Jewish Journal


June 16, 2008

Why a Jewish student chose against UC Irvine


Back in March, I wrote about a community report that took UC Irvine administrators to task for the anti-Israel atmosphere on campus:

An anti-Israel speaker praises suicide bombers. Posters display Nazi symbols, anti-Israel slogans and the Israeli flag with blood dripping from the Magen David. A Muslim student says “F—- Israel,” drops his drawers and shows his swastika tattoo to a non-Jewish student.

Yes, student-invited speakers, like Amir Abdel Malik Ali and Muhammad Al-Asi, often refer to Zionists as the “New Nazis” and “Zio-Nazis;” students have called for Israel to be wiped off the map; and the Muslim Student Union hosts an annual Palestinian awareness week that accuses Israel of apartheid and genocide and this year was dubbed “Never Again? The Palestinian Holocaust.”

There are many fair criticisms of Israel, but don’t expect to hear them at UC Irvine.

One recommendation of the independent task force—formed by the Hillel director and comprised of a former member of UCI’s medical school faculty, four rabbis and a Presbyterian pastor—was for Jewish high school seniors to boycott UC Irvine. This was broadly dismissed by the local Jewish establishment, whose leaders were baldly attacked in the report, and I would agree that the logic is counterintuitive. If the campus already is hostile to Jewish students, and, at least at times, it is, wouldn’t you want strongly committed Jews to enroll there and create a more vibrant Jewish student community?

Of course, politics and religion aren’t always logical.

Here Spencer Morgan of Poughskeepie, N.Y. explains why he didn’t commit to UC Irvine (aside from the fact that Vassar is one of the best liberal-arts colleges in the country):

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