The AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to combating anti-Semitism on college campuses, tweeted April 15 that the Cal Poly Drylongso Collective’s list of demands excluded funding of cultural clubs with Zionist ideologies.
The Black Student Union and various student organizations released a statement of demands that included, “We want an increase in ASI funding of ALL cultural clubs, with the exception of organizations that are aligned with Zionist ideology.” https://t.co/9G50y8mknB
— The AMCHA Initiative (@AMCHAInitiative) April 15, 2018
The tweet stated, “The Black Student Union [BSU] and various student organizations released a statement of demands that included, ‘We want an increase in ASI funding of ALL cultural clubs, with the exception of organizations that are aligned with Zionist Ideology.’”
“All registered student groups deserve equal access and equal opportunity and funding and participation in campus life,” AMCHA Initiative Director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin said. “We wanted to comment on and bring attention to all of our followers the deeply discriminatory statement that was part of this document that was out of nowhere. I think the troubling trend on campus is the belief that some students don’t deserve the same rights as everyone else.”
The tweet was released at a tense time among Cal Poly students. Responses to the Collective’s demands have spread across social media as students have come forth to join the conversation.
“For a movement that is focused on inclusivity and diversity, I just found it unsettling that they would exclude clubs with Zionist views in their demands,” business administration sophomore Samantha Sim said. “I just want to know the reasoning behind this exclusion because it seems counterproductive to the message that this movement is trying to push. They’re arguing for inclusion and want a less hostile environment but then exclude a specific group of people within their demands.”
The Drylongso Collective released a clarifying statement, addressing the confusion and accusations that the BSU is anti-semitic.
The Collective clarified that the BSU was not the author of the list. It was an effort made by a collective of students, some of whom are both Black and Jewish.
The release also explained the differences between Zionism and Judaism.
“Not all Zionists are Jewish and not all Jewish folks are Zionists,” the statement read.
Where Zionism is a movement for the re-establishment, development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel, Judaism is the monotheistic religion of Jewish people.
“Black folks and other People of Color have a long-standing history of standing in solidarity with Palestinian folks,” the statement continued. “The quotidian experiences of Palestinians include a long history of dealing with violence, colonization (particularly through land dispossession), and oppression. We cannot in good conscience advocate for our own liberation without being mindful of the current and historical liberation struggles of others locally, nationally, and globally.”
The Collective also pointed out that their focus is on the administration’s response to the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity’s action.
“To attempt to decenter Blackness from our discussion by focusing on an accusation of anti-Semitism based on a false equivalency of Zionism and Judaism is deeply disturbing and speaks of not only the lack of accountability for anti-Semitic acts committed by non-Black/Brown students but also of the coalition work that remains to be done,” the statement said.
The Drylongso Collective was contacted for further comments, but did not respond.