Top University of California officials including President Janet Napolitano and several campus chancellors publicly deplore the way activists pushing UC to boycott Israel seemed to spawn outright anti-Semitic actions and outcries over the last few months.
But they've done nothing to stop it. Students who set up mock checkpoints on campuses to harass Jewish students and no one else were not penalized. Nor were students who questioned candidates for student government about their Jewish identity. No one has even been caught in several cases where Nazi-like swastikas were daubed on campus buildings. And no one was caught after the message “Zionists…to the gas chambers” was scrawled on a UC Berkeley wall.
Partly this is because UC has no firm standard by which to tell when protests of some of Israel’s policies sink into outright anti-Semitism.
Now, at last, the 10-campus system’s top policymakers will have a chance to set a standard. The Board of Regents is tentatively due to vote during its July 22-23 meeting in San Francisco on whether to adopt the U.S. State Department’s “Three D” definition of when political protest becomes outright anti-Semitism.
The State Department criteria are simple: If an action aims to delegitimize Israel, denying the Jewish state’s very right to exist, that’s anti-Semitic. If a protest aims to demonize Israel in ways not employed against any other country, that’s also anti-Semitic. And if a protest employs a double standard judging Israel differently from other countries, that’s anti-Semitic, too.
Originally published in the Santa Monica Mirror