North to South: Anti-Semitism at the University of California

Here we go: Day 3 of our brief survey of just a few of California’s more notorious anti-Semitic academics.

David Lloyd

David Lloyd is a professor of English at UC Riverside. You’d think he might be an impressive character: he holds B.A. (1977), M.A. (1981), and Ph.D. (1982) degrees from Cambridge and taught at several other California colleges (Davis, Scripps, Berkeley, USC) before settling in at Riverside in 2013. He is supposedly a poet, and supposedly an expert on Irish history. With those fancy Cambridge degrees in hand and all those impressive academic posts, you’d think that over these decades he’d have produced some serious poetry or worthwhile scholarship or books for the general reader. But no. When you look him up online, and separate out the items related to him from those related to the other academic David Lloyds around the world (including a Welsh biologist, an Irish chemist, an Australian university official, and a professor of business at the University of Missouri), pretty much all you can find by this David Lloyd is one nasty anti-Semitic rant after another.

For the fact is that during most if not all of his career, Lloyd’s primary focus has been on Israel, which he despises. He has sponsored branches of the anti-Israeli group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at various California campuses, including Riverside, and has even founded a branch of Faculty for Justice in Palestine.

Tina Matar

As if this weren’t enough, he is involved in several other anti-Israeli campaigns, collectives, and committees. His devotion to this cause also led him, in 2015, to sponsor a course – entitled “Palestine & Israel: Settler-Colonialism and Apartheid” – that was taught by the undergraduate head of SJP-Riverside, Tina Matar, and that occasioned a critical letter from 27 major human-rights, pro-freedom, and Jewish organizations to Janet Napolitano, president of the UC system.

Janet Napolitano

The letter expressed concern that the course was “being used for political indoctrination rather than education” and cited Matar’s involvement in recent anti-Israeli campaigns on the campus. An independent, non-partisan organization that analyzes educational materials examined the course materials and concluded that it was one-sided on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that was free of historical background and that seemed designed solely to encourage anti-Israeli activism. During the succeeding months, Lloyd wrote articles and gave lectures in which he represented the course as factually objective and its critics as would-be censors, enemies of academic freedom, and anti-Palestinian bigots.

Curtis Marez

Moving on, meet Curtis Marez, who teaches Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego. We’ve mentioned the unanimous 2013 vote by the board of the American Studies Association to boycott Israel because of its supposed human-rights offenses. Marez was president of the ASA at the time. Later, when confronted by the terrible human-rights records of many of Israel’s neighbors, Marez said, lamely: “one has to start somewhere.” He was still president when the ASA issued a statement claiming that the boycott was aimed only at Israeli academic institutions, not individual professors. But that proved to be a lie, with the boycotts by the ASA and other such organizations causing real damage to the ability of Israeli academics to work in American universities. Some Israeli professors have said, indeed, that in the wake of the ASA boycott their treatment by American colleagues had undergone a serious change, with respect and collegiality turning to unmannerliness and and even open contempt.

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