Jewish Campus Groups Oppose UC Irvine Boycott


oren[See’s earlier report and video¬†here.] The Associated Press reports: Five campus Jewish groups and fraternities said Monday they don’t agree with a call to boycott the University of California, Irvine because of tensions involving Muslim students.A joint letter by the groups said dialogue and peace-seeking efforts were the way to address hateful speakers and programs from the Muslim Student Union.

The letter came after New York-based Zionist Organization of America asked potential students and donors to boycott the campus.

Muslim Student Union spokeswoman Hadeer Soliman did not immediately return an e-mail asking whether her group was open to the dialogue proposed by the Jewish groups.

Tension has simmered between Jewish and Muslim student groups for years at UC Irvine.

The Zionist group sought the boycott after a talk earlier this month by Israel’s ambassador Michael Oren was interrupted by heckling students. Eleven students were arrested for interrupting the talk that had been condemned by the Muslim Student Union.

In the statement, the groups applauded the campus police department for arresting 11 students whose interference prompted an early end to Oren’s appearance. The statement also praised UCI Chancellor Michael Drake for speaking out against the disruption.

However, Susan Tuchman, director of the Zionist group’s Center for Law and Justice, said the chancellor’s response was not adequate in light of what she sees as past acceptance of anti-Semitic speech on campus and other acts of discrimination by the Muslim Student Union.

The students arrested earlier this month face disciplinary action that could range from a warning to expulsion, UC Irvine spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon said.

Criminal charges have yet to be filed. Orange County district attorney spokeswoman Susan Schroeder said prosecutors were waiting for UC Irvine police to submit their arrest reports.

The groups seeking dialogue with the Muslim organization included Anteaters for Israel, a reference to UCI’s athletic mascot, the campus Chabad and Hillel chapters, and the leaders of its Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity and the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority.

{Stamford Advocate/Noam Newscenter}