Wiesenthal Center to Student Workers Union President: Denounce Union's Incendiary Israel Divestment Plan

August 7, 2014

The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged the president of United Auto Workers Local 2865, which represents teaching assistants, tutors, and student workers in the University of California system, to denounce an announcement by the union's Joint Council supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement against institutions and corporations that support the State of Israel. The announcement, posted on UAW 2865's website, stated, "We have a responsibility as educators to both learn about and teach the social issues of our time, including pressing global struggles such as the struggle of the Palestinian people for liberation from settler-colonialism and apartheid."

In a letter to Michelle Glowa, President of the 13,000-member union—an affiliate of the national UAW— Aron Hier, Director of the Wiesenthal Center's Campus Outreach program, said "…as Israel now defends herself and fights for her life in the face of thousands of incoming rockets – something that ANY democratic nation would do - the very UC tutors and assistants that thousands of Jewish and pro-Israel students rely upon daily now prepare to export their incendiary anti-Semitism to every UC campus." Hier wrote that despite their claims to the contrary, BDS movements fit the U.S. State Department's definition of anti-Semitism,"…by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation." He said that BDS campaigns also claim to be pro-peace, but have never helped a single Palestinian. "Their only goal is to demonize, delegitimize and weaken the democratic Jewish state of Israel," Hier wrote.

"We believe that such poisonous views create a hostile and discriminatory environment by compromising the ability of thousands of UC's Jewish and pro-Israel students to successfully pursue their own studies and careers," Hier concluded.

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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).