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BLM co-founder to speak at UCLA despite calls to ‘end’ Israel, org infighting and real-estate shopping spree

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Black Lives Matter received backlash from all sides this week as the world continues to witness the unveiling of the apparent corruption and hypocrisy within the Black Lives Matter organization.

BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors was scheduled to give a commencement address for UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs on Friday, despite her past remarks calling for the end of Israel.

“Palestine is our generation’s South Africa,” Cullors said as a panelist at a 2015 Harvard Law school event. “If we don’t step up boldly and courageously to end the imperialist project that’s called Israel, we’re doomed.”

UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Dean Gary Segura confirmed and defended the decision to host Cullors despite several Jewish groups sounding the alarm at her participation in the virtual commencement, particularly due to the recent surge in anti-Semitic attacks.

“Respect for diversity of opinion on matters of public concern is a key tenet of the educational philosophy of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and it’s important to remember that an invitation to speak does not represent an endorsement of all past or future statements by a given speaker,” Segura said in a statement to the Jewish Journal. “We do not condone racism, sexism, anti-Semitism or any form of bias.”

“The prerecorded commencement message from Patrisse Cullors is one of unity, tolerance and forgiveness,” Segura added. “She suggests that a cooperative spirit can help heal old wounds and advance new solutions. I am confident that our graduating students will appreciate her perspective and find inspiration in her call to look forward without judgment in pursuit of a happier, more equitable society.”

Several prominent educators criticized the decision to include Cullors in the commencement ceremony.

Judea Pearl, a computer science professor at UCLA and founder of the Daniel Pearl Organization, condemned the decision. Daniel Pearl was a journalist who was abducted and murdered after investigating militant groups in Pakistan in 2002.

Pearl took to Twitter to demand Cullors retract her prior anti-Israel statements before addressing the graduates. He also called into question the university’s decision to invite her.


Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Rabbi Abraham Cooper also denounced Cullors’ participation.

“UCLA has the moral obligation to ask their speaker if she still seeks the destruction of the Jewish state but doesn’t have the courage to do so. UCLA graduates know what she has publicly stated in the past—supporting the destruction of Israel,” Cooper said.

The criticism from the Jewish community comes at the same time the Black Lives Matter organization has experienced significant infighting and internal criticism. This week several BLM chapters also seem to be waking up to the hypocrisy and double standards that Cullors and the BLM movement have proliferated as they demanded more “transparency” and “accountability” from so-called leaders like Cullors.

Cullors has recently stepped down from her role as the executive director of the BLM organization around the same time questions arose related to her luxury real estate shopping spree, including a $1.4 million property in Topanga Canyon that she built a massive fence around this week.  However, she denies that stepping down from the BLM organization is related to the widespread criticism of her finances, calling the allegations “categorically untrue.”

Ashley Hill

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