UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake told several hundred concerned Jewish community members Wednesday night to join in on discussions and work together against what he calls isolated incidents of anti-Jewish speech by outsiders on campus.
Drake answered questions during a 90-minute town hall meeting at Shir Ha-Ma'alot in Irvine addressing concerns about what the Jewish community calls ongoing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on UCI's campus.
"We promote dialogue, understanding, growth and tolerance at UCI," Drake said. "I'd like to enlist all of you in working with me to make Jewish life on campus as strong as possible."
So what's happening on campus? Is there an anti-Jewish problem on campus? Is there an anti-Muslim problem on campus? Why is UCI becoming such a hotbed of controversy? Follow me down below for more...
(Cross-posted at Calitics)
So what exactly is happening at UCI? Jewish groups on campus have been complaining about anti-Semitic incidents for quite some times now. Pajamas Media likes to call what's happening an "intifada" against Jews on campus. The Jewish Journal asks if UCI is a hotbed of anti-Semitic harassment. So is there an anti-Semitic problem at UCI?
But wait, is this all that's happening? After all, the very same Muslim Student Union that is being accused of being behind all this harassment is itself claiming harassment. In fact, police are still investigating the charge that an FBI agent threatened a Muslim student who was just taking down a protest wall on campus. And most recently, the folks at Red County/OC Blog accused the Muslim Student Union of "preaching terror on campus", even though The Daily Pilot found no anti-Semitism and no incitement to "terrorism" at the event in question. If anything, it seemed like it was the commenters on the OC Blog story preaching hate.
So what's the problem? Why do both sides feel so victimized? Perhaps there are incidents of radical extremists targeting Jews on campus. Perhaps there are right-wing extremists who seek to stir trouble with the Muslims on campus. Perhaps the controversy at UCI is getting way out of control. What can be done to quell the controversy? What can be done to reconcile the differences between the Jewish groups and the Muslim groups on campus? Why is the conflict at UCI almost reaching Israeli-Palestinean levels of intensity?
Hopefully, UCI Chancellor Drake and the administration can come up with a solution here. Something has to be done to address this bubbling cauldron. Something has to be done to stop this from bubbling past the boiling point.