To the editor: The Times complains that a report including a Statement of Principles Against Intolerance to be considered by the University of California Board of Regents “goes dangerously astray: It conflates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.” However, it is not the report that conflates the two, but many of those who engage in anti-Semitic hate speech at UC campuses. ("UC's intolerance policy goes dangerously astray on anti-Semitism," editorial, March 16)
While not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, the reality on UC campuses is that many students and faculty who purport to be “merely” anti-Zionist routinely deploy anti-Semitic tropes that have existed for centuries. Framing those tropes as directed at “Zionists” rather than at “Jews” does not make them any less offensive, or any less anti-Semitic.
The UC regents are right to shine a light on this dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric — and they are right to state that anti-Zionism can be a pernicious manifestation of anti-Semitism and should be called what it is.
Dean Schramm and Janna Weinstein Smith, Los Angeles
The writers are, respectively, regional president and regional director of the American Jewish Committee Los Angeles.
To the editor: I strongly believe The Times should have pointed out that, in today's United States, Islamophobia is a highly prevalent and noxious phenomenon and that Muslim and other Arab students and faculty are in serious need of protection.
When a party's presidential front-runner gets away with stigmatizing Muslims, when professors are denied tenure for expressing their sympathy for the Palestinians living under Israeli military rule, when supporters of the Palestinian non-violent BDS movement are threatened with loss of job opportunities and advancement, then it certainly behooves the UC regents to concern themselves with those pernicious manifestations of harassment.
Martin Karcher, Washington
To the editor: To try to decide if anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism is like trying to separate the wheat from the chaff. When a country is looked at only negatively, one suspects that hatred is the cause.
People may disagree with some of Israel's policies, but when it gets beyond politics and becomes swastikas on fraternity houses, one is more sure that anti-Semitism is very much involved. Good for UC for seeing it for what it is.
Lieba Byers, Los Angeles
To the editor: The UC regents must understand that Judaism does not equal Zionism, and anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism. Zionism is the belief in a Jewish state; in other words, a state that eschews the basic concept of a secular democracy, just as the Islamic State of Iran does.
Jewish Americans like me who are anti-Zionists support a secular, democratic state where all citizens have equal rights. We are neither anti-Semites nor “self-hating Jews,” but rather advocates of democracy and social justice.
Sherna Berger Gluck, Topanga
To the editor: Is The Times telling Jews what is and isn't anti-Semitism? I mean, how would I, son of an Auschwitz survivor and proud former combat soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces, know the difference?
I would suggest that after thousands of years of being butchered, we Jews know the difference.
George Muenz, Vancouver, Canada