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Avinoam Baral, the target of a despicable BDS led effort to disqualify him from student office, was elected this past Friday afternoon to a seat in the UCLA student senate (USAC). In the heat of the election campaign, anti-Israel activists pressured student candidates to sign an “ ethical statement” pledging not to participate in Israel-related programs that are not approved by the anti-Israel BDS movement. While the majority of candidates cravenly signed the anti-Israel pledge, Baral and his fellow candidates on the “Bruins United” slate refused to succumb to this intimidation.
Baral’s failure to comply with BDS demands resulted in a shameful effort to label Baral a bigot and Islamaphobe. An editorial in The Muslim student newspaper Al Talib asserted that Baral’s participation in an Aish HaTorah sponsored leadership training program disqualified him from public office.
If elected without distancing himself from an Islamophobic organization [Aish HaTorah], we do not feel Baral would be able to adequately represent the Muslim community on campus.
Baral became a focus of concern to anti-Israel forces on campus after he led a successful effort against a campus divestment resolution last February. Baral was elected to the position of Internal Vice President with 53.4% of the vote. Baral’s opponent Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed of the BDS endorsed LETS ACT! slate garnered 46.6% of the vote.
Baral’s Bruins United Slate did well. According to The Daily Bruin “Nine out of the 13 USAC positions were contested in this year’s election, six of which went to Bruins United. The Bruins United slate will hold a plurality of the 13 elected positions in the undergraduate student government next year.” The LETS ACT! slate endorsed by Students for Justice in Palestine won four seats including the position of USAC President.
As Internal Vice President, Baral will serve as the executive liaison between over 950+ student groups, USAC, and the UCLA administration.