Daily Bruin: “several council members managed to politicize her identity as a Jewish student on campus”
The student government at a university in South Africa recently voted to expel Jews:
The vice chancellor of Durban University of Technology (DUT) in South Africa on Wednesday rejected the student council’s call to expel Jewish students who do not support the Palestinian cause.
University Vice Chancellor Professor Ahmed Bawa released a statement calling the demand “outrageous, preposterous and a deep violation of our National Constitution and every human rights principle.” He added, “No student at DUT will be discriminated against on the basis of religion, race, gender, political affiliation or sexual orientation.”
Bawa also told South Africa’s Daily News that the request was “totally unacceptable.”
The demand to expel all Jewish students, especially those who do not support the Palestinian agenda, was made by the university’s Students Representative Council and Progressive Youth Alliance.
This is the logical progression in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. It’s fitting that the vote took place in Durban, the scene of the anti-Semitic 2001 Durban Conference that created the BDS movement.
While expulsion of Jews will not happen here, the BDS movement is moving towards a de facto bar on Jews who are not anti-Israel by alleging that taking subsidized trips to Israel or attending conferences and training through major pro-Israel Jewish organizations constitutes a conflict of interest. That standard would exclude a high percentage of pro-Israel Jewish students from participating in student government (not to mention excluding many leading non-Jewish pro-Israel students).
At UCLA, there were attempts last spring to keep students off the student council based upon trips to Israel conducted through well-known Jewish charities and pro-Israel organizations.
Those exclusionary tactics — though rejected by the UCLA student judicial board — have had success in scaring pro-Israel students away from running for student office, because they will be attacked not only on campus but on anti-Israel websites. This tactic helps explain the turnover in membership that allowed a divestment resolution to pass this fall even though it was voted down last spring.
Now it’s gone even further, with questioning challenging a student judicial board candidate based on her being Jewish. (h/t Commenter Fed Up in the Tip Line)
In an Editorial, The UCLA Daily Bruin newspaper called this unacceptable discrimination, Objections to USAC Judicial Board appointment discriminatory:
Religious affiliations and ethnic identity should not and do not disqualify someone from being an effective judge.
And yet, at Tuesday night’s Undergraduate Students Association Council meeting, that’s exactly what councilmembers were arguing.
During the meeting, several councilmembers … raised concerns about the appointment of Rachel Beyda, a second-year economics student, to the USAC Judicial Board, UCLA student government’s highest judicial body.
After much discussion and the intervention of administrators, Beyda was eventually unanimously appointed to the position – but not before several council members managed to politicize her identity as a Jewish student on campus.
The main objection to her appointment was Beyda’s affiliation with Jewish organizations at UCLA and how they might affect her ability to rule fairly on cases in which the Jewish community has a vested interest in the outcome, such as cases related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
That objection is confounding both for its vast shortsightedness and for its flat-out discriminatory nature….
It is obvious that the objections to Beyda’s appointment are not only political, but also discriminatory. To hold an applicant to a standard higher than others simply because of his or her ethnic or religious identity instead of his or her ability to rule fairly in accordance with USAC regulations is illogical and immoral.
The exchange starts at 47:00 of this video (I’ll have an excerpt posted later). (Update: Video added)
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