California Jewish Campus Leader Blames Conflict Probe on ‘Pro-Israel’ Stance
A Jewish UCLA student nominated to serve as a regent for the statewide University of California system alleged that a conflict-of-interest probe against him is “an attack against me as a pro-Israel student.”
Avi Oved released a statement before a July 1 emergency meeting via teleconference of the University of California Student Association, or UCSA, looking into allegations against him during his run for the UCLA student government.
Amal Ali, a former president of Students for Justice in Palestine at U.C. Riverside, had alleged at a UCSA board meeting on June 28 that Oved failed to disclose the campaign donation from pro-Israel philanthropist Adam Milstein, The Daily Californian, U.C. Berkeley’s student newspaper, reported.
In his statement Oved, who did not appear at the July 1 meeting, called the accusations “hurtful and deeply unfair” and questioned why he was being criticized for “failing to provide information not required” by the UCLA student government’s election code, adding that “no similar demand has been made of any other candidate.”
Milstein has denied making a donation during the 2013 election from his Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, pointing to the foundation’s 2012-13 tax return.
The campus election code does not require disclosure of campaign funding sources.
“As a proud pro-Israel advocate, I have never wavered on my political beliefs on respective issues nor diluted my stances to appease those who had differing opinions,” Oved wrote. “I would hope everyone would respect me and my point of view just as I respect and welcome those that differ from my own.”
The UCSA tabled any decisions until it hears directly from Oved, according to the Jewish Journal. Its Systemwide Affairs Committee agreed to meet in a closed session to further discuss the allegations.
The U.C. Board of Regents is scheduled to vote to confirm Oved’s nomination during its July meeting at U.C. San Francisco.
As a regent, Oved would join Sadia Saifuddin, the first Muslim student representative on the University of California’s Board of Regents, which governs the public university system. Saifuddin’s appointment also met with controversy for her support for divestment from companies that do business with Israel in the West Bank.