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Anti-Zionism and the Abuse of Academic Freedom: A Case Study at the University of California, Santa Cruz

Filed under: Anti-Semitism, Palestinians, U.S. Policy, World Jewry
Publication: Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism

No. 77,


  • Since 2001, anti-Zionist discourse has found its way into classrooms and academic events at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). At an academic conference held on that campus in 2007, the speakers claimed that Zionism was an illegitimate ideology and argued for the elimination of the Jewish state.
  • The unscholarly, political, and anti-Semitic nature of the conference raises questions about whether events of this kind are a legitimate exercise of academic freedom or an abuse of it.
  • Although the recently revised University of California rules do not specify the limits of academic freedom, they do presume that faculty and administrative agencies will define those limits and impose sanctions on faculty who violate them. However, despite a system of shared governance, in which faculty are responsible for ensuring the scholarly integrity of academic programming and administrators for making sure all programming accords with university regulation, abuses of academic freedom have been allowed to flourish at UCSC.
  • Members of the UCSC chapter of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East have documented numerous cases of faculty-generated anti-Zionist political advocacy and activism on that campus, and they have presented evidence of academic-freedom abuse to the faculty senate and administration for further investigation. These efforts have largely been unsuccessful, however, as neither governing body has been willing to address the problem, or even acknowledge that it exists.

Under the mantle of academic freedom, falsehoods and distortions about Zionism and Israel-claims, for example, that Zionism is racism, that Israel perpetrates genocide and ethnic cleansing, and that the Jewish state should be dismantled-are heard in classrooms and at departmentally-sponsored events on many university campuses. This essay will analyze the problematic nature of academic anti-Zionism,[1] the factors within the university that allow the problem to flourish, and the attempts of a small group of concerned faculty to address the problem within the university-governance structure. It will focus on one campus-the University of California, Santa Cruz-where the problem is particularly acute, and present an analysis of an academic conference on Zionism that took place there in March 2007.

Anti-Zionism at the University of California, Santa Cruz

Over the past several years, faculty members at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) have injected anti-Zionist rhetoric into their courses and departmentally-sponsored events.[2] For example, a community-studies class designed to train social activists was taught by an instructor who described herself in her online syllabus as an activist with the “campaign against the Apartheid Wall being built in Palestine,”[3] and whose recommended readings included such unreferenced statements as: “Israeli massacres are often accompanied by sexual assault, particularly of pregnant women as a symbolic way of uprooting the children from the mother, or the Palestinian from the land.”[4]

The previous summer, the same lecturer taught a community-studies course on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which she used the class email list to encourage students to participate in a demonstration against Israel’s “destructive actions” in Lebanon and Gaza outside the Israeli consulate in San Francisco.[5] UCSC students also report that some professors insert into class lectures anti-Israel or anti-Zionist materials unrelated to the course, as when a full class period in a course on women’s health activism was devoted to a lecture on the allegedly ruthless treatment of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers.[6]

At the departmental level, since 2001 more than a dozen events dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been sponsored by a number of UCSC departments and research centers, and all of these have been biased against Israel.[7]

“Alternative Histories Within and Beyond Zionism”: An Academic Conference

Perhaps the most egregious expression of academically-legitimized anti-Zionism at UCSC was a conference entitled “Alternative Histories Within and Beyond Zionism,” which took place on 15 March 2007 with the sponsorship of eight university departments and research units.[8] Four professors and a graduate student presented papers whose primary goals were the deconstruction, delegitimization, and elimination of Zionism and its realization in a Jewish state:[9]

  • David Theo Goldberg, director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute, delivered a paper on “Racial Palestinianization,” in which he claimed that Israel has been from its inception a racist entity, which has used its racist state policies to protect the purity of the Jewish race and exclude and oppress the Palestinians. He further suggested that such a state does not deserve to exist and that, like the antiapartheid resistance in South Africa, suicide bombings are a legitimate means for bringing about Israel’s justly deserved downfall.
  • Judith Butler, professor of rhetoric and comparative literature at UC Berkeley, presented a talk on “Hidden Histories of Post-Zionism,” in which she revived the pre-state Zionist critiques of Jews such as Hannah Arendt and Martin Buber in order to argue that the Jewish state should be replaced by a binational secular state. She claimed that besides redressing the “longstanding issues of legal injustice and political violence” perpetrated by Israel, binationalism had the added advantage of being able “to subject nationalism to a deconstruction” and in this way defeat Zionism on the battlefield of ideas rather than through Israel’s violent destruction.
  • Hilton Obenzinger, associate director for honors and advanced writing at the Stanford Writing Center, presented a personal account of his experiences as a Jewish anti-Zionist activist in a talk entitled “Jewish Opposition to the Occupation since 1967: A Personal and Public Journey.” He portrayed Israel as an imperialist and colonial-settler state in partnership with the United States, and encouraged members of the audience to take responsibility for “ending this empire.”
  • Terri Ginsberg, adjunct professor at Purchase College, delivered a paper on “Holocaust Film and Zionism: Exposing a Collaboration,” arguing that Holocaust films have facilitated and justified the propagation of a racist Zionist ideology and its realization in a state that perpetrates ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Palestinians. She called on fellow members of the Left to confront the Holocaust-Zionist conspiracy head-on, in order to “transform radically the ideology and institutional structures of Zionism as we know it.”
  • Ryvka Bar Zohar, a graduate student at New York University, presented a talk on “A History of Zionism and the Politics of Divestment,” in which she argued that Zionism grew out of the attempt of East European Jews to recover from the “shame of the Diaspora” and the Holocaust by finding “pride in domination.” She claimed that Zionism was a racist doctrine that led to the creation of an apartheid state, and she used her analysis to argue that the movement to divest from Israel was a justified and effective strategy for mounting an opposition to the Jewish state.

Although advertised as an academic event, the conference violated well-accepted norms of scholarship and university protocol.  Most conspicuously, rather than providing a forum for the presentation of legitimate scholarly research in order to advance knowledge in the field and educate participants and audience, the conference was an exercise in political indoctrination, dominated by the promotion of an anti-Zionist agenda and directed toward the goal of encouraging activism against the Jewish state. Moreover, the speakers left little room for doubt about their partisanship: most identified themselves in the course of their talks as anti-Zionists, and two of them, Obenzinger and Ginsberg, openly expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian people.

In addition, most of the speakers were explicit about their political motivation and advocacy efforts. The talks by Obenzinger and Bar Zohar were wholly devoted to justifying and promoting their anti-Israel political efforts; and Ginsberg said her goal was “to transform Zionism in the better interest of social justice.” It is hard to imagine that the conference organizer, who herself had publicly acknowledged her opposition to Zionism and Israel, was unaware of the fact that all of the speakers she had selected had previously identified themselves as anti-Zionists and were actively engaged in efforts to undermine the Jewish state.[10]

Given the highly politicized nature of the conference, it is not surprising that much of the discourse was tendentious and unscholarly. For example, numerous unsubstantiated claims about the illegitimacy of Zionism and Israel were made:

  • All of the speakers expressed the idea that Zionism is racist in its formulation and realization in a Jewish state.
  • Goldberg, Obenzinger, Ginsberg, and Bar Zohar claimed that Zionism was a brand of European colonialism and imperialism.
  • Bar Zohar called Israel “an apartheid regime,” and Goldberg called Israel’s actions “worse than apartheid.”
  • Butler, Obenzinger, and Bar Zohar claimed that Zionism is discontinuous with Jewish historical experience and is therefore a historically and religiously illegitimate ideology.

In addition, some of the speakers made claims that were either untrue or gross misrepresentations of the facts:

  • Goldberg, Ginsberg, and Bar Zohar accused Israel of ethnic cleansing.
  • Goldberg and Ginsberg accused Israel of genocidal intentions and insinuated Israel’s use of Nazi-like practice to achieve this end.
  • Butler, Obenzinger, Ginsberg, and Bar Zohar stated or implied that Zionists have engaged in a vicious, immoral campaign to silence all criticism of Israel.
  • Ginsberg claimed that Holocaust film scholar Alan Mintz “commits the shanda [disgrace] of dedicating his book to Baruch Goldstein, the right-wing Orthodox Jewish settler who, in 1994, murdered twenty-nine Palestinians in cold blood while they were praying in a Hebron mosque.” In point of fact, the Baruch Goldstein to whom Mintz dedicated his book is not the same individual whom Ginsberg describes in her comments.[11]

Finally, much of the discourse at the conference was anti-Semitic according to the U.S. State Department, which has adopted a broad working definition of anti-Semitism that focuses on the commonalities of its contemporary manifestations, including the targeting of the state of Israel. Numerous statements made by the speakers, which challenged the legitimacy of the Jewish state or called for its elimination; which demonized Israel out of all proportion to reality; which compared Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews; and which accused Israel of exaggerating the Holocaust for immoral purposes, correspond to the following examples given in the State Department’s 2008 report on contemporary global anti-Semitism:[12]

  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination
  • Applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust

Academic Freedom and Its Abuses

“I want to welcome everyone to what I consider to be a historic event on our campus. This is a conference-the Alternative Histories Within and Beyond Zionism-that I think exemplifies the highest ideals of academic freedom: the ability to debate and discuss and have dialogue on controversial issues. That, I think, is the highest ideal of academic freedom.  So I’m very happy to see all of you participating in this historic event.”

Lisa Rofel, conference organizer

In her brief introductory remarks, the conference organizer indicated that the presentations to follow were not only protected by academic freedom but were in fact exemplars of the highest ideals of that freedom. However, given the academically questionable, politically motivated, and anti-Semitic quality of the five presentations, these remarks beg the question: do the conference presentations constitute bona fide expressions of academic freedom, or are they rather abuses of it?

The academic-freedom rules that governed the University of California from 1934 until 2003 conceived of competent scholarship as a dispassionate duty hostile to attempts at ideological conversion: “Where it becomes necessary…to consider political, social, or sectarian movements, they are dissected and examined-not taught, and the conclusion left, with no tipping of the scales, to the logic of the facts.” Also included in this older version of the rules is an assertion of university policy, by which the university “assumes the right to prevent exploitation of its prestige by unqualified persons or by those who would use it as a platform for propaganda.”[13] Judged by the standards of competent scholarship and university policy set forth in this statement, the conference presentations analyzed above constitute clear abuses of academic freedom.

But things are far less clear when the conference is viewed through the lens of the current academic-freedom rules. These were revised by legal scholar Robert Post in 2003 at the request of the then UC president Richard Atkinson, following the failure of both faculty and administrators to apply the longstanding rules to a contentious UC Berkeley course, “The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian Resistance,” whose course description indicated that the instructor would engage in unabashedly pro-Palestinian polemics.[14] As a result of these revisions, all references to standards of competent scholarship that existed in the previous document, including the requirements of “dispassionate” scholarship, which eschews making ideological converts, and a concern with objectivity and “the logic of the facts,” were removed. Similarly deleted was all language asserting university policy proscribing the use of the university as “a platform for propaganda.”

Although the new statement acknowledges that academic freedom “requires that teaching and scholarship be assessed by reference to the professional standards that sustain the University’s pursuit and achievement of knowledge,” these standards are no longer spelled out in the rules. And while the new regulation mentions that “the exercise of academic freedom entails correlative duties of professional care when teaching, conducting research, or otherwise acting as a member of the faculty,”[15] the reader must refer to another document, the Faculty Code of Conduct (APM-015),[16] in order to determine what these duties are, as well as to deduce how they may serve to limit academic freedom.

However, by excising from the original rules those sections whose purpose was to define the limits of academic freedom with respect to competent scholarship and university policy, Post was not denying that academic freedom had limits, but only shifting the responsibility for defining those limits to other agencies within the university, namely, to faculty and administration. How, then, do these bodies monitor academic freedom and ensure that it is legitimately exercised and not abused?

The University’s Two-Headed Monster

The governance of each campus of the University of California is shared between faculty and administration. For its part, the faculty directly controls all academic matters through its representative body, the Academic Senate, whose responsibilities include the authorization, approval, and supervision of all academic programming.[17] Often, as in the case of new-course approvals, academic programming is first vetted by faculty at the departmental level and then sent to an Academic Senate committee made up of faculty from across the university for final review and approval. Both reviewing bodies must determine whether a given course or program meets a variety of criteria, which in theory include “the norms and standards of the profession.”

In practice, however, these norms and standards have been selectively or wholly ignored by both reviewing bodies. For example, even before the UC academic-freedom rules were emended in 2003 to exclude standards of scholarly competence, both the UC Berkeley English Department and the Academic Senate Committee on Courses of Instruction reviewed and approved the remedial writing course, “The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian Resistance.” Yet the course’s egregiously tendentious, unscholarly, and anti-Israel course description included the contention that the “brutal Israeli military occupation of Palestine, an occupation that has been ongoing since 1948, has systematically displaced, killed, and maimed millions of Palestinian people,” and it ended with the exhortation, “Conservative thinkers are encouraged to seek other sections.”[18]

Moreover, although statements about standards of scholarly competence were removed from the revised academic-freedom rules, the UC-wide Committee on Academic Freedom, in a recent document entitled “Academic Freedom: Its Privilege and Responsibility within the University of California,” warns: “Professors who fail to meet scholarly standards of competence or who abuse their position to indoctrinate students cannot claim the protection of academic freedom.”[19] Nevertheless, as noted previously, courses in which faculty overtly promote anti-Zionist perspectives, and even encourage students to engage in activism against the Jewish state, exist at UCSC and on other UC campuses.

While the content of all academic programming falls within the purview of the Academic Senate, ensuring that its implementation meets the standards set by university policy is one of the responsibilities of the chancellor, chief administrative officer of a UC campus, though it may be delegated to a divisional dean.[20] Based on a statute in the California State Constitution, which provides that the University of California “shall be entirely independent of all political and sectarian influence,”[21] there are several university regulations that effectively limit the freedom of faculty to promote a personal or political agenda while implementing academic programming. These include:

Directive issued by Clark Kerr, president of the University of California, September 1961:[22] “University facilities and the name of the University must not be used in ways which will involve the University as an institution in the political…and other controversial issues of the day.” (emphasis added)

The Policy on Course Content of the Regents of the University of California, approved 19 June 1970 and amended 22 September 2005:[23] “[The Regents] are responsible to see that the University remain aloof from politics and never function as an instrument for the advance of partisan interest. Misuse of the classroom by, for example, allowing it to be used for political indoctrination…constitutes misuse of the University as an institution.” (emphasis added)

Directive issued by Charles J. Hitch, president of the University of California, 18 September 1970, “Restrictions on the Use of University Resources and Facilities for Political Activities”:[24] “The name, insignia, seal, or address of the University or any of its offices or units…equipment, supplies, and services…shall not be used for or in connection with political purposes or activities.” (emphasis added)

Academic Personnel Policy (APM) 015-Faculty Code of Conduct:[25] Types of unacceptable conduct: “Unauthorized use of University resources or facilities on a significant scale for personal, commercial, political, or religious purposes.” (emphasis added)

Although the word political, which occurs in each of the above policies and directives, can be narrowly construed as limited to supporting or opposing candidates or propositions in elections, a consideration of the wording of the regulations and the context in which they were written suggests that their authors intended a much more expansive interpretation. President Kerr, for example, linked “political” with “other controversial issues of the day” in his 1961 directive. And both the Regents policy proscribing “political indoctrination” in the classroom and President Hitch’s directive prohibiting the use of university resources and facilities for political activities were issued in 1970 in the wake of campus protests against the Vietnam War that spilled into the classroom and university-sponsored events.

In a letter that President Hitch wrote to all UC faculty just three weeks before the Regents issued their Policy on Course Content, he noted that faculty involvement with anti-Vietnam War activism had led many California legislators to “believe that the basic academic purposes of our campuses are being distorted and subverted, that academic credit is being given for work that is not appropriate, and that the atmosphere of the campuses has become politicized, with freedom for some views and not for others.”[26] According to such an interpretation of “political,” courses, academic conferences, and other departmentally-sponsored events that permit anti-Israel propagandizing are in clear violation of these university regulations, and yet these violations are routinely ignored by administrators.

Failure of Efforts to Address the Problem

In response to the rising incidence of anti-Zionism in classrooms and at departmentally-sponsored events at UCSC and on other UC campuses, a few concerned faculty, including this author, established a local chapter of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) in 2004. Since then, our group has sought to document the problem, to use our evidence to raise the awareness of the faculty, the administration, and the public, and to encourage each of these university stakeholders to address the problem with the means available to them.

Our earlier efforts within the university focused on influencing the highest levels of UC governance, both administrative and faculty. In September 2006, we presented an open letter with more than three thousand signatories to the UC Regents, asking them to address the growing problem of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism on UC campuses.[27] Although the Regents did not respond to us, in November 2006 we received a letter from then-UC president Robert Dynes recommending that we discuss our concerns with the then head of the UC Academic Senate, Professor John B. Oakley, and in early 2007 we met with him to discuss the problem and how the UC Academic Senate could address it.

We presented Professor Oakley with a report in which we documented numerous examples of faculty-sponsored anti-Zionism on several UC campuses. We argued that such faculty behavior violated UC policies, eroded the core academic values of the university, and created a hostile environment for Jewish and pro-Israel students, and we recommended that an independent Academic Senate taskforce be established for examining the problem.[28] Professor Oakley refused to have the UC Academic Senate consider our concerns, and instead suggested that we build our case on individual UC campuses.

Following Professor Oakley’s suggestion, we decided to focus our efforts on one campus, UCSC, where we had documented the problem most extensively. Furthermore, in analyzing the unresponsiveness of both the UC systemwide administration and Academic Senate, we concluded that we would be most effective if we formulated our concerns more precisely, addressing academic matters to the UCSC Academic Senate and matters of university policy to the campus administration.

Our first opportunity to test our two-pronged strategy at UCSC came soon after, with the March 2007 anti-Zionist conference. A week before the conference, we began a correspondence with the UCSC chancellor, in which we argued that the event, sponsored by eight departments, was politically motivated and directed and therefore violated several UC policies proscribing university-sponsored political activities. Furthermore, we urged the chancellor to address these violations.[29] We did not hear from the chancellor directly, but in May received a letter from the UCSC counsel in which she contended that the conference did not violate any university policy, in part because it was not “political” according to her very narrow interpretation of that term, as limited to supporting or opposing political candidates or ballot measures. She concluded that the conference was a perfectly legitimate exercise of the faculty’s academic freedom and should not be censured in any way.[30]

Despite subsequent letters and emails that we sent to the chancellor and counsel demonstrating that the UC presidents and Regents who authored the regulations prohibiting university-sponsored political activities intended the word political to be understood quite broadly,[31] and that even the California Supreme Court had determined that the term political included the espousal of any cause,[32] we received no further response from either office.

We had a similar experience with another administrator, the dean of social sciences, after we shared with him our concerns regarding a community-studies course that we believed violated both state law and university policy in promoting an anti-Israel political agenda and encouraging students to engage in political activity. The course in question, “Violence and Non-Violence in Social Change,” was taught in summer 2007 and its course goals included training students to be nonviolent activists in “a current social conflict.” Included in the course’s online syllabus were the instructor’s biography, indicating that she was an activist “with the nonviolent joint Palestinian-Israeli campaign against the Apartheid Wall being built in Palestine,” and a reading list weighted with books and articles on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict written from an unambiguously anti-Israel perspective.[33]

Moreover, a student who had taken a previous community-studies class with the same instructor reported that she had used her classroom as a platform for politically biased and unscholarly instruction, and that she sought to indoctrinate students to her anti-Israel perspective, stifle dissenting opinions, and inappropriately encouraged students to engage in anti-Israel activism.[34] Before and during the more recent class, we sent letters to the chair of the Community Studies Department explaining why we believed there was a very good chance the instructor was using her classroom as a platform to indoctrinate students rather than educate them, and we requested that the department chair look into our concerns.[35] When the chair did not respond to our letters, we turned to the divisional dean, who, after consultation with the department chair and campus counsel, reported that no state laws or university policies had been violated.[36]

Addressing the faculty’s responsibility for ensuring the integrity of all academic programming at the university, in May 2007 we submitted to the Senate Executive Committee (SEC) of the Academic Senate a letter documenting a pattern of political bias and advocacy-predominantly, though not exclusively, anti-Zionist-in classrooms and at departmentally-sponsored events since 2001. We argued that such bias and advocacy were antithetical to the academic mission of the university and urged the Academic Senate to investigate this problem.[37]

The SEC agreed to look into our inquiry and sent it to the Committee on Academic Freedom (CAF) for consideration. In May 2008, we received the CAF report[38] along with a letter indicating that the SEC fully endorsed it. Unfortunately, the report ignored our primary concern and instead twisted the committee’s charge into an investigation of members of our faculty group for alleged violations of academic freedom. This is made clear in a letter sent by the chair of the CAF to eight UCSC professors soliciting reports on their negative interactions with members of our group, which was included as part of an appendix to the CAF report:[39]

Our committee does not plan to investigate incidents of this alleged bias, but seeks rather to determine if, connected to the complaint in any way, including the activities of those making the complaint, there is anything that threatens academic freedom on our campus.

Also included in the appendix are testimonies from four professors accusing members of our group of infringing on their academic freedom. Although the CAF report ultimately upholds “the right of SPME, on freedom of speech grounds, to make their opinions and viewpoints heard,” it is apparent that including an investigation of our group in the report was intended to both discredit us and stifle further inquiry into this matter by members of our group or other faculty members.[40]


The foregoing analysis has amply demonstrated that anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic discourse has found academic legitimacy on at least one major university campus and is allowed to flourish because faculty and administrators are unwilling to address, or even acknowledge, these abuses of academic freedom. Needless to say, university students are the true victims of such discourse, whose one-sided, tendentious nature not only limits their access to vital information about complex topics of global importance but also violates their fundamental right to be educated and not indoctrinated. In addition, for many Jewish students, the academic legitimization of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has helped to foment an atmosphere on campus, both inside and outside the classroom, that is intellectually, emotionally, and at times even physically threatening.

On some campuses, the situation has become intolerable. For example, the Orange County Taskforce, an independent body established to investigate anti-Semitism at UC Irvine (UCI), recently determined that “acts of anti-Semitism are real and well documented. Jewish students have been harassed. Hate speech has been unrelenting.”[41] While much of the problem at UCI is linked to the Muslim Student Union (MSU) and the administration’s unwillingness to condemn that group’s anti-Semitic hate speech, the taskforce also implicates faculty “who use their classrooms as a forum for their anti-Israel agenda” in contributing to the hostile campus environment: “The anti-Israel bias on the part of many in the faculty provides a fertile environment for the MSU and its anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions.”[42]

Unfortunately, the situation on college campuses is not likely to improve until faculty and administrators acknowledge the seriousness of the problem and commit themselves to solving it. Given their intransigence until now, it is clear that new strategies need to be found to achieve this goal. In this regard, the Orange County Taskforce offers two promising ideas. Among the recommendations in the taskforce’s report are the following:[43]

  • Students with a strong Jewish identity should consider enrolling elsewhere unless and until tangible changes are made.
  • The Jewish organizations and the Jewish benefactors should be aware that their continued support of an anti-Semitic campus is, in the end, counterproductive and works against their own interests.

Fear of losing their student and donor base, along with the stigma of being labeled an anti-Semitic campus, may be just the impetus faculty and administrators need to solve this alarming problem.

*     *     *


[1] For the purposes of this paper, “anti-Zionism” refers to an opposition to Zionism, understood either in its classic sense as a belief in the centrality of the land of Israel in Jewish historical and religious experience, or in its modern manifestation as a movement to reestablish a Jewish homeland in the historic land of Israel.  Anti-Zionist criticism denies the legitimacy of the Jewish state’s founding ideology and, by extension, the legitimacy of the Jewish state itself.

[2] Leila Beckwith, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, and Ilan Benjamin, “Faculty Efforts to Combat Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israel Bias at the University of California-Santa Cruz,” in Academics Against Israel and the Jews, ed. Manfred Gerstenfeld (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2007), 122.

[3] Syllabus for Community Studies class “Violence and Non-Violence in Social Change,”

[4] Nadine Naber, “A Call for Consistency: Palestinian Resistance and Radical US Women of Color,” in Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology, ed. INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2006), 75.

[5] See Appendix 1 in letter to UCSC Community Studies Department Chair,, 3-4.

[6] See Appendices 2 and 3 in letter to UCSC Senate Executive Committee, , 6-8.

[7] See Appendix 4 in ibid., 9-10.

[8] The following UCSC departments and research units sponsored the conference “Alternative Histories Within and Beyond Zionism”: Feminist Studies, Anthropology, Community Studies, Sociology, Politics, History, Institute for Humanities Research, and the Center for Global, International and Regional Studies.

[9] All direct quotations from the conference presenters and organizer were taken from a transcription of a recording of the event.

[10] For example, Goldberg, Butler, and conference organizer Lisa Rofel all signed a University of California petition for Divestment from Israel, and Obenzinger has been part of divestment campaigns at Stanford and with the Presbyterian Church; Butler, Obenzinger, and Ginsberg all signed a petition for U.S. Jewish/Muslim Solidarity calling for cutting off all military and economic aid to Israel; Butler signed a petition boycotting Israeli academics and research; Ginsberg is a member of Jews Against the Occupation; and Bar Zohar helped organize “Israeli Apartheid Week” in New York City.

[11] In a personal communication, Mintz wrote: “The Baruch Goldstein to whom I dedicated my book was a rabbi and Hebrew school teacher who taught me in Worcester, MA, in the late fifties and early sixties; Rabbi Goldstein is now quite old.  He is the first Holocaust survivor who told me his personal story.”

[12] United States Department of State, “Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism: A Report Provided to the United States Congress,” 2008,

[13] See:, Appendix A.

[14] See Martin Trow, “Reflections on Proposed Changes in the University Regulations Bearing on Academic Freedom in the University of California,”, 24 July 2003,

[15] See:

[16] See:

[17] See:

[18] Robert C. Post, “Academic Freedom and the ‘Intifada Curriculum,'” Academe Online, 89, May-June 2003.

[19] “Academic Freedom: Its Privilege and Responsibility Within the University of California” was presented by the University Committee of Academic Freedom to the UC Academic Council on 16 February 2007, and distributed to UC campus Academic Senate offices.

[20] See:

[21] Article IX, Section 9 of the California Constitution establishes the constitutional autonomy of the University of California.

[22] See:




[26] From a letter by UC president Charles J. Hitch to all UC faculty, discussing the actions taken by the California legislature to deny salary increases for UC faculty, dated 29 May 1970.

[27] SPME Open Letter to the Governor of California, University of California Board of

Regents, Board of Trustees of the California State Universities, Chancellors of the University of California, and the Presidents of the California State Universities:

[28] Executive Summary of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East Presentation to John B. Oakley, Chair, Academic Senate, University of California, 29 January 2007:

[29] Our first letter to the chancellor, dated 9 March 2007, was sent before the conference: Our second letter, dated 20 March 2007, was sent the week after the conference and includes a report of the event:

[30] Letter from UCSC counsel Carol Rossi, dated 30 April 2007, in response to our letters about the conference:

[31] Letter from SPME at UCSC to the chancellor, in response to the UCSC counsel’s letter:

[32] Gay Law Students Assn. v. Pacific Tel. & Tel. Co., 595 P,2d 592, 610 (Cal. 1979).

[33] Beckwith, Rossman-Benjamin, and Benjamin, “Faculty Efforts.”

[34] Naber, “Call for Consistency.”

[35] Our first letter to the chair of the Community Studies Department regarding the course was sent on 18 June 2007, approximately one week before the course began: Our second letter to the chair was sent on 2 July 2007, a few weeks into the course:

[36] Our letter to the dean of social sciences, dated 4 September 2007, in response to the course:, and the dean’s response:

[37] Letter from SPME at UCSC to Senate Executive Committee of the UCSC Academic Senate, dated 20 May 2007, regarding a pattern of political bias and advocacy in academic programming:

[38] CAF report in response to SPME inquiry:

[39] Inquiry email from CAF chair to eight UCSC faculty regarding threats to academic freedom from SPME, and four faculty responses:

[40] In a letter dated 29 May 2008, we expressed several points of dissatisfaction with both the  CAF’s report and the SEC’s endorsement of it:

[41] Report of the Task Force on Anti-Semitism at the University of California, Irvine, 2008, 26:

[42] Ibid, 26.

[43] Ibid, 27-28.

*     *     *

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin is lecturer in Hebrew at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Jewish educator who teaches widely in the local Jewish community. She is cofounder of the UCSC chapter of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.