newsSchools & Higher Education

Students for Justice in Palestine tells UC Santa Cruz to boycott Hillel

Several Jewish organizations called the student organization's demands antisemitic.

SJP UC Santa Cruz
Screen capture of demands of the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at University of California, Santa Cruz. Source: Instagram.

The Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at University of California, Santa Cruz is drawing widespread criticism of Jew-hatred after it demanded that the public school launch “complete academic boycott” that includes cutting ties with the Helen Diller Family Foundation, Koret Foundation, Israel Institute and Hillel International.

“It is very telling that three of the four organizations referenced in the demand for academic boycott by encampment activists at UC, Santa Cruz are Jewish charities and Jewish communal organizations: Hellen Diller Foundation, Koret Foundation and Hillel International,” the Anti-Defamation League wrote.

“These organizations are not affiliated with the Israeli government. Hillel is the premier Jewish student organization on U.S. campuses. The other two are charities that are also pillars of the Jewish community,” the ADL added. “This is not an expression of opposition to Israel’s actions in Gaza but effectively an expression of opposition to Jewish infrastructure. The antisemitism in this message should be recognized by all.”

“Who in their right mind can still claim anti-Zionism is not antisemitism,” wrote Matan Zamir, deputy consul general of Israel to the Pacific Northwest.

The Jewish Community Relations Council Bay Area called the boycotted groups “pillars of the Jewish community.”

“This isn’t just about opposing Israel’s Gaza actions but seems aimed at Jewish institutions, revealing underlying antisemitism,” the JCRC wrote.

“Let me tell you something,” the journalist Yashar Ali wrote, “if you’re demanding that Hillel be fully removed from UC Santa Cruz, you’re an antisemite. Hillel is a cultural lifeline for Jewish students. If you want it gone—that means you want Jews gone.”

“There’s no negotiating on the antisemitic nature of this demand,” he added. “Also, I am intentionally not mentioning other demands because I think it’s important to focus solely on Hillel here, as the demand is so plainly antisemitic there isn’t even room for a nuanced discussion.”

Among the group’s other demands are to “roll back all academic discipline against protesters,” “sever all ties” with the Santa Cruz Police Department and call for an “immediate and permanent ceasefire and an end to the occupation and genocide in Palestine.”

The Santa Cruz Hillel posted on Instagram that it respects the rights of students to protest “about causes they care deeply about” and it knows “Jewish students on campus have different feelings regarding this protest.”

But protesters don’t have the right to threaten or intimidate Jewish or Israeli students, it added.

“We are deeply concerned that the protesters’ demands include a UC-wide boycott of organizations that support Jewish studies, Jewish life and address campus climate and antisemitism,” it stated.

At least one sign at the UC Santa Cruz encampment called for the death of Israelis.

Several UC Santa Cruz professors praised the anti-Israel protesters.

“I am perpetually in awe of the intellectual and political commitments of our students,” one wrote.

Another wrote: “I saw numerous of my students out there marching, setting up tents and working security, and I can tell you that it means a lot to them to see us, as faculty, out there in solidarity with them. Show up for Palestine and your students!”

“Grateful for our brave, brilliant and organized UCSC SJP students leading the way in this horribly dark time and building ways to be in community and in solidarity to resist the genocide in Gaza,” wrote a third professor.

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