SF Mayor Denounces Anti-Israel Boycott Campaign

May 11, 2010

The Simon Wiesenthal Center today praised San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for demanding that UC San Diego’s ‘Students For Gavin Newsom’ group remove his name as an endorser of a call for the divestiture of UC funds from companies doing business in Israel. The ‘UCSD Divest For Peace’ initiative comes on the heels of a similar UC Berkeley Student Senate measure last month that passed but ultimately vetoed. Mayor Newsom, a contender in the race for CA Lieutenant Governor, never lent his support to either measure. In an e-mail to the San Diego group, Newsom representative Yashar Hedayat called for an immediate removal of his name saying, “Mayor Newsom’s stated positions in support of Israel do not align with those of your group....”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center thanked Newsom for his “prompt and forthright response to the misuse and abuse of your good name by anti-Israel groups.” Cooper added that, “The ongoing campaigns to demonize and de-legitimize Israel are replete with distortions and outright lies.”

“So much that is so wrong, is at work on our UC campuses when it comes to the Jewish State,” Cooper concluded.

 In a letter to Rabbi Cooper and Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a lecturer at UC Santa Cruz, Newsom offered apologies and emphasized that his “...strong support of Israel is not mere lip service—-rather, as Mayor of San Francisco, I have played an active and unprecedented role in building relations with Israel.”

“The divestment campaign and other efforts to harm the Jewish State and its supporters on University of California campuses have created a hostile environment for many Jewish students. I am extremely grateful that Gavin Newsom has raised his voice against these hateful efforts,” said Professor Benjamin.

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).

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