The American Jewish Congress on Monday said it was “outraged by the strong-arm, hypocritical, anti-Israel tactics several student groups used during the just-completed UCLA student council elections.”
In a statement, AJC Executive Director David Harris said, “McCarthyism has returned, only this time it’s directed against Israel and takes place in a university setting.”
“Cherished values of open-mindedness and inquiry on campus are being trashed by groups obsessed with a sinister political agenda,” Harris said. “What a sad day for the American university!”
The AJC said that in the run-up to the elections that ended Friday, “notoriously anti-Israel student groups launched an aggressive campaign to compel council candidates to sign a pledge to foreswear engagement with well-established Jewish organizations that sponsor educational trips to Israel.”
“Strikingly, there were no attempted restrictions on similar activities — trips, conferences — by other organizations. Presumably it is fine to sponsor trips abroad as long as they align with the ideology of those groups,” the Jewish organization said.
Harris said that “suggesting that students participating in educational trips to Israel are incapable of making their own decisions about their experiences reveals extraordinary contempt for fellow students, not to mention an off-the-charts animus against Israel, the only truly democratic country in the region.”
He noted that AJC’s long-running Project Interchange has brought many young leaders and college students to Israel, “including, it should be noted, meetings in Ramallah and elsewhere in the West Bank with Palestinian leaders.”
UCLA was in the news in February when a student broke down in tears after an anti-Israel resolution she supported was defeated by the same student council.