Michael V. Drake, M.D.
University of California, Irvine
510 Aldrich Hall
Irvine, CA 92697-1900
Dear Chancellor Drake:
The Anti-Defamation League is deeply disturbed by some in the Jewish community who have responded to the University of California Irvine's handling of anti-Israeli activity on campus by encouraging Jewish students and donors to boycott the university. We are surprised that those who call for a boycott fail to recognize that it is a double-edged sword that legitimizes a tactic so often used against Jews and Israel – particularly in academic settings. Clearly, a "Judenrein" university is not an appropriate goal, and will not work to resolve the extremely delicate situation on campus.
However, ADL also believes that your leadership is being tested now as never before. How you respond to the ongoing undemocratic, bullying and confrontational tactics of the Muslim Student Union (MSU) will be one of the defining issues of your tenure as Chancellor.
We believe your commitment to maintaining a safe, respectful atmosphere free from intimidation and harassment at UCI is sincere. However, as the disruptions of last week's address by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren made clear, your efforts to maintain civility have not succeeded.
In your statement responding to the disruptions of Ambassador Oren's speech, you rightly said that "this behavior is intolerable," and that "those who attempt to suppress the rights of others violate core principles that are the foundation of any learning community." You also indicated that eleven individuals were arrested and "are being processed accordingly." That response was swift, clear and appropriate.
A quick and clear condemnation is required whenever anti-Jewish hatred is spewed on the UCI campus. For the past several years, the MSU has staged many anti-Israel events at UCI, including a large event every spring featuring virulently anti-Semitic speakers. Under the circumstances, it is not unreasonable for an outside observer to conclude that your general condemnation of anti-Semitism and your calls for an atmosphere of mutual respect have not achieved your intended purpose. In our view, the situation calls for forceful moral leadership on your part. When the MSU or any other group or individual once again seeks to make Irvine one of the leading American academic venues for anti-Semitic expression, we urge you specifically, by name, to condemn such hateful expressions and those responsible for spewing a steady diet of hate on your campus.
On a related matter, we have also communicated with you previously regarding allegations that one visitor invited to UCI by the MSU last year, British M.P. George Galloway, may have violated the material support provisions of federal anti-terrorism legislation by raising money for the terrorist group Hamas during his campus visit. We understand that when we called this to your attention, UCI's Counsel initiated an investigation at your behest, but we have yet to see any reports from the university regarding this serious matter. We urge you to make the university's findings public as soon as possible.
In your inaugural address as Chancellor, you spoke of the values by which you believed the Irvine community should be guided – including respect, integrity, truth, trust, and empathy. The MSU, their guests, and their supporters have made a mockery of every single one of these values. It is time for you to lead by example, and to use your bully pulpit to insist that those values apply not just to some members of the Irvine community, but to everyone.
Abraham H. Foxman