemning a recent pledge organized by several anti-Israel student groups, including Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, that had called on UCLA student council candidates to promise not to visit Israel on trips sponsored by Jewish organizations.
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement to the campus that he was “troubled” by efforts to “delegitimize educational trips offered by some organizations but not others.”
Block added that political speech which “stigmatizes or casts aspersions on individuals or particular groups does not promote healthy debate, but debases it by trying to intimidate individuals and groups.”
UC President and former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said she shares “Chancellor Block’s concerns about students at UCLA who target any student seeking to participate in student government who has a relationship with, or wants to travel to, Israel on trips sponsored by certain groups.”
In a letter last week, seven pro-Israel organizations called on UCLA and UC to condemn the pledge.
“The SJP’s motive is clear: to manipulate the composition of the student government so it is filled with anti-Israel activists who support the SJP’s hateful agenda,” the letter stated.