Ac­tivists op­pose UCLA speaker

Los Angeles Times - - THE WEATHER - Larry Gor­don

Sev­eral Jewish or­ga­ni­za­tions and pro-Is­rael fig­ures say they don’t want African Amer­i­can his­tory scholar Cor­nel West to de­liver a key­note ad­dress at an up­com­ing UCLA con­fer­ence cel­e­brat­ing the life of civil rights ac­tivist Rabbi Abra­ham Joshua Heschel.

They want West un­in­vited to the May 3-4 meet­ing be­cause of his crit­i­cism of Is­rael’s poli­cies to­ward the Pales­tini­ans and his sup­port for uni­ver­si­ties to di­vest hold­ings from com­pa­nies that do busi­ness with the Is­raeli mil­i­tary. West has called Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Benjamin Ne­tanyahu a war crim­i­nal for the civil­ian deaths in the Gaza con­flict last year.

UCLA of­fi­cials say they are stick­ing with West, who is a pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus at Prince­ton, teaches at the Union The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary in New York and co­hosts the public ra­dio show “Smi­ley & West.” To drop him would vi­o­late free speech, ac­cord­ing to ad­min­is­tra­tors at the UCLA Alan D. Leve Cen­ter for Jewish Stud­ies, which is spon­sor­ing the Heschel meet­ing.

West could not be reached for com­ment Fri­day.

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