BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          Date of Hearing:  June 23, 2015


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION


                                 Jose Medina, Chair


          SCR  
          35 (Stone) - As Amended May 6, 2015


          SENATE VOTE:  35-0


          


          SUBJECT:  Anti-Semitism


          


          SUMMARY:  Urges the University of California (UC) to condemn  
          anti-Semitism and racism, including Islamophobia and expresses  
          the Legislature's condemnation of anti-Semitic acts at all  
          publically funded schools in California.  Specifically, this  
          bill:  





          1)Finds all of the following:











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             a)   The United States Department of State defines  
               anti-Semitism as "a certain perception of Jews, which may  
               be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical  
               manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish  
               or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward  
               Jewish community institutions and religious facilities"; 



             b)   There is clear evidence of increasing and alarming  
               incidents and expressions of anti-Semitism throughout the  
               world; 



             c)   From sea to shining sea one can witness the  
               proliferation of anti-Semitic activity; 



             d)   In February of 2015, the California Legislature's Jewish  
               Caucus held a press conference addressing anti-Semitic acts  
               and in the same week an estimated 500 people gathered on  
               the steps of the State Capitol to protest the recent rise  
               in anti-Semitic acts occurring across the nation, including  
               the display of the Nazi swastika symbol superimposed onto  
               an American flag that was hung in the front of a private  
               home in Sacramento's River Park neighborhood, which  
               tarnished the reputation of the Golden State; 



             e)   Swastikas and other anti-Semitic sentiments have  
               increased in recent months on college campuses across the  
               country and around the world; 



             f)   In 2014, the kinds of recorded anti-Semitic acts  








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               committed in the United States and around the world  
               included murders; violent attacks and death threats against  
               Jews; arson, graffiti, and property desecration; and  
               murders at Jewish cemeteries, places of worship, schools,  
               and community events; 



             g)   These types of anti-Semitic acts also extended to soccer  
               stadiums, the Internet, editorial cartoons, and the use of  
               Nazi salutes, leading many Jewish individuals to conceal  
               their religious and ethnic identity; 



             h)   In April of 2014, the United States Department of State  
               released the International Religious Freedom Report  
               recognizing that anti-Semitism continues to be  
               internationally prevalent; 



             i)   The governments of France, Germany, Italy, and the  
               United Kingdom, the four countries where the majority of  
               anti-Semitic incidents have occurred in Europe, have  
               strongly condemned anti-Semitism as unacceptable in  
               European society and have all made clear statements that  
               such attacks on their Jewish communities are intolerable; 



             j)   The State of California actively promotes tolerance to  
               all faiths and religions; 



             aa)  The United States government has played an essential  
               role in counteracting the resurgence of anti-Semitism  
               worldwide and has consistently supported efforts to address  








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               the rise in anti-Semitism through its bilateral  
               relationships and participation in international  
               organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization  
               for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the  
               Organization of American States; and, 



             bb)  The Legislature joins with people everywhere in  
               unequivocally condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and  
               rejecting attempts to justify anti-Jewish hatred or violent  
               attacks as an acceptable expression of disapproval or  
               frustration over political events in the Middle East or  
               elsewhere.



          2)Resolves all of the following: 



             a)   The Legislature urges each UC campus to adopt a  
               resolution condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and  
               racism, including Islamophobia; 



             b)   The Legislature condemns any act of anti-Semitism at all  
               publicly funded schools in the State of California in order  
               to promote tolerance and acceptance of all religious  
               beliefs in accordance with the rights afforded to each  
               person by the Founding Fathers of this nation and the  
               authors of the United States Constitution; and, 

             c)   Nothing in this resolution is intended to diminish the  
               rights of anyone, including students, to freely engage in  
               any speech or other activity protected by the United States  
               Constitution.









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          FISCAL EFFECT:  None.





          COMMENTS:  Purpose of this resolution.  According to the author,  
          "this resolution seeks to condemn the rise of Anti-Semitism that  
          has been seen across the State, not to mention, around the  
          world.  Within the last couple months, we have seen a home in  
          Sacramento proudly displaying a Nazi swastika on top of an  
          American Flag.  In our state, we have seen displays of swastika  
          and acts of Anti-Semitism on our campuses.  Across the world,  
          there has been an increase in threats against Jewish people.   
          Just last year, in April, the U.S. Department of State released  
          the International Religious Freedom Report, recognizing that  
          anti-Semitism continues to be internationally prevalent."   
          According to the author, "by stating that the Legislature take a  
          strong stand against the recent acts of Anti-Semitism, and  
          urging UC campuses to do the same, this resolution sends a  
          strong message that California will not tolerate this behavior,  
          while fully protecting the rights of free-speech." 





          Anti-Semitism as it relates to the State of Israel.  This  
          resolution references the U.S. Department of State definition of  
          anti-Semitism.  According to the U.S. State Department's website  
          that defines anti-Semitism, examples of ways in which  
          anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of  
          Israel include demonizing Israel ("drawing comparisons between  
          Israeli policy to that of the Nazis"), establishing a  
          double-standard for Israel ("multilateral organizations focusing  








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          on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations"), and  
          delegitimizing Israel ("denying the Jewish people their right to  
          self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist").   
          The U.S. State Department's website also states that "criticism  
          of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country  
          cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic."  





          The AMCHA Initiative, along with other supporters of this  
          resolution, argues "on many occasions anti-Semitic incidents and  
          behavior at UC have been correlated with anti-Israel events and  
          campaigns, particularly those associated with the Boycott,  
          Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement."  AMCHA notes that  
          identifying anti-Semitic activity by invoking the U.S. State  
          Department's definition "recognizes the varieties of  
          anti-Semitic expression that Jewish students are actually  
          experiencing on their campuses."    





          Several organizations, including the California Faculty  
          Association have expressed concern regarding the definition  
          contained in this resolution.  Jewish Voice for Peace argues  
          "the resolution's reference to the State Department definition  
          of anti-Semitism will be used by proponents to stigmatize  
          advocacy for Palestinian rights, and particularly campus  
          campaigns to divest from corporations that profit from Israel's  
          occupation and violations of international law."  





          Requested amendments.  As previously outlined, several  








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          organizations have expressed concern with two sections of this  
          resolution and the potential implications on campus political  
          speech and advocacy.  These organizations have requested the  
          following amendments:





          Page 1, Lines 1-6:  Reference a standard dictionary definition  
          of anti-Semitism:



            WHEREAS,  The United States Department of State defines   
             A  nti-Semitism  is defined  as hostility toward or  
            discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or  
            racial group;  "  a certain perception of Jews, which may be  
            expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical  
            manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward  
            Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property,  
            toward Jewish community institutions and religious  
            facilities";  and

          Page 3, Lines 18-21: Clarify legal rights regarding  
          political speech and activities:

            Resolved, That nothing in this resolution is intended to  
            diminish the rights of anyone, including students, to  
            freely engage in any speech or other activity protected by  
            the United States Constitution  , including that which is  
            critical or supportive of the policies of any country  ; and  
            be it further



          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:










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          Support





          AMCHA Initiative 


          Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity


          American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists


          American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees


          American Jewish Federation in Los Angeles


          Bruins for Israel


          California Conference Board of the Amalgamated Transit Union


          California Conference of Machinists


          California Teamsters Public Affairs Council


          Endowment for Middle East Truth










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          Engineers & Scientists of CA, IFPTE Local 20, AFL-CIO


          Hasbara Fellowships


          International Longshore and Warehouse Union


          Israeli-American Council


          Israel Christian Nexus


          Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law


          The Lawfare Project


          Proclaiming Justice to the Nations


          Professional & Technical Engineers, IFPTE Local 21, AFL-CIO


          Stand with Us


          Students and Parents Against Campus Anti-Semitism


          The Israel Group


          Training and Education About the Middle East










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          UNITE-HERE, AFL-CIO


          Utility Workers Union of America


          Zionist Organization of America




          Opposition


          California Faculty Association
          Center for Constitutional Rights
          Jewish Voice for Peace
          National Lawyers Guild
          Palestine Legal
          Physicians for Social Responsibility


          Analysis Prepared by:Laura Metune / HIGHER ED. / (916)  
          319-3960