Donate Shop Register


UCLA Office of the Chancellor - statement about blacklisting students who go to Israel
May 18, 2014

This comes on the heals of students being asked to sign a pledge that they will not participate in trips to Israel if they are elected to student council. 

UCLA logoOffice of the Chancellor
To the Campus Community:
Over the past week, many of our students, as well as friends off campus, have communicated their concerns over a pledge that candidates for our student government were asked to sign prior to last week's elections. Heated exchanges have occurred over the issue and have unfortunately left some feeling disrespected or targeted because of their views or affiliations. Certain news reports and other communications through social media have also mischaracterized aspects of the situation, fueling an unhealthy discourse that is harmful to our campus climate. Robust debate is vital to democratic learning, but it can never exclude common sense, civility and tolerance for those who disagree.
First, let me set the record straight on the facts, as we understand them: Students active in student government, who have varying views on Israel—Palestine issues, have participated in the recent past in free trips to the Middle East organized by Jewish groups. Prior to the recent student elections, some student groups asked candidates to sign a pledge promising not to go on such trips. The pledge was not sanctioned, proposed or required by our current student government or the university administration. No one was barred from running for office, participating in the election or serving on the council as a result of not signing the pledge. Some students signed, others did not. Both signatories and non-signatories won offices. The decision to circulate this pledge and the choice to sign it or not fall squarely within the realm of free speech, and free speech is sacrosanct to any university campus.
Second, just because speech is constitutionally protected doesn't mean that it is wise, fair or productive. I am troubled that the pledge sought to delegitimize educational trips offered by some organizations but not others. I am troubled that the pledge can reasonably be seen as trying to eliminate selected viewpoints from the discussion. I condemn any remarks on social media or elsewhere that are disrespectful or hurtful.
Political speech that stigmatizes or casts aspersions on individuals or particular groups does not promote healthy debate but debases it by trying to intimidate individuals and groups. It does not strengthen the bonds of mutual respect and engagement that sustain a diverse community able to manage differences; it weakens them. If we shut out perspectives, if we silence voices, if we allow innuendo to substitute for reasoned exchange of ideas, if we listen only to those who already share our assumptions, truth gets lost, our intellectual climate is impoverished and our community is diminished.
Passionate debate is to be expected in a civil society, especially in a heated election season, but I am personally concerned any time people feel disrespected, intimidated or unfairly singled out because of their beliefs. Important issues will generate passions, even discomfort -- that cannot be avoided. But if the political debate on campus gets more shrill and less nuanced, if hostility replaces empathy, if we see each other as enemies rather than as colleagues trying to figure out how to do the right thing in difficult circumstances, we will all be the lesser for it. It is possible to express strong opinions without belittling others.
Today I am calling on our Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs to explore how to better foster political dialogue that is respectful, productive and focused on understanding rather than division. UCLA faculty, students and staff deserve an open environment that encourages vigorous debate without disparagement.
Sincerely,
Gene D. Block
Chancellor
Other stories
2/14/2019
It is clear to us, along with thousands of state legislators and 26 governors, that the BD...
2/13/2019
In an email to the Tufts community, the university`s president, Anthony Monaco, did not ex...
2/12/2019
Every panelist `expressed a Palestinian anti-Zionist narrative`...
2/12/2019
LA-based Israel advocacy group StandWithUS calls Sarah Whitson`s claims antisemitic conspi...
2/12/2019
Laws against boycotting the Jewish state are patterned after those that protect gays and l...
2/8/2019
The Senate passed a bill on Feb. 5 that cracks down on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctio...
2/8/2019
Despite Miko Peled saying that the Jewish people have “a reputation for being sleazy...
2/8/2019
“The declassification of the UNRWA textbook report proves to the American people wha...
2/8/2019
The Boca Raton-based StandWithUs/Southeast will host its third annual Leaders of Tomorrow ...
2/6/2019
TERRORISTS are helping to run the BDS movement, a new hard-hitting Israeli government repo...
2/6/2019
Eitan Teiger is the new Israeli shaliach for the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and...
2/6/2019
We are saddened by the sudden loss of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the founder and president of...
2/5/2019
StandWithUs commends the U.S. Senate for its strong bipartisan support of The Strengthenin...
2/4/2019
Sara Greenbourne never meant to get involved with campus politics. Then she heard what ant...
2/4/2019
The Council on American-Islamic Relations` (CAIR) California chapter called on the Univers...
2/4/2019
Rikola-Gunnar Luettgenau of the Buchenwald memorial foundation said this plan shows a R...
2/4/2019
Why are Jews surprised that they have “a reputation for being sleazy thieves,”...
2/4/2019
Are the Jews in Israel white European colonialists? Are Israels settlements in the West Ba...
2/4/2019
A group of anti Israel protesters disrupted a LGBTQ event over the weekend which included ...
2/4/2019
While several pro-Israel groups criticized the appointment of Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has end...

 

About Us
Get Involved
Resources
Shop For Israel
Social Media