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Wednesday, December 13

Submission: Groups ask USAC candidates to decline sponsored trips


Editor’s note: The following is a statement jointly written and disseminated by the Armenian Students’ Association, Samahang Pilipino, the Afrikan Student Union, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Student Association and Jewish Voice for Peace. Representatives of those organizations contacted candidates, asking them to sign the statements by the deadline of Monday at 5 p.m. It is printed below, edited for Daily Bruin style, with the list of signatories that endorsed the statement before the deadline. Signatories are printed in the order of when they signed.

We, as UCLA students from various backgrounds and perspectives, ask that elected officials refrain from taking free or sponsored trips with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League or Hasbara Fellowships.

As many students have experienced this year, AIPAC and ADL have political agendas that marginalize multiple communities on campus. Recently, student government trips to the AIPAC Policy Conference have come under scrutiny because of the organization’s ties to anti-Armenian groups and public figures. Both AIPAC and the ADL (as well as its current president) have histories of Islamophobia. AIPAC has sponsored Islamophobic speakers at its conferences and has also consistently pushed for war with Iran, even while the Barack Obama administration has sought a diplomatic route. AIPAC also marginalizes the Afrikan and Palestinian communities, as the organization has consistently endorsed and protected actions that have violated human rights and international law.

Hasbara Fellowships is housed under Aish International, an organization that has helped disseminate Islamophobic materials on campuses and around the country. These materials portray the Muslim community as threats, have incited violence against Muslims and serve to marginalize Muslim students on campus.

We further ask that Undergraduate Students Association Council members do not accept free or sponsored trips that marginalize communities on the UCLA campus. This includes any outside non-student organization that promotes discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, age, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, physical ability, mental ability, marital status, financial status or social status or which engages in any form of systematic prejudiced oppression. The University of California Student Association and United States Student Association conferences are deemed acceptable as these conferences deal directly with student issues and do not marginalize any community.

Please sign as a candidate in the upcoming USAC elections assuring the campus that you will decline these trips while in elected office:

Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed
Winnie Galbadores
Francesca Rebosura
Manjot Singh
Irmary Garcia
Janay Williams
Devin Tré Murphy
Erineo Garcia
Alexander Joseph Maximilian Mercier
Conrad Contreras
Miriam Rodriguez
Harwind Lasher
Angel Garfio
Jazz Kiang
Teri Nguyen
Gabriel Gutierrez
Der Xiong

Carlos Quintanilla, Savannah Badalich, Greg Kalfayan, Kevin Patterson and Sachin Medhekar declined to sign because of issues with specific language in the document but claim they will not be attending such conferences if elected in the upcoming year.

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  • ThisIsPalestine

    How incredibly typical. Students for Just Us in Palestine are afraid that if student senators learn the truth about Israel they won’t succumb to their propaganda.

    SJP as an institution is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the revoking of the basic human right of self-determination for the Jewish people. By their very existence, they are an organization that promotes discrimination and systematic prejudiced oppression. This declaration is not only insulting and intimidating to student senators, it is hypocritical.

    I’m sure it bothers SJP a lot that they don’t have complete control over the microphone at UCLA. It’s a lot harder to win the argument when the people you are trying to convince know the truth. If they are so concerned about students traveling abroad, maybe they should ask their backers in Saudi Arabia to pony up the cash for free trips to “Palestine,” instead of trying to tear down other people.

  • Double standard

    So does this apply to ALL organizations going on ANY kind of trips or just ones having to do with Israel? This statement smacks of anti-semitism and I would expect nothing less of from these organizations

    • Whatever

      I hope those Armenians who signed on to this will also agree that they should not be allowed to do any lobbying or sponsored trips that changes the policy on recognition of the Armenian genocide. Are they willing to support this? Or are they being the typical hypocritical Anti-Semites who also think that the world revolves around Glendale, CA? I’m fine with no sponsored trips as long as it applies to everyone!

  • Mifty Popularis

    If anything, it is the Muslim student groups that divide the campus and openly support homophobic agendas and bring hateful Anti-Semitic speakers on campus and they go after student leaders for going on trips on their free time that don’t cost UCLA students a dime. The Muslim student paper reported Osama Bin Laden was “misunderstood” and wrote articles defending him as a good guy (mind you this was before 9/11 but still AFTER he was responsible for terrorist attacks that killed Americans). That’s all on public record in the UCLA archives. This has been going on for years. Here’s just one example: http://dailybruin.com/2007/01/22/imuslim_groups_message_inconsistent_actionsi/

  • Mifty Popularis

    The Israeli-Palestine issue should NOT be an issue for USAC. The people who are marginalizing the campus and spreading division and hate are the ones who signed this letter, many of whom were endorsed by the Daily Bruin (partially because of it): Negeen Sadeghi-MovahedWinnie Galbadores
    Francesca Rebosura
    Manjot Singh
    Irmary Garcia
    Janay Williams
    Devin Tré Murphy
    Erineo Garcia
    Alexander Joseph Maximilian Mercier
    Conrad Contreras
    Miriam Rodriguez
    Harwind Lasher
    Angel Garfio
    Jazz Kiang
    Teri Nguyen
    Gabriel Gutierrez
    Der Xion

    • Whatever

      I hope Manjot Singh will not be doing any lobbing efforts or endorsement efforts of the violent Sikh Khalistani campaign, which has led to plane hijackings and killings of hundreds of innocents. Does he condemn the Khalistan violent movement? He needs to come clear on this!

  • No Hypocrisy

    If only SJP and their supporters would end their relentless smear campaign against councilmembers who voted against the divestment resolution. Is it totally unfathomable that USAC members had pre-formed opinions on the efficacy of divestment before going to Israel? It’s probably fair to assume that USAC officers who were members of SJP, Samahang, ASU etc before being elected had their own opinions on divisive international political issues that they brought to the Council table. Isn’t that the point of representative democracy–to elect leaders who share your opinions on the issues? Or is USAC not a democratic body?

    Enough hypocrisy. Let’s call a spade a spade and move on from this issue.

  • UCLAtruth

    Al-Talib’s praise of Osama bin Laden marginalizes EVERY student on this campus http://imgur.com/4e0OdQA

  • L_King

    All candidates should make it clear that these McCarthyite tactics have no place in this or any democratic forum. Discriminatory campaigns such as this which demand loyalty to anyone’s narrow political agenda hijack the human rights of everyone by pretending to espouse principles that they are clearly against.

  • Joseph

    This is beynd disgusting. this bunch of pissants is NOT the reaon I marched in the ’60′s.