Agudath Israel of California applauded the California State Assembly for passing a resolution this Monday, July 13th, urging action against the rise of anti-Semitism on University of California (UC) campuses. Senate Concurrent Resolution 35 calls for UC to adopt its own resolution against anti-Semitism and all forms of racism on its campuses. It also condemns such expressions of hatred on all public college campuses in California.

The resolution, sponsored by California State Senator Jeff Stone (R-Temecula), is a response to a notable rise in anti-Semitic incidents at UC campuses, including the painting of a swastika on a Jewish fraternity and the initial rejection of a Jewish candidate for the Student Council’s Judicial Board because of her faith. Agudath Israel of America strongly advocated for this resolution, writing letters of support to legislators in the weeks before the vote.

The growing anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses has been well documented, and is largely fueled by anti-Israel sentiment. A recent survey of 1,157 Jewish students at 55 U.S. college campuses found that 54% of Jewish students experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism on campus between September 2013 and March 2014. Resolution 35 uses the U.S. State Department definition of anti-Semitism, which includes much of the rhetoric of anti-Israel groups. The Assembly vote follows recent votes approving the resolution by the California State Senate and the California State Assembly’s Higher Education Committee.

Dr. Irving Lebovics, chairman of Agudath Israel of California, heralded the actions of the State Assembly and Senate as a vital and urgent message for the University of California and other California colleges. “If we want to rid ourselves of the poisonous atmosphere engendered by these hate groups on campus, we need to take a strong stance,” he said. “This resolution is a clarion call by the California State Assembly and Senate; by voting against anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred, they are promoting tolerance and equality on campus, for Jews and all other groups.”

Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Agudath Israel of America’s executive vice president, stated, “the members of the Senate and Assembly in California have shown that they care for the safety and well-being of their Jewish constituents on college campuses. Hopefully the administration at the University of California will take strong positive action, and other states will follow with resolutions of their own.”

(Author: Judith Dinowitz)