Sunday Sep 02, 201204:59 PM GMT
California equates Israel criticism with anti-Semitism
Sun Sep 2, 2012 4:57PM
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California State Assembly

A new resolution passed by the California State Assembly attempts to limit criticism of Israeli policy on college campuses by equating it with anti-Semitic hate speech.


The law urgesCalifornia colleges and universities to squelch nascent anti-Semitismandencourages university leaders to combat a wide array of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel actions”, according to the Associated Press.


The Assemblys actions also drew criticism from free speech advocates. Carlos Villarreal, director of the San Francisco chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, called the resolution irresponsible and dangerous because it combines legitimate condemnations of acts of intimidation and hate with specific objections to tactics used to support the Palestinian people.


In doing so, it can be seen as having no other purpose than to demonize all those who criticize the nation-state of Israel or support the rights of the Palestinian people”, he said.


Typically, those who want to suppress free speech criticisms of Israeli crimes are relegated to the tools of social ostracism or return criticism - you know, because of that First Amendment thing. The cry of anti-Semitism has been successful in this respect, unfortunately. This bill, by contrast, attempts to codify into law an obligation tosquelchactivism and speech objecting to Israeli government actions.



California Assembly members indicated the University of California and other public universities should crack down on demonstrations against Israel on their campuses.


There was no debate by lawmakers prior to approval, nor was Israel even mentioned during the introduction of the resolution.


The resolution was opposed by a wide variety of groups, including the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Asian Law Caucus, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, yet the Republican-sponsored measure received wide bipartisan support in the Democratic-controlled legislature. Huffington Post


Some of the lawmakers who signed on as co-authors when the resolution was called on the floor seemed surprised to later learn of the references to Israel. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, was one of the few who did not support it. “Ignorance reigns up here”, he said.



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