A.S. Council to Fund Anti-Zionism Week

Amid objections from the Union of Jewish Students, the A.S. Council is funding the Muslim Student Association’s Anti-Zionism Week, to be held next week.

At last week’s A.S. Council meeting, Vice President Finance Matt Powell suggested funding the event from a fund created in 1994 specifically for controversial issues.

The council voted against Powell’s motion, and instead decided to fund the event through the Student Organizations Unallocated fund, the fund through which most student organizations receive money.

“”I can definitely understand the council’s reasons for it,”” Powell said. “”What they did is definitely consistent with the rules that we follow.””

The council must fund events and not discriminate based on content that students or council members disagree with.

Powell said he wanted to fund the event from a different source because he has not had a chance yet to educate students on the issue of how funding is given to students.

“”It may have been easier to address the situation this time if we had the funding source.””

Jonathan Rotter, a recent UCSD graduate, said he feels that many council members do not see how offensive the term “”Anti-Zionism Week”” is to Jewish students.

“”Certainly they made the claim that they’re required by law to fund things in a content-independent manner,”” he said. “”But it’s hard for me to imagine that if someone had proposed an anti-Asian week that they would have gotten funding. It’s my feeling that they don’t understand that, to us, Anti-Zionism week is equal to Anti-Semitism week.””

Muslema Purmul, treasurer of the MSA, agreed with the council vote.

“”I like the way they voted,”” she said. “”What this club is doing is no different from other clubs.””

Muir Senior Lila Hollman said the Union of Jewish Students has had a booth on Library Walk to educate students on Zionism. She said that Zionism is not a political issue; rather it is an essential part of the Jewish religion.

Rotter added that while there is plenty of room for discussion about the current situation in the Middle East, there is a clear distinction between Anti-Zionism Week and current political issues.

Purmul said she feels that Anti-Zionism Week is being misunderstood by many.

“”I think that the reaction that has been voiced is too harsh considering what Anti-Zionism Week is all about,”” she said. “”I feel we’re being judged before we’ve had a chance to say anything.””

Students who disagree with Anti-Zionism Week, or any other political or religious event that they do not want to fund, can request a refund for the portion of their student activity fee that went to fund the week. UJS members said that as of earlier this week, 40 students had requested refunds. Each student who requests a refund will receive about three cents.

“”We are encouraging students to do that if they share our outrage at this program,”” Hollman said.

Rotter added he is encouraging students to pool the refund money and donate it to earthquake relief efforts in El Salvador.

The A.S. Council provided the MSA $640 for the event.

Parts two and three of this series will run next Thursday and the following Thursday.