Skip To Content
Breaking News

U. of California Regents Delays Anti-Semitism Debate Until September

The University of California Board of Regents will wait until September to address adopting the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism.

The expectation was that the board was going to discuss the issue during its July 22-23 meeting in San Francisco and take a vote. No reason for the delay was given. The regents do not meet in August.

The State Department’s definition, which has generated controversy, notes that denying Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and holding it to a double standard are ways in which anti-Semitism can be manifested.

In May, 57 California rabbis signed an open letter to the board urging the regents to adopt the definition. The letter read, in part: “We believe that it is essential for campus administrators and staff to be trained in using the State Department definition to identify anti-Semitic behavior and to address it with the same promptness and vigor as they do other forms of racial, ethnic, and gender bigotry and discrimination.”

At the same time, a petition sponsored by pro-divestment groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace garnered 4,000 signatures. It reads in part: “The proposed definition does not protect students and in fact endangers the capacity of students and faculty to be critical thinkers and speakers.”

In a radio interview with a Boston radio station in May, U.C. President Janet Napolitano said that her “personal view” is that the University of California should adopt the State Department’s definition, but that the regents must vote to adopt it before it can become U.C. policy.

Meanwhile, the California Assembly this week passed a resolution urging “each [U.C.] campus to adopt a resolution condemning all forms of anti-Semitism.” Originally passed by the state Senate in May, the amended version of the bill now returns to that body for final approval. If the measure is passed there, it does not need to be signed by the governor.

Though the latest version of the bill omits references to Israel and Zionism, it borrows from the State Department definition of 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.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.