SAN FRANCISCO - The University of California's regents declared on Wednesday they would not tolerate anti-Semitism on campus but rejected a proposal to equate anti-Zionism with religious bigotry, as they tried to defuse tensions between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian students.
The statement of principles, approved unanimously by the university's governing board, stems from concerns among Jewish students and faculty about a rise in anti-Semitism on several UC campuses in response to recent student activism in support of Israel.
Pro-Palestinian campus activists, however, say they are simply voicing legitimate criticism of Israel, which, they say, is being misconstrued, creating a pretext for pro-Israeli activists to squelch the Arab side of the Mideast debate.
The regents rebuffed draft language that would have broadly defined opposition to Israel as anti-Jewish bigotry, with the board instead voting to disapprove "anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism."
The action by California's flagship public university, reflecting a broader conflict playing out on college campuses nationwide, sought to strike a balance between condemning intolerance and protecting free speech.