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Group tells students not to apply to UCI

February 17, 2010 12:46:26 AM PST
A New York-based organization is targeting UC Irvine, asking potential students to not apply and donors to stop sending money.The Zionist Organization of America is condemning Chancellor Michael Drake for not speaking out against what it calls discrimination and civil rights violations by members of the school's Muslim Student Union.

"We're not asking the university to infringe on anyone's free speech rights, but our contention all along is that the chancellor has his own free speech rights, and for whatever reason, he's refusing to exercise them," said Susan Tuchman, director of the ZOA's Center for Law and Justice. "He can come out and condemn the speech as hurtful and anti-Semitic."

A university spokeswoman says it has no comment.

Authorities arrested 11 Muslim students earlier this month for interrupting a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.

Tension around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has spilled onto campus at several other universities lately as well.

Pro-Palestinian students have disrupted speeches by prominent Israeli speakers at Oxford University, in England, at the University of Chicago and at UCLA.

But tension has simmered between Jewish and Muslim student groups for years at UC Irvine, and discourse between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel students has been particularly vitriolic.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.