published on March 24, 2016 - 8:16 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

(AP) — The University of California’s governing board on Thursday adopted a statement condemning anti-Semitic behavior and a companion report urging campus leaders to confront intolerant anti-Zionism activism.

The actions come amid growing campus tensions between Israeli supporters and backers of Palestinian rights. Some Jewish groups say they are concerned that anti-Semitic behavior is increasing because of the highly emotional debate. The groups last year urged the 10-campus UC system to affirm its opposition to anti-Semitism.

The declaration makes the University of California the first public university system to reaffirm its opposition to anti-Semitic behavior since campaigns for academic and economic boycotts of Israel have taken root on many U.S. college campuses.

Pro-Palestinian groups and faculty members with research specialties in the Middle East were upset that anti-Semitism was the only type of intolerance specifically mentioned in the principles at a time when Muslims in the U.S. increasingly face discrimination.

The Board of Regents adopted the statement against intolerance and a report summarizing its need and context. Critics feared the statement would stifle free speech.

An initial statement presented to a board committee alarmed critics with language condemning anti-Zionism, the rejection of Israel’s right to exist. The committee added language barring anti-Semitic “forms” of anti-Zionism activism.

“Anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California,” according to the statement the regents adopted.

Free speech advocates remained concerned that the slight change to the introductory report made Wednesday did not go far enough.

The statement does not outline sanctions for violating its terms but reminds faculty and staff to impose discipline in cases that violate existing anti-discrimination policies, UC officials said.

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