Hundreds at UC want him gone for liking pro-Israel posts
The chair of the University of California system’s Board of Regents has not backed down as a coalition pressures him to resign over his engagement with pro-Israel social media content.
“The moral bankruptcy and bigotry of UC Regents Chair Richard Leib is not welcome in our university community, and we will remain steadfast in our demands for his resignation,” the UC Palestine Collective said in an email to The College Fix.
The Fix asked Leib for comment on the accusations via LinkedIn message but did not receive a response in the past two weeks. The Fix also contacted the general regents email for comment on Tuesday but no response has been received.
Leib, who is Jewish, “has personally met with Arab, Jewish and Muslim students” to hear their concerns about hostility on campus, according to a UC spokesperson.
Leib (pictured) has called on campus officials “to provide resources for added safety measures, to swiftly condemn inappropriate behavior and enforce rules against it, and to call out hate speech, even if protected by the First Amendment,” the university stated.
The board chair, who assumed his role in 2018, told the Los Angeles Times he doesn’t plan to resign in response to an open letter from the UC Palestine Collective accusing him of “racism” and “homophobia” amid Israel’s war against the terrorist group Hamas.
Last weekend, the anti-Israel hate group @NationalSJP held their annual conference at UCLA. This group harasses Jewish students, promotes BDS, and spreads lies about Israel. So I went to @UCLA to have a conversation with them. To no surprise they didn’t want to talk, instead they… pic.twitter.com/S1srpWpjwU
— Sarai (Sarah Idan) Miss Iraq (@RealSarahIdan) February 23, 2023
The group’s letter, signed by hundreds of UC students, faculty, staff, campus organizations, and others, focuses on posts Leib has liked via his account on X. It claims he has violated a requirement in the California Constitution to govern without “political or sectarian influence.”
The “most troubling example,” according to the letter, is when Leib liked a satirical post comparing “Queers for Palestine” to “Cows for McDonald’s,” a reference to violence against gay people in Gaza and the West Bank.
“We condemn in the strongest terms this shameless display of pinkwashing, which maliciously wields queer identities as a tool to justify Israel’s ongoing genocide and illegal occupation of Palestine,” the letter reads. “Aside from likening queer people to cows, it is undeniably racist and homophobic to suggest that state violence against Palestinians is somehow justified because homophobia exists within Palestinian society, as it does across the world.”
The group also criticized Leib for liking “posts claiming that Hamas uses hospitals as military headquarters” and falsely claimed this is “wholly unsubstantiated.”
The head of a Gaza hospital and Hamas members have told Israeli interrogators that the group regularly stores supplies and hides in these civilian areas. The Israeli military has also released footage supporting the claim.
“Leib has also liked several Tweets ridiculing the Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement and referring to Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) as a ‘anti-Israel hate group,” the letter also stated. “In one instance, he liked a video posted … by a non-UC-affiliated person with a ‘BDS is BS’ banner attempting to harass students at UCLA’s SJP Annual Conference, despite campus security personnel repeatedly requesting that she move away from the students.”
The video shows a young activist holding a sign and calmly speaking on a sidewalk as most students keep their distance.
Lastly, UC Palestine Collective accused Leib of supporting “targeted harassment and doxxing” for liking posts that reveal the identities of pro-Palestinian protesters at college campuses.
UC Palestine Collective told The College Fix that Leib’s response “is a shameless display of double standards and hypocrisy — one that we believe to be a microcosm of how acceptable and normalized it has become in the academic world to write off the humanity and dignity of Palestinians.”
The group also doubled down on its denial that Hamas uses hospitals as military bases. It cited a Washington Post piece arguing that the footage, weapons, and tunnel network revealed by the Israeli military isn’t enough proof. The organization dismissed statements from interrogated individuals, claiming they were “likely” subjected to “abuse and torture.”
“We find it especially disturbing that Leib, who oversees five major academic medical centers under the purview of his leadership, deemed it appropriate to publicly support targeted and unjustified attacks on hospitals,” UC Palestine Collective told The Fix.
But the controversy over Leib shows a different “double standard” in higher education, according to Alan Dershowitz, an emeritus Harvard law professor who regularly writes and comments on Israeli politics.
“There are so many overtly anti-Israel zealots on boards,” the Harvard law professor told The Fix. “A bit of balance is desirable.”
IMAGE: MLK Healthcare; Adam Kinziger/X