Monday, December 16

Jewish students urge USAC to co-sponsor resolution against anti-Semitism

Three Jewish students urged undergraduate government officers Tuesday to issue public apologies, reach out to the Jewish community and co-sponsor a resolution decrying anti-Semitism in response to controversial comments about a Jewish student’s appointment at last week’s meeting.

Members of the Undergraduate Students Association Council unanimously appointed Rachel Beyda, a second-year economics student, to the Judicial Board last week after about 40 minutes of deliberation.

General Representative 3 Fabienne Roth, General Representative 1 Manjot Singh, Transfer Student Representative Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed and General Representative 2 Sofia Moreno Haq argued that Beyda’s affiliation with the Jewish community on campus could constitute a conflict of interest in cases the Judicial Board might rule on.

The board is the student-run judicial branch of the student government and hears cases on violations of USAC’s governing documents. USAC President Avinoam Baral nominated Beyda for the position, and the Appointment Review Committee approved Beyda with a 3-0-0 vote.

On Tuesday, three students from Hillel at UCLA made specific demands from Roth, Singh, Sadeghi-Movahed, Haq, and External Vice President Conrad Contreras whose proxy representative also voiced concern over Beyda’s affiliations at the Feb. 10 council meeting.

Yael Glouberman, a third-year communication studies student and a representative on the Hillel at UCLA student board, said she thinks the comments made about Beyda’s qualifications to serve on the Judicial Board were hurtful, discriminatory and anti-Semitic.

“When you assumed that the Jewish community has certain political affiliations, not only are you not doing your job as representatives of all students, but you’re discriminating against your own constituents,” Glouberman said

Last year, the Judicial Board ruled on a contentious case against councilmembers who voted on a divestment resolution after taking free trips to Israel while in office. Out of nine cases posted on the Judicial Board website since 2007, only last year’s case involved divestment or Israel.

Council voted twice on Beyda’s appointment at last week’s meeting. The first vote was dismissed after the votes were split down the middle.

After USAC Administrative Representative Debra Geller and Alumni Representative Laureen Lazarovici brought up concerns of discrimination against Beyda, the council voted unanimously to approve her appointment to the Judicial Board.

Following Tuesday’s meeting the councilmembers who opposed Beyda’s appointment said they were sorry they offended members of the Jewish community.

“I feel like the way the meeting happened and the way my words were interpreted were offensive and that’s out of my moral compass to offend any community,” Sadeghi-Movahed said.

The Jewish students at Tuesday’s meeting asked for Roth, Singh, Sadeghi-Movahed and Haq to issue a public apology in the Daily Bruin, and asked Contreras to denounce the comments his proxy made and apologize on his behalf.

Elyssa Schlossberg, a fourth-year psychobiology student and member of the Hillel at UCLA student board, said she thinks the councilmembers need to be educated about what constitutes anti-Semitism.

“I hope by now you know that the logic regarding Jews and their divided loyalties mirrors the same ideologies used in Nazi Germany to deny Jews government jobs,” Schlossberg said. “Although we would never suggest that your statements are on par with these notorious anti-Semites, we want to be clear that it is a slippery slope.”

The students also demanded the councilmembers take steps to mend their relationship with the UCLA Jewish community by attending Jewish student-led events, learning about the history and culture of Jewish students and being educated on the historical roots of anti-Semitism, said Natalie Charney, a fourth-year global studies student and one of the Hillel student board members.

“Hearing those words is so sad and so bad,” Roth said. “I can’t believe I said that. … I’ll be taking very seriously what the Jewish community wants from me.”

The students finally requested that the councilmembers who spoke against and initially voted against Beyda to co-sponsor a resolution against all forms of anti-Semitism.

They said the Jewish community is currently working on the language of the resolution and will bring it to council to vote on at next week’s meeting.

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  • Man Of

    Semites aren’t just jewish people.

    • Just A Student

      Since it’s invention, the term anti-Semitism has ALWAYS meant hostility or prejudice against Jews. To try to devalue that word because “not only Jews are semites” is actually anti-Semitic in itself.

      • Man Of

        I am not attempting to devalue the word, the word is a misnomer.

        Also, I never once said thats not what anti-semitism means since its invention. I just stated the fact that Semites aren’t just Jewish people.

      • Man Of

        The word Semite precedes the term anti-semitism.

        The word is a misnomer.

        I stated a fact. You try to attack my character.

        I simply find it strange that such a misnomer, coined by a terrible man, actually is being used everyday, even though it is wrong. You must respect him very much.

    • robert affinity

      Seriously? the word “anti-semite” was created by a German Jew-Hater named wilhelm mar as a label for his philosophy of “Jew hatred.”
      Words sometimes have meanings that are not “literal.” We park on driveways and drive on parkways…

      • Man Of

        A driveway is somewhere you park.

        A semite is a member of a group of people originally of southwestern Asia that includes Jews and Arabs

        The word is a misnomer.

    • AchillesAchillesAchilles

      That’s why the term Jew baiter is much preferred. It appears there were four Jew baiters, but one needs to see the meeting itself to be sure.

  • robman012

    “The students also demanded the councilmembers take steps to mend their relationship with the UCLA Jewish community by attending Jewish student-led events, learning about the history and culture of Jewish students and being educated on the historical roots of anti-Semitism, said Natalie Charney, a fourth-year global studies student and one of the Hillel student board members.” A agree that they may have gone a little bit too far, but this potential divestment resolution is ridiculous. I don’t mind a sort of resolution, but this particular bill in condescending.

  • Kyle

    I find it disturbing that there are no quotes from the meeting itself in this article. Something tells me that if representatives had said something anti-Muslim or anti-gay about a potential appointee during deliberations that their words would be quoted for all to see.

    • AchillesAchillesAchilles

      Even worse, the meeting itself was removed from public view. That unfortunately suggests that there were murderous implications in the words themselves.

  • roccolore

    Fascist Democrats like you are just anti-Jewish. Find me one time a Muslim student was ever questioned in a similar fashion.

  • Nope, Try again

    It’s really upsetting that the Representatives seem to think what’s important is how their WORDS were misconstrued, rather than the fact that not only did they accuse Beyda of divided loyalties in a clasical anti-semitic tactic, but they actively voted against her.

    It’s one thing to say anti-semitic canards to a Jew’s face. It’s another thing entirely to actively refuse that Jew a job on the basis of those canards. And the fact that they can’t seem to see the difference makes me worry about what will happen when these so-called “moral” people go out into a world without a faculty adviser.

    • jerseydave

      Those “moral people” will soon be the faculty advisers. This is a step down a road that doesn’t lead anywhere nice.

    • AchillesAchillesAchilles

      Actually, the statements themselves are far more important than the vote.

      If the four said things that might be construed as being consistent with a world view that being Jewish suits one to being slaughtered, they should certainly be barred from making judgments about anyone.

      The reason, after all, is that life is sacred & beautiful. To believe that people should be killed because they are Jewish simply is fascist. No one with fascist notions should be permitted to judge other human beings.

      None will know if this is so, of course, unless the material becomes available for public viewing again.

      Were I one of the four who were said to have made such statements, & I did not make them, I would strongly demand that the whole meeting be made public again, so that my name would be cleared. It should be remembered that this stuff is very good reason for law schools, such as the one at UCLA, Harvard, or Yale, to not accept a candidate for admission.

      Most likely, they did not utter statements that would indicate they were murderous. All need to see the video, if for no other reason than to protect their reputations. I’d really hate to be applying for grad school of any sort with this kind of monkey on my neck.

  • Nope, Try again

    If USAC asks a Muslim student about whether they will have divided loyalties when it comes to Palestine (or Egypt, or India/Pakistan or Da’esh/ISIS) specifically for being a member of the Muslim community, that would be absolutely the same thing and require the same condemnation. I encourage you to submit articles to the Daily Bruin if and when that happens again.

    The problem here is that without any evidence whatsoever, the representatives assumed that being Jewish came with specific politics that precluded critical thought or being able to do a job that rarely touches on those politics.

    And, yes, questioning Israeli treatment of Palestinians when the topic is the Judicial Board at UCLA, and the prospective board member has no stated politics either way, is absolutely anti-Semitic, because it’s conflating diasporic Jews with the government of a country they don’t live in. Much like questioning Da’esh’s actions to an American Muslim would be Islamophobic.

  • Merkava

    Thanks for expressing a view from our throwing Gay Men off of Buildings contingent, “hypocrisy.”
    Well, there’s an answer to that.