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The Israel issue comes to UCLA

Who would believe that a student running for UCLA's or any university's government body would have to take a pledge that he hadn't gone on a paid trip with any of three groups? ("Stances on Israel roil UCLA campus," May 19)

This is an eye-opening article on the state of tolerance at our colleges. How could a student government expect its representatives to vote on issues such as boycotting Israel without traveling to the area and listening to disparate viewpoints?

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I suppose the next pledge will be one of celibacy. Will there be additional pledges asking candidates or officers not to visit Nigeria or Sudan, where Christians are being killed?

The article should have been titled, "Tolerance in the new millennium — how low can we go?"

Dick Bernstein

Los Angeles

I disagree with the critics of activists asking candidates to sign a pledge against pro-Israel lobbying groups. Americans need to become more aware of the harm done by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and its influence in Congress, which has led us toward an expensive and morally wrong policy on the Middle East.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block is being disingenuous when he suggests that the pledge is intolerant. In fact, the pledge raises awareness of a critical issue, and its author (Gabriel Levine) is perfectly correct in stating that "an election is a chance to pin people down and find out what they believe."

Like Levine, I was raised Jewish, and I know that many Jews object to the crimes against humanity perpetrated by Zionist extremists. This article makes me proud to be an alumnus of UC Berkeley and UCLA and a former member of the UCLA faculty.

Richard Keeling

Torrance

Who among these campus coercers is also demanding boycotts of states that deny equal rights to women? To female children? To blacks? To gays?

On the one hand, UCLA has students trying to coerce others. On the other, we have a campus that is supported by — and students who in many ways benefit from — those and that which they selectively decry.

I support UCLA, and I support Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. And I support Arab nations' right to exist as well.

I do not support states or lawmakers that force women to walk one step behind men and suffer other, worse indignities. And yet, one wonders which of these selectively moralistic activists are also boycotting the countries that deny equal rights to women and others.

What say ye, selective protesters?

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Bev Morse

Redondo Beach

It is encouraging to read of students taking active stances against Israeli colonization of the West Bank. Their frustration is understandable.

The U.S. government has become an active enabler of the ongoing theft of the Palestinian homeland. The Israel lobby has too much influence in Congress, so it's up to ordinary citizens to do what they can to stop the continuing violations of human rights, international law and basic morality that is the "settler" movement.

Blain Brown

Alhambra

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