June 25, 2014
The Simon Wiesenthal Center commended Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and his staff for the efforts to get an important resolution that would protect Jewish and pro-Israel students from harassment and bullying by anti-Israel groups approved.
In a phone call yesterday with Blumenfield's office, Aron Hier, Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Campus Outreach, urged that the resolution, titled "Student Protection from Intimidation and Harassment," be passed before the next school year. The resolution comes in wake of a controversial student council election at UCLA where anti-Israel groups, notably Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), required candidates to sign pledges to not visit Israel on trips sponsored by three specific Jewish organizations. Those who refused were subjected to harassment through social media, acts of intimidation on campus and were brought before the student judicial board on specious charges.
"It is a civil rights issue and not a political issue when SJP and other groups want to deny Jewish and pro-Israel students equal access to educational opportunities," said Aron Hier. "It is crucial to send a strong message to UCLA that SJP's tactics will not be tolerated," he added.
The Wiesenthal Center Campus Outreach was among other Jewish rights organizations that wrote to Councilman Herb Wesson, Chairman of the Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, urged that the resolution be passed, saying it, "will send a sorely needed message to the students who are being targeted, and to the entire University community – that the City of Los Angeles condemns intimidation tactics that interfere with students' rights to free association and to hold disparate views, and that threaten students' sense of security and well-being."
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).