SWC exhorts USC to 'take action' after student resigned over anti-Zionism

“When students are hounded out of elected positions in student government, in whole or part, because they identify as Zionists, that constitutes pernicious and ugly acts of hatred."

USC Bovard Auditorium (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
USC Bovard Auditorium
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) urged University of Southern California (USC) President Carol Folt to investigate a campaign targeting Jewish pro-Israel students elected in leadership positions in student government.
Rose Ritch, a Jewish student leader at USC, was forced to resign from her position as the vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government, "because [she] openly identify as a Zionist, a supporter of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state," as she stated in an open letter to her campus community on Wednesday.
“When students are hounded out of elected positions in student government, in whole or part, because they identify as Zionists, that constitutes pernicious and ugly acts of hatred that should have no place at USC, one of America’s most prestigious universities….” a letter from SWC to Folt stated.
“A resignation letter from one of those students, former SG Vice President Rose Ritch, asserts that there was a concerted social media campaign to 'impeach [my] Zionist a**.'  Our community is particularly offended that at a time of heightened sensitivities about the rights of African Americans and other minorities that there are voices raised at USC telling the Jewish community that Zionism and Judaism are separate."
According to the letter, Rabbis Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the SWC and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and global social action director exhort that, “a swift investigation by your [President Folt’s] office. If validated, we urge you as President of USC to denounce the campaign and publicly reassure Jewish and other Zionists on campus that USC recognizes the validity of Zionism and support for the Jewish state.'
"We are not claiming that all criticisms of Israel are antisemitic, that is absurd on its face. But denying the legitimacy of the lone Jewish state of Israel among the nations of the world, is an attack on the legitimacy of the Jewish people, it’s faith, and its historic homeland.
"Campaigners for Palestinian rights and a Palestinian state have every right to promote their views but not when it includes the demise of another people. USC must never allow any part of its institution to be a staging ground for antisemites or those who seek and end to Israel.”