ACF-UCLA Statement Regarding Students for Justice in Palestine Conference


November 15, 2018

Contact: Avi D. Gordon, Executive Director Alums for Campus Fairness

917-512-4585, [email protected]

On the eve of the National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference at UCLA, ACF issues the following statement:

In August 2018, the National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) announced it planned to host a closed-door conference November 16-18 on the UCLA campus. Since then, Alums for Campus Fairness has taken a number of steps to ensure that the rights, security, and autonomy of the Bruin pro-Israel community would be protected during and after the conference.

Founded in 1993, SJP is an organization built on anti-Semitic rhetoric, supporting violence and violating free speech within its ranks and leadership, and inspiring students–future voters and leaders–to adopt anti-Semitic platforms. That a conference supporting such ideas should take place at a top-ranked public university is deeply offensive to the membership of ACF at UCLA.

In recent weeks, we circulated a petition calling on the UCLA administration to condemn this ongoing and vituperative opposition to the state of Israel for what it really is: anti-Semitism.  We have also called upon them to uphold the UC Principles Against Intolerance, and to increase support for Jewish and multi-cultural, pro-Israel activities and endeavors on campus.

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed on November 12, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block spoke out strongly against “anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism.” He also reaffirmed his administration’s support of the UC Regents’ Principles Against Intolerance and his continuing opposition to boycotts and divestment of Israel. We appreciate Chancellor Block’s support for our core values and goals.

We also thank our local elected officials, including the entire Los Angeles City Council and Congressman Brad Sherman, for their condemnation of the hateful ideologies behind the conference.

ACF has been working closely with student and professionals on the ground at UCLA. We applaud Hillel at UCLA Director Rabbi Aaron Lerner for his leadership and his insightful op-ed in The Daily Bruin student newspaper this past week.

Hillel is hosting a multicultural Shabbat celebration this Friday evening as the SJP conference begins elsewhere on campus.  Jewish students have formed alliances and partnerships with many other cultures’ representatives on campus and this Shabbat experience makes a forceful statement that life at UCLA goes on without distractions by hateful rhetoric and divisive actions.

Additionally, the pro-Israel student community at UCLA has opened an invitation to welcoming supporters to join an Israel celebration on campus as the SJP conference comes to a close. The celebration will take place Sunday, November 18th at Wilson Plaza from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and local alumni are invited to participate.

Alums for Campus Fairness stands in vigorous, active support of the First Amendment and free speech, and welcomes the open exchange of ideas on campus—any campus. It is our sincere hope that the divisive nature of the conference will have no effect on the campus community, and that UCLA will be prepared to respond to any new troubling developments.  We have been assured by administration that they are indeed ready.