Ms. Angelica Saleceda, President, 2012-2013, University of California Student Association
Dear Ms. Saleceda
On behalf of the Seriously Free Speech Committee (SFSC) – Vancouver, Canada, we congratulate you and your fellow Board members on the resolution passed on Sept. 15, 2012 opposing the California Assembly Bill HR 35.
Attempts to conflate criticism of Israel and/or solidarity with Palestinian human rights with antisemitism, and therefore hate speech, is a tactic used by Israel supporters for the last forty years. The last five years have seen the usefulness of this tactic diminished as many courageous individuals and organizations have fought back against such claims. HR 35 demonstrates that attempts to use the false charge of antisemitism to smear and frighten Israel´s critics is still an ongoing strategy. Your resolution, and the unanimity of the UCSA Board, is an important step in opposing these attempts and diminishing their credibility.
The Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA), which issued the Ottawa Protocol at its 2010 conference, targeted post-secondary education. Its arguments animate HR 35. What you are resisting in California is an issue internationally.
The SFSC was founded to defend individuals and organizations from attacks by those who support Israel and its illegal occupation. We have defended individuals who have been sued for a parody of our dominant Vancouver newspaper´s one-sided coverage of Palestine/Israel and managed, with other organizations, to halt a pseudo-parliamentary committee´s attempts to implement federal legislation equivalent to HR 35.
Again, thank you for your courageous resolution. We look forward to following your work in this area and perhaps cooperating in the future.
Co-Chair, Seriously Free Speech Committee – Vancouver