Anti-Zionist activity among University of California faculty surged tenfold after Oct. 7, new report says

The report cites numerous examples of faculty-driven anti-Zionism, including a UC Santa Cruz professor writing, ‘Zionism [sic] is not welcome on our campus.’

By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner

Anti-Zionist faculty within the University of California (UC) system are doing more than ever before to make Zionism anathema on their campuses, according to a new study published by AMCHA Initiative, an antisemitism watchdog group.

The report — titled “Academic Agitators: The Role of Anti-Zionist Faculty Activism in Escalating Antisemitism at the University of California After October 7, 2023” — found that incidents of faculty engaging in anti-Zionist advocacy increased 1,100 percent between Oct. 7, 2023 and March 15, 2024.

Professors, especially those involved in the anti-Zionist group Faculty for Justice in Palestine (FJP), have used their classrooms to indoctrinate students into becoming anti-Zionist and aided student groups in their efforts to alienate and defame Jewish students as “privileged” and “genocide deniers,” according to the study.

The report cites numerous examples of faculty-driven anti-Zionism, including a UC Santa Cruz professor writing “zionism [sic] is not welcome on our campus,” a UC Berkeley graduate student teacher awarding academic benefits for participating in anti-Zionist events, and the UC Merced Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Department posting a statement that described Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 massacre as “genocide” and denied that Hamas is a terrorist group.

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“Campus administrators are scared to enforce university policies and state laws that clearly prohibit such faculty abuse. The Regents, who are trying to address one small piece of the problem with a new policy prohibiting political statements on departmental websites, are struggling to do even that,” AMCHA executive director and co-founder Tammi Rossman-Benjamin told The Algemeiner in a statement. “Unless and until the Regents can take back the reins and govern the university as is their mandate under the California constitution, including by ensuring university policy and state law are enforced, Jewish students will not be safe on UC campuses.”

UC faculty transfer their attitudes as well as a vocabulary of anti-Zionism to students, the report adds. Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, anti-Zionist students have used language that can be directly traced to ideas espoused by their professors, and, at other times, students and teachers collaborate.

UC Santa Cruz’s Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Department, for example, said, “Skip school and work. Do not look away from the genocide,” in a message to students promoting a Students for Justice in Palestine’s “Shut It Down for Palestine” demonstration held in November.

“Anti-Zionist faculty are out of control at the University of California. They are using their academic positions, departmental infrastructure, and university resources to spread hatred of the Jewish state and its on-campus supporters, and in so doing, are fomenting the harassment and even assault of Jewish students — all with impunity,” Rossman-Benjamin added.

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Some of the problems described in AMCHA’s report are now on the radar of federal lawmakers.

Last week, the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce launched an investigation into alleged antisemitism at the University of California, Berkeley, three weeks after a mob of anti-Zionist students stormed a campus building and verbally attacked and spat on Jewish students attending a talk by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier.

UC Berkeley came under scrutiny last month after a mob of hundreds of pro-Palestinian students and non-students shut down an event at its Zellerbach Hall featuring Israeli reservist Ran Bar-Yoshafat, forcing Jewish students to flee to a secret safe room as the protesters overwhelmed campus police.

Footage of the incident showed a frenzied mass of anti-Zionist agitators banging on the doors of Zellerbach. The mob then, according to witnesses, eventually stormed the building — breaking windows in the process, according to reports in The Daily Wire — and precipitated the decision to evacuate the area.

During the infiltration of Zellerbach, one of the mob — assembled by Bears for Palestine, which had earlier proclaimed its intention to cancel the event — spit on a Jewish student and called him a “Jew,” pejoratively.