I can’t get the repulsive images of Israeli Apartheid Week off of my mind. While the Jewish community of Orange County supports the Jewish UCI students, and the students are engaged in positive, proactive endeavors, the Muslim Student Union (MSU) is not ready to sit down and sing “Kumbaya” with us. People capable of perpetrating such lies and hatred never will be. What can we do?
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism — strongly condemned the anti-Semitic, hateful speech at UCI, as part of an “Israeli Apartheid Week” program organized by the MSU. “ADL further calls on Chancellor Michael Drake and university officials to condemn the anti-Semitic rhetoric, hate speech, and support for terrorism that has come to define the Muslim Student Union’s annual anti-Israel week events and calls on the University to revoke its charter as a student organization,” according to a May 14 press release.
In a speech bordering on incitement, titled “Death to Apartheid,” Imam Amir Abdul Malik Ali, an Oakland-based imam, called Jews “the new Nazis,” affirmed that he supports Hamas, Hezbollah, and jihad, and called for an end to the “apartheid state of Israel.” He noted that it is a time of “celebration” for critics of Israel, because people are “no longer afraid of being called anti-Semitic.”
“How long must we hear Malik Ali support terrorism, express hatred of Jews and call for the destruction of the State of Israel before the University is willing to denounce him and those who invite him and sponsor his speech at Irvine?,” Kevin O’Grady, ADL Orange County regional director, asked. “While Chancellor Drake has made it clear he abhors anti-Semitism, a strong public statement condemning this bigot and the Muslim Student Union that annually sponsors his vile speech would go a long way towards living up to the campus values of respect, integrity, truth, trust, and empathy. The MSU has consistently violated the campus code of conduct. Enough is enough!”
O’Grady added, “We were pleased to see 56 faculty members issue an open letter expressing concern about activities on campus that foment hatred against Jews and Israelis, and hope that they, too, will specifically condemn Malik Ali’s tirade. Ali may have the First Amendment right to spew his hate, but the University community has the obligation to denounce it in the most forceful terms. It would send a strong message to Jewish students on campus that the University is committed to providing an environment that is free of intimidation and harassment.”
Malik Ali, who runs Masjid Al Islam, a mosque affiliated with the anti-Semitic Muslim group Sabiqun, is regularly invited to Southern California campuses as part of their anti-Israel programming. His speeches consistently include outrageous rants about Zionists and Jews, and describing the U.S. government, the economy and the media as being part of a corrupt global super-structure controlled by “Zionist Jews.”
The problems the Muslim Students are causing for Jewish students on college campuses are not limited to UC Irvine. When David Horowitz visited UC San Diego during the Muslim Student Union’s version of Israel Apartheid Week, he challenged a Muslim student to condemn Hamas. She would not do it.
Both UCSD and UC Berkeley have come up with divestment resolutions. While they have been tabled for the moment, it is likely that this kind of one-sided, unreasoned bias will rear its ugly head again and again.
According to Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO, StandWithUs, MSU and the Muslim Student Association (MSA), who are linked with extremist groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), focus single-mindedly on one goal: demonizing Israel. They share their strategies with 600 chapters across the U.S., and they are not likely to quit.
StandWithUs, a non-profit Israel education organization, advocates that Jewish students come up with a focused and strategized program of their own to plan campaigns in advance, link up with non-Jewish groups on campus, and continually train new campus leaders. They must be prepared to challenge the fallacies, expose the extremists for what they are, and concentrate on speaking to the overall campus community.
There is a long distance between silence and violence. Silence only serves to enable the extremists.