Candidates for the undergraduate student government at the University of California, Los Angeles are being asked to sign as declaration stating that they won't visit Israel on a trip sponsored by a "pro-Israel lobby."
According to UCLA's student newspaper, the Daily Bruin, most of the candidates have signed the Joint Statement on Undergraduate Students Association Council Ethics, which includes a pledge to boycott "trips with certain pro-Israel lobbying organizations and non-student centered external groups".
The report specifically names American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Anti-Defamation League and the Hasbara Fellowships. The latter is a joint project by Aish and the Israeli government, founded some 12 years ago.
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The declaration was drafted by several pro-Palestinian organizations, including Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Armenian Students’ Association, a JVP board member told the Daily Bruin.
US Jewish organizations have reportedly slammed the move, calling it “McCarthyism” and “repugnant.”
Meanwhile, the US media quoted a statement from UCLA spokesman Tod Tamberg, which said that the school's governing body was refraining from involving itself in the issue.
“Student government functions independently, its proceedings proscribed by a constitution that makes available to students and student groups a process to review issues of alleged conflicts of interest," said the statement. "UCLA encourages all involved in this particular process to deliberate in an honest, respectful and inclusive manner.”
Anti-Israel sentiment has been gathering impetus on American campuses, matched by the growing popularity of the annual "Israel Apartheid Week", which focuses on Israel's alleged mistreatment of the Palestinians and has been associated with virulent aggression towards Israeli and Jewish students. In recent years, pro-Palestinian organizations in different schools have marked the week by sending mock eviction notices to university dorms known to be popular with Jewish students.
In February, the UCLA undergraduate students' association voted down a contentious resolution calling on the University of California to divest from any organizations and companies that have ties to the Israel Defense Forces.