Actually Excluded At UCLA

One of the most basic thought experiments is to replace the target of an action against a disfavored group with a favored group, and see if you still approve. The problem with this experiment is that under the progressive ideal, where achieving the goal of standing up for whomever they’ve deemed oppressed is the only thing that matters and should be accomplished by any means necessary, they just don’t care. When you wrap yourself in the glory of righteousness, the ends justify the means.

So it was at UCLA, as reflected in the complaint in Frankel v. Regents.

Starting on April 25, 2024, and continuing until May 2, 2024, UCLA allowed a group of activists to set up barricades in the center of campus and establish an encampment that blocked access to critical educational infrastructure on campus.

There are two key facts alleged here. The first is that it was done with UCLA’s acquiescence, if not active approval. The second is that the encampment blocked access. From the perspective of those who created the encampment, where they sang, danced, braided hair and swapped stories of the horrors in Gaza, they were peacefully protesting. What could be wrong about peaceful protest? What was wrong was that they seized control over a portion of campus to which every other student had as much right to be as they did. What was wrong was this.

With the knowledge and acquiescence of UCLA officials, the activists enforced what was effectively a “Jew Exclusion Zone,” segregating Jewish students and preventing them from accessing the heart of campus, including classroom buildings and the main undergraduate library. In many cases, the activists set up barriers and locked arms together, preventing those who refused to disavow Israel from passing through.

To enter the Jew Exclusion Zone, a person had to make a statement pledging their allegiance to the activists’ views and have someone within the encampment “vouch” for the individual’s fidelity to the activists’ cause. While this may have prevented a pro-Israel Christian from entering the Zone and permitted access for a Jewish person willing to comply with the enforcers’ demands, given the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jewish faith, the practical effect was to deny the overwhelming majority of Jews access to the heart of the campus.

Activists issued wristbands or other forms of identification to those who passed this Orwellian inquisition.

The obvious thought experiment is to query whether the righteous supporters of the  oppressed Palestinians would have approved of the same conduct had the excluded been black students. Or Muslim students. The obvious answer is “Of course not,” but that doesn’t alter their calculus because they weren’t excluding black or Muslim students. They were excluding Zionists, believers in a colonialist apartheid ideology of a Jewish homeland in Israel, who were engaged in genocide. Genocide trumps everything, and thus justified their actions. Because genocide!

And the university may not have endorsed this conduct, but made the decision to let it be.

Yet even as the activists continued to enforce the Jew Exclusion Zone, Defendants not only failed to marshal resources to intervene—they adopted a policy facilitating the Jew Exclusion Zone, ordering, among other things, UCLA campus police to stand down and step aside.

So university police were directed not to start a war, as had happened on other campuses and created problematic blowback for the administration. But UCLA took it a step further.

And not only that, but UCLA also hired security staff and stationed them on the outskirts of the encampment and other restricted areas.

But rather than instruct this additional staff to assist Jewish students in accessing campus resources, UCLA instead instructed them to discourage unapproved students from attempting to cross through the areas blocked by the activists.

The security officers, acting as agents of Defendants, informed Jewish persons that, if they wished to access the encampment or other restricted areas, they would first need to obtain the permission of the encampment members.

One of the distinctions drawn between the Gaza protests and the anti-war protests of the ’60s is that the latter was between students and the federal government, while the former is student against student. The putatively woke students, the ones who disrupt but only for good and moral reasons, attacked and excluded their fellow students for being Jews, or at least not being the progressive version of “good Jews,” the ones who put their need for acceptance in the progressive tribe above their self interest and agree to hate their own and sacrifice their integrity for the sake of the designated oppressed and favored identity of the moment.

But at least they can take comfort in believing that as they created a Jew Exclusion Zone, they did so in the name of morality as the high priestesses of their religion dictated. After all, it’s not as if they would ever exclude black or Muslim students from access to campus as they did Jews. Unless they were told to do so in the name of some greater righteousness.

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