August 2, 2013
The David Horowitz Freedom Center’s public opposition to an extreme anti-Israel candidate for UC Student Regent has helped to trigger a national conversation about the growing problem of anti-Semitism on college campuses.
UC Berkeley student Sadia Saifuddin was recently appointed student regent-designate for the University of California over protests by the Freedom Center and a few others who opposed her nomination on the grounds that her extreme anti-Israel views and activism with organizations known for their anti-Semitism make her unfit to represent all students in the UC system. The controversy sparked by the Freedom Center’s opposition has become national news.
During her years at Berkeley, Saifuddin was a leader in two Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations, the Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine, which regularly invite anti-Semitic speakers to UC campuses and sponsor an annual hate-week known as “Israeli Apartheid Week.” She was also an active participant in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement which calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and led vicious attacks on Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a lecturer at UC Santa Cruz who has dedicated herself to protecting Jewish students from anti-Semitism on UC campuses.
In an open letter sent to the University of California Board of Regents, the Freedom Center’s chairman, David Horowitz, and director of campus campaigns, Jeffrey Wienir, urged the Board to reconsider their selection: “Appointing Sadia Saifuddin to the Board of Regents would be an offense to the ‘Principles of Community’ for UC Berkeley which are supposed to be core values in the UC system, and which call on UC students to ‘respect the differences as well as the commonalities that bring us together and call for civility and respect in our personal interactions,’’ the letter stated. “How is it respectful for the organizations that Sadia Saifuddin represents to sponsor ‘Israeli Apartheid Weeks’ which support terrorist organizations like Hamas and call for the destruction of the Jewish state?”
Despite the regents’ failure to reconsider their nomination of Saifuddin, the Freedom Center’s protests garnered widespread press coverage of Saifuddin’s questionable ties to anti-Semitic organizations and helped to raise awareness of the often-threatening environment confronting Jewish students on UC campuses.