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Calling out anti-Semitism at UCLA

To the editor: Your headline dangerously mischaracterizes the article and the main event the story covers. This is a story about anti-Semitism, not merely anti-Israel politics. ("UC campuses roiled over claims of anti-Israel bias," March 7)

As reported, four members of the UCLA undergraduate student government voted against the nomination of a Jewish student, Rachel Beyda, for a position on the campus judicial council after questioning her fitness for that position solely because the student is Jewish, not because of any particular opinion she holds about Israel or the Middle East.

There are, in fact, tensions at UCLA about Israel that raise the issue of whether some anti-Israel activities amount to anti-Semitism. This specific incident, however, could only be characterized as anti-Semitic because the only aspect of the student's fitness for office that was found wanting was the fact that she is Jewish.

It is remarkable that the students who voted against Beyda could have believed that such reasoning is legitimate in this country. It is truly appalling, though, that the headline would lead a reader to believe that this story is about politics and not about simple bigotry.

Matthew Ross, Pacific Palisades


To the editor: This is a very informative article. However, when you name the Jewish student in question but allow, as you describe, "the four student government council members involved" to remain anonymous to Times readers, you remove all accountability for those four students.

Having read these students' apology in UCLA's student newspaper, The Daily Bruin, I can tell you they aren't hiding. Their names should have been in print. They said it. They need to own it.

Strangely, in this case, you name the "victim" but keep anonymous the "perpetrators."

Ray Pearl, Westlake Village

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