From: "Judea Pearl"
To: faculty-forum@causality.cs.ucla.edu
Cc: "Judea Pearl"
Sent: Wednesday, December 8, 2021 12:51:30AM
Subject: Bleak update on our Letter to Drake

Dear Colleagues,
Dear Friends in Faculty-Forum. Some unfortunate news was received last week on our Open Letter to Drake The last bullet at the bottom of the letter: https://ucla.in/31yKCEF links us to a letter from the University Committee on Academic Freedom Committee (UCAF) which essentially licenses the politicization of higher education at the UC system -- it's now an open season.

The key sentence is: "The UCAF letter articulates an overriding principle that departments should not be precluded from issuing or endorsing political statements." The other recommendation are just decorative, and we must accept the new reality: Each department may decide what party to endorse, which candidate to support or to impeach, which country to delegitimize and which people to demonize.

Needless to state, the intimidating statement posted by the Asian-American Studies Department will not be removed for a long long time, and will continue to tell our students: (1) You are not exactly welcome here, and (2) This department has been hijacked by Zionophobes.

In a non-inverted universe, I would have expected an outcry from the Jewish leadership on campus, perhaps even a vigil prayer and a press-conference in front of Murphy Hall. But given the situation as we know it, I do not expect say the Center of Jewish Studies to acknowledge any level of concerns. Things are not what they used to be ...

What can we do about it? I suggest sending another Open Letter to President Drake, expressing our concerns over the UCAF recommendation but, this time, objecting to the hateful and intimidating nature of the AAS Statement rather than its political content. Yoram suggested using: "statements that denigrate the existence of a nation or its people violate the UC principle of inclusion and have no place on campus."

Please, can someone take a crack in drafting such letter?

Other developments of interest,

  1. The USC scandal is generating media attention. Take a look at their website, https://usc-faaz-12-2021.org/ last section, "Reactions"
  2. The Forward has an article on the proper use of the word Zionophobia, https://forward.com/news/479253/can-a-new-word-zionophobia-clarify-the-debate-over-israel/
    My reaction is tweeted here: https://twitter.com/yudapearl/status/1468406155177123841

I wish I could end this message on a more optimistic note, but, as they say in our Chanukah song.

A miracle did not happen to us, We haven't found a vessel of oil, We carved the rock till we bled, And there was light !
There is light!
Judea

Judea Pearl
Professor
UCLA Computer Science Department
4515 Boelter Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1596
310.825.3243
judea@cs.ucla.edu