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Students revisit controversial anti-Semitism bill

During a roundtable discussion Nov. 7, the bill to condemn anti-Semitism, vetoed by student government President Mitchell Rosenberg in May, was reintroduced.

A student-proposed bill to condemn anti-Semitism, vetoed by student government President Mitchell Rosenberg in May, was reintroduced during a roundtable discussion Nov. 7.

The six students and two student government senators who attended decided to remove all content referring to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from the original bill to concentrate it more toward on-campus discrimination in general.

Rosenberg told The Panther he expects that the bill will be officially re-drafted in the next few weeks.

The main concern some students had with the bill in May was that it took a political stance on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, said Safi Nazzal, who is the president of the Students for Justice in Palestine club, during the discussion.

Mitchell Rosenberg

The bill concerned some students by using the U.S. Department of State’s definition of anti-Semitism, which recognizes that anti-Semitism is related to Israel – although the bill stated that it didn’t take a side on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Anytime a state is associated with the people, or the people are associated with the state, there is a problem,” Nazzal told The Panther. “I don’t think (the bill) should be related to the state (of Israel) and its government.”

Rosenberg told The Panther in May that he vetoed the bill because it wasn’t something the Chapman administration would adopt into its policies.

Before his veto Rosenberg said that the club that drafted the bill, Students Supporting Israel, announced that Chapman passed a “pro-Israel” resolution.

“We are not taking a political stance,” Rosenberg said during the discussion. “There’s several ways we’re looking to define it, but we have to remember we’re focusing on staying on campus at Chapman.”

Rosenberg also told attendees that he was concerned the bill was brought before a newly elected senate in May at a 10 p.m. meeting – without being publicized to students beforehand.

“(The) senate didn’t talk to anybody (about the bill), and students didn’t give their verbal support,” Rosenberg said. “I condemn campus anti-Semitism, but if we wanted (the bill) to be successful, we had to do our job.”

Rosenberg also asked the group of students Nov. 7 why this resolution would be different than the university’s current policies against violence and discrimination, and asked what other marginalized on-campus groups may think, questioning if there should be a resolution about every group on campus that may be subject to discrimination.

Taylor Onderko, the president of pro-Israel, pro-peace advocacy organization J Street U, responded to Rosenberg’s questions, suggesting opening the resolution to other groups.

“I think if you ask the campus what groups are marginalized that would like to be included, that’s out there for them to take advantage of,” she said.

11 Comments

  • I actually find it comical how delusional Safi is. The “country” he believes exists is nothing more than a mere pile of rubble and dust at this point, and his club has approximately 3 members.

    • Let’s try to keep it academic and criticize policies, not people. If you bothered to read the article, the main concern had to deal with SGA taking a political stance on an issue. I don’t believe SGA should be taking a stand on any political issue nor limit a student’s right to speech, which is something this bill would do. Imagine they passed a bill saying “any student who says the CCC isn’t a good use of school funds, is a racist and should face disciplinary actions”. While I personally believe that the CCC is a valuable asset to our community, it’d be a shame if you weren’t allowed to express your opinion.

  • It is entirely possible for anti-Semitism to be part of anti-Israel activism. Criticizing the policies of the Israeli government is not anti-Semitic. No government is above criticism. However, using anti-Semitic tropes when criticizing Israeli governmental policies will mark that criticism as anti-Semitic. If you cannot keep out of the discussion references to “Jewish” or “Zionist” control of the media, government, or banks, then you’ve moved into anti-Semitism. If you feel the need to denigrate Judaism, you’ve chosen an anti-Semitic path. If you think Jews (or Zionists) are involved in some global conspiracy to undermine and destroy societies, then you have adopted Hitler’s propaganda as your own. If you use the word “Zio” in any way, you are echoing KKK and neo-Nazi leader David Duke, who invented the term. If you feel compelled to define for Jews what their identity is (i.e. “Jews are only a religion, not a people!”) that is anti-Semitic. If you think that when Jewish concern for anti-Semitism is some kind of Jewish trick, a devious “Zionist” contrivance to silence critics of Israeli policies, and if you are unable to listen to why a Jew may feel that anti-Semitism is enmeshed in the criticism without accusing him or her of being dishonest, then that in and of itself is anti-Semitic. Jews have the right to define what has oppressed us for centuries. We know anti-Semitism, we experience it, we were murdered by the millions because of it. If you can’t respect that, and feel obliged to challenge Jews on their own oppression, then that is anti-Semitic. I doubt an anti-racist would challenge a person of color as to what constitutes racism. So, why the double standard when it comes to Jews? Think. Check yourself for anti-Semitism. Western culture has anti-Jewish stereotypes deeply embedded within it. Have you absorbed these prejudices? Chances are you have.

  • Safi, I find it comical that you support a country that hasn’t existed for over 50 years. No economy, no resources, nothing. Palestine is obsolete. The once one story-homes are now at ground level, as they have been demolished. You will never regain control, and you must accept that.

  • I highly recommend talking to the Chapman students who visited Palestine this past summer. Palestine is not a pile of rubble, it’s actually a thriving community! It’s hard to get resources and develop because of the regional politics, but they have businesses, communities, and physical buildings that aren’t just piles of rubble. Please inform yourself about what it’s like on the ground before you stereotype an entire nation based on the images shown by Fox News 🙂

  • The one who owns you is the one you dare not criticize. Videotapes recording Jewish settlers throwing garbage on Hebron Palestinians does more to stereotype Israel to the World than the claims of the most hateful anti-Semites.

    With regard to Israel, the US Congress is united. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers often act in ways contrary to the interests of their own country, just to appease the Israeli government. This is no secret.

    However, the real danger is that such laws go beyond the traditional blind allegiance to Israel – into a whole level of acquiesce, where the government punishes people and organizations for the choices they make, the values they hold dear or the mere inquiry of information about an issue that they may find compelling.

    The ‘Israel Anti-Boycott Act’ and now this one ‘Anti-Semitism Awareness Act”, are the most egregious because they strike down the First Amendment, the very foundation of American democracy, by using America’s own lawmakers to carry out the terrible deed.

    We are supposed to be protected by our First Amendment right to free speech and freedom of expression. We cannot allow Zionists, be they Democrats or Republicans, to abrogate our constitutional rights and further shield Israel from accountability.

    Furthermore, every Congress member who signs onto this bill is sacrificing the rights of their own constituents and all Americans to the interests of a foreign government. This is the height of disloyalty – and a measure of just how much power AIPAC has. Every one of them should be removed from office.

    Everyone is in a tizzy about Russia interference when Israel has interfered more in US politics than any other country?

    Now, this? As a US citizen I’m going to be arrested for telling the truth about Israel? Oh hail no.

    • I find it very interesting how you spelled “hail” at the end… very telling about who you are as a person. I also find it ironic that you attempted to hide your name, although we both know exactly who you are. Hope to see you campus soon, bud:)

      To the moderate– actually, “Palestine” hasn’t existed for over 50 years. I believe what you are referencing is the Occupied Territory. Contrary to what you may think, I don’t rely on Fox News and visit Israel nearly every year, thus your argument is completely invalid. They do not have an economy or any GDP for that matter. They completely rely on donations from the rest of the world, and it’s an absolute joke being that they are a state-sponsor of terrorism.

      • woah I thought Palestine wasn’t a real country how could they be a “state” sponsor of terrorism?

      • Wow! The pictures I was shown of Palestine must have been photoshopped. My apologies. Who knew grad students studying the conflict in the region were also so adept at graphic design?

        The demolition of the homes to make way for illegal Israeli settlements must also be fake too! What an eye opening comment. Thank you.

        Anyways, back to the purpose of the article: SGA has no right to take a stance on any issue no matter how right you may think that position may be. If you were at the roundtable discussion, even the group that proposed this resolution agreed to scrap it because the language was too heavy. I think it’s important to read more than just the headline before commenting on an article but then again I was tricked into believing that Palestinian people are actually people, so what do I know?

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