For years, determined anti-Semites at UCLA have been attempting to utilize the school administration, including student government, to target Jews. The most vocal advocates for such discrimination have been the Jew-haters of Students for Justice in Palestine, who routinely and falsely accuse Israel of human rights brutalities and insist that the UC system as a whole divest, boycott, and sanction the Jewish State.
Now SJP has taken its battle to the next level: they want the Graduate Students Association to actively give money to their Jew-hating cause. They’re doing so under the guise of “viewpoint neutrality,” but their case is anything but neutral: they want government-sanctioned and government-sponsored discrimination.
In fact, the SJP – as they often do – attempted to create a controversy here in order to target their political enemies at the GSA. That’s unsurprising from a group founded by Jew-hater Hatem Bazian, who has attempted to liken Palestinian treatment to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust, and who once reportedly cited the Quran passage, “The Day of Judgment will not happen until the trees and stones will say, ‘Oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’” SJP has sponsored terrorism supporters speaking around the country, opposes the two-state solution, and hosts supporters who chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
And now SJP has the GSA in its crosshairs.
In October 2015, an organization calling itself the Diversity Caucus approached the GSA and requested – outside the normal channels of student funding – a $2,000 grant for an event. The GSA attached a rider to their grant: they insisted that the BDS movement not be attached to the event, and that no countermovement to BDS be included either. The Diversity Caucus took the cash, held the event, then promptly turned around and sent a legal letter to the UCLA administration alleging viewpoint discrimination. The president of the GSA has been subjected to vicious public attacks by SJP, Palestine Legal, and their attached counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union; the ACLU even sent a representative to violate the rules of the GSA and scream his way through a GSA meeting. Now, the SJP-ACLU-PL triumvirate has penned an op-ed in the ever-anti-Israel Daily Bruin, suggesting that the GSA president violated the law in his activities. “There are not two sides to this issue,” they wrote, “it’s not up for debate. If GSA funding comes from tuition dollars, and it does, then the GSA president cannot tell the Diversity Caucus to suppress its beliefs about divestment as a condition of funding. The US Supreme Court said so.”
Except, of course, that the Supreme Court has said no such thing.
The Supreme Court says that the government “may not regulate speech based on its substantive content or the message it conveys.” But the Supreme Court also explains, “it is well established that the government can make content-based distinctions when it subsidizes speech.” There’s a reason that the government does not have to sponsor racist, sexist, or anti-Semitic claptrap under the Constitution. Just because the government doesn’t sign a check to such activities does not mean that the government has regulated such activities. The Supreme Court goes even further: they’ve made clear that the government can sponsor certain viewpoints with its funding “to encourage certain activities it believes to be in the public interest, without at the same time funding an alternative program which seeks to deal with the problem in another way.”
Certainly, that’s the case here – the UC Provost has rejected teaching of BDS in the classroom, and the UC President has rejected an academic BDS movement.
But in this case, the GSA wasn’t even sponsoring the anti-BDS movement. They just didn’t want to fund anything having to do with BDS, pro or con. The GSA president – and indeed, a full GSA Cabinet Resolution – clarified that the GSA wanted to avoid the murky waters of the BDS movement.
The ACLU lies that the GSA president singled out SJP here by denying them the “same student fee funding available to other students.” But, as mentioned, SJP didn’t even apply properly for such group funding. As the American Center for Law and Justice has written, “It is absolutely clear that if the group in question had been seeking funding through the normal channels (i.e., through the Discretionary Fund process), they would have received it, like every other organization receiving such funds, without this stipulation attached.”
But the legalities don’t matter here to SJP or its allies. All that matters is the PR war. If that means destroying an innocent student government official, they’ll do it. If it means propagandizing the pages of the anti-Israel Daily Bruin, they’ll do it. And if it means lying about the law, they’ll do that too.
Anything for the cause.
And if graduate students don’t see why they should have to affirmatively sponsor such tripe, they’ll find themselves in the crosshairs, too.