U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) denounced the upcoming annual National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference at UCLA.
“Throughout the country, members of SJP have posted violent anti-Semitic rhetoric on social media, ranging from calling for annihilation of the Jewish people, to admiration of Adolf Hitler,” the congressman wrote last week in a letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene Block.
Sherman accused SJP of engaging in discrimination such as labeling Israel’s existence as a “racist endeavor,” “applying double standards [to Israel] by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation,” and “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”
The Democratic legislator also remarked that because conference attendees must be “verified and vouched for by an SJP [or otherwise named campus Palestine solidarity group] to which you belong or have belonged,” that most Jews would be prohibited from attending.
“A public university should not allow any organization to implement a litmus test for event participants on their campus based on an applicant’s beliefs, religion or national origin,” said Sherman.
Excluding Jews, Sherman posited, might violate the University of California’s Policy Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations and Students, in addition to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin regarding public endeavors.
“This includes protecting students from anti-Semitism and preventing discrimination against most Jews in admissions to a conference held on campus,” he said.
Sherman concluded his letter by acknowledging that while he supports freedom of expression, including at UCLA, “our campuses should never become an environment where Jewish students are harassed, bullied or prohibited from learning.”
The SJP conference is scheduled to occur from Nov. 16-18.