UVA Student Council Ends Effort to Block Supporters of Israel From Speaking on Campus

The University of Virginia Student Council reversed its plan to condemn Israel and prevent speakers with pro-Israeli views from campus forums. A strong pushback by over a dozen Jewish students ended the effort, which was initiated in response to a 10-day residency by a Jewish artist on campus.

The group was to vote to condemn what it called UVA’s “Continued Normalization and Legitimization of the Israeli Apartheid State’s Occupation of Palestine.”

French artist Frederic Brenner was invited by the university’s religious studies department to host talks on the Jewish diaspora. However, three student council members took offense to Brenner’s subject matter and called on Israel to be “culturally and financially isolated” as part of an “anti-colonial struggle.”

The resolution is reportedly tied to a group called the Dissenters, which attempts to organize college students for what it calls the battle against “war-mongering elites” and defense of those “surviving under oppression.”

Predictably, pro-Palestinian groups are on the warpath against what they call the “stifling of dissent,” which is remarkably similar to what the UVA Student Council attempted when it moved to block points of view its woke darlings disapproved of.

The University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson, is also the site of a 2018 effort by the school’s Minority Rights Council to block another Jewish student group from full membership. The home of the Queer Student Union, Asian Leaders Council, Muslim Students Association and others rejected the Jewish Leadership Council because of its inclusion of “Hoos for Isreal,” a pro-Israeli group.

Rejecting the student council’s radicalism, James Loeffler, Director of the Jewish Studies program at the University of Virginia, declared his support of the department’s invitation to host Brenner as a resident artist. Brenner’s work includes depictions of Holocaust survivors and is world renowned, and his residency begins March 20.

It is unusual but refreshing to see an institution of higher learning not cave to campus radicals who, in their never-ending pursuit of diversity, exclude legitimate and peaceful voices they disapprove of. Supporting Israel should not be grounds for exclusion from a prestigious American university.