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Should Jewish Students Stop Attending UC Irvine?

Or would that be giving in to the radical Muslim students who recently interrupted Michael Oren's speech on campus?

by
Aaron Elias

Bio

February 26, 2010 - 12:00 am
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Always eager to play the victim card, many supporters of the MSU disruptors’ actions have martyred them as “the Eleven.” Their most used excuses for supporting such prepubescent behavior is that these students were merely standing up to evil; that if a person breaks a law with justice in his heart, it’s okay; and that Oren’s very presence is antithetical to free speech, so shutting him up is alright. They completely disregard the fact that Oren, no matter what they believe, is a human being like the rest of them, albeit a civilized and infinitely more mature one.

The MSU’s embarrassing actions have also led the Zionist Organization of America to finally lose hope for UCI. The ZOA recently released a statement urging all prospective students — not just Jewish ones — to avoid UCI and for donors to cease giving money to the school, citing anti-Semitism and widespread hate as their main reasons. Undoubtedly, the statement is going to affect how many Jewish families view UCI.

This is the worst thing any Zionist organization can do in fighting for Israel.

Orange County is the second most Muslim-populated area in America. No matter what the ZOA says or does, the Muslim population at UCI is going to increase, thereby insuring its anti-Israel legacy. If Jewish students stop attending UCI, then the pro-Israel presence on campus will die, and the MSU will have free reign to brainwash the unsuspecting and neutral student body with its half-truths and lies.

I’ve attended UCI for four years. Not once have I ever feared for my safety as a result of the MSU’s actions. That’s not to say they haven’t tried to start physical fights with Jewish students, nor is it to say I haven’t heard some of their members mutter anti-Semitic, sexist, and racist comments between themselves. But they don’t own the campus. Their hatred, however loud, has not infected the rest of the school, and I like to think it’s in large part due to the actions of pro-Israel students counteracting their hate rhetoric with peace rhetoric. UCI is home to some anti-Semitism, but it’s not enough to avoid going to UCI. What university — or any institution — isn’t host to at least some bigotry?  In fact, Jewish life at UCI is thriving, and I invite any concerned readers to please peruse the UCI Hillel’s website for proof of this. While I stand alongside the ZOA in its support for Israel, I must respectfully disagree with its stance on UCI.

The MSU’s interruptions have affected the way nearly everybody views UCI, including UCI students. I’m not proud that, through inaction, my university has bred this belief in certain students that it’s okay to tread all over other people’s rights for your own selfish reasons. However, I am glad to finally see Chancellor Drake take steps at addressing this degenerate behavior that continues to embarrass our university each and every year. And I am very glad to see how many diverse and free-thinking people support the ambassador’s inherent freedom of self-expression, regardless of their political views.

It’s my own hope that, if and when this is all resolved, the members of the MSU who joined for religious and social reasons, not political, will find a way to extricate themselves from the leech-like hold their leadership has over them — much like the hold Hamas has over Gaza. The MSU leadership is welcome to go off and make its own anti-Israel club instead of subverting religion for political gain. Perhaps then Jewish and Muslim students can finally take steps at reconciling and stemming the fury on campus.

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Aaron Elias is a student at University of California Irvine. He writes for the campus' New University newspaper and blogs at The Wayward Infidel.
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