Zionists Call for Donation, Enrollment Boycott of UC Irvine, Slam Chancellor

UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake has come under fire.
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) issued a statement Tuesday urging potential students to apply somewhere other than UC Irvine and potential donors to contribute elsewhere. The group, which has been "fighting for Jewish people and the Land of Israel" since its 1897 founding and boasts a national membership of 30,000, in particular slammed UCI Chancellor Michael Drake for allowing anti-Semitism to rule the campus.

"[T]he university has for years enabled bigotry, discrimination and the violation of civil rights by failing to condemn longstanding anti-Semitic and Israel-bashing speech and conduct on campus, and failing to enforce its own policies against the perpetrators," reads the ZOA statement.

The boycott comes hot on the heels of campus police arresting 12 students from Irvine and Riverside who disrupted a Feb. 8 UCI Student Center lecture by Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. The campus Muslim Student Union condemned the arrests, but it is unclear which, if any, of those quickly whisked out of the auditorium and cited by campus officers were MSU members.

Immediate condemnations of the disruptors by Drake, political science professor Mark Petracca and School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, were not enough to appease the ZOA, which especially faulted Drake for the outbursts.

"As a Jerusalem Post editorial noted, the Muslim Student Union 'made a mockery of the university's commitment to freedom of speech and treated its dedication to respectful dialogue with downright disdain.' Yet Chancellor Drake's response to the Muslim Student Union's latest misconduct was tepid at best," reads the ZOA statement.

Drake should have, according to the ZOA:

* condemned members of the MSU "for the disrespect they showed to the Ambassador of the State of Israel, their violation of others' civil rights, their possibly illegal conduct, and their violation of university policies--all of which brought further shame to him and his university";

* "clearly and forcefully" stated that "disciplinary proceedings would be instituted against the wrongdoers, as specifically provided for by university policy";

* "handled the matter himself," rather than referring the case to the Office of Student Conduct, which "itself been derelict in its responsibility when it comes to the Muslim Student Union."

University officials have found themselves in the ZOA's crosshairs since at least 2004, when MSU members drew national attention for wearing green stoles to graduation. The graduating students claimed the stoles symbolized their faith, while others alleged they represented allegiance to the militant group Hamas.

The following year, the ZOA complained to federal civil rights investigators about alleged anti-Semitic speeches by speakers invited to UCI and discrimination against Jewish students because the university failed to take action. An investigation concluded the speeches and marches were based on opposition to Israeli policies, not the religion or national origin of Jewish students.

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