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March 8, 2016

JCRC Applauds U of M President Eric Kaler on His Statement Opposing Israel Divestment and Condemning Prejudice and Hostility Towards the Jewish Community

JCRC successfully worked with bipartisan legislative coalition to achieve today's statement

Minneapolis, MN — Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement applauding University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler's statement opposing Israel divestment efforts and condemning prejudice and hostility towards the Jewish community:

"The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) applauds today's statement by University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler in which he announced his opposition to the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement on campus. This clear statement in response to the divisive divestment campaign by the local supporters of the BDS movement is a welcomed reaffirmation that the U of M shares the JCRC's concern 'that the Global BDS movement does not seem to distinguish between opposition to the policies of the government of Israel and opposition to the existence of Israel.'

"Given the increasing concerns by Jewish students, faculty, and staff about anti-Semitism on campus, we also applaud President Kaler's strong statement that '[o]ur University strongly and unequivocally condemns prejudice and hostility toward Jews, as we condemn bias against any groups.' Additionally, we are pleased that the president went on to make it clear that, 'I have written about the need to provide such a welcoming environment for our Muslim students, and I write now to encourage efforts to sustain the same environment for our Jewish students and, indeed, students of all faiths and backgrounds.'

"The JCRC was proud to help assemble a strong bipartisan and bicameral letter from legislative leaders including House Speaker Kurt Daudt, House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin, House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, and Senate Minority Leader David Hann, as well as 75 other state senators and representatives to President Eric Kaler on March 4, 2016. In this letter, 80 state legislators urged President Kaler to publicly and resolutely oppose the pending anti-Israel divestment resolution.

"In anticipation of tonight's vote, the Jewish community supports the University of Minnesota students and faculty, including Professor Riv-Ellen Prell, who are showing tremendous strength in opposing the BDS resolution.

"The JCRC also thanks Minnesota Hillel, the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul, the Minnesota Rabbinical Association, Students Supporting Israel, the Israel Center of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, as well as JCRC board members Professor Oren Gross and Sami Rahamim for their tremendous leadership on this issue."

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As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.