Last Thursday, Nov 13, a fight broke out at UC Berkeley, but this was no “normal” fight. And please note, I am NOT taking sides for ANYONE as you read this. And no, don’t email me or leave a message that I am contributing to the problem. This is not a new problem, there is already a problem there, the problem has been there for 10 years, including a magazine at one time entitled “Zionish: the Forgotten Apartheid” promoting Hamas and Hizbullah, and it needs addressed.
Last week, there was a concert promoting Israel Liberation Week and was sponsored by the Zionist Freedom Alliance student group. Around 5:30 PM three members of Students for Justice in Palestine hung up two Palestinian flags on the building above where the concert was going on. The students said they were responding to the anti-Palestinian lyrics they heard.
Three individuals, which included one who was a performer at the concert, went up to the balcony where the flag was being displayed. All three men were Jewish. A fight broke out.
ASUC officials who witnessed the fight said the three men interrupted ASUC meetings on the second floor in order to reach the balcony. They added that the fight prompted about four members of the audience to run up to the second floor.
“I went up to the second floor because the message they were sending was an abomination to our national rights,” said Gabe Weiner, ASUC former senator. Weiner was handcuffed and later cited with battery by UCPD. One additional student and one non-student were cited for battery, with both of them also being Jewish. (Gabe can be seen in the middle in an unrelated picture.)
Witnesses said that the Arab students shouted anti-Semitic curses and epithets throughout the incident, calling the Jews “Nazis” and “dogs,” and threatening to kill them. According to one witness, as many as 20 anti-Israel students participated in the fight.
Husam Zakharia, said the rap lyrics he heard spurred him to hang up the Palestinian flag. “We’re going to go up and we’re going to put up our Palestinian flag in silent protest-exercising our freedom of speech to say we’re here and we exist,” he said, adding that he was surprised by the reaction. Zakharia was hit in the face during the altercation.
BACKGROUND, NOT THE FIRST TIME.
According to blogger who states he has taught part-time at UC for 10 years, “the entire UC system has been plagued for some years by tension between Jewish and Muslim students due to the Israeli-Palestine issue.” Pro-Israel students at UC Berkeley have complained of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic harassment.
In a September incident, a poster promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace on a bus stop outside Eshleman Hall was vandalized with anti-Semitic marks and symbols. The Berkeley Police Department was investigating the incident as a hate crime, which Berkelely Police Officer Andrew Frankel said was “unusual.” [Frankel must not have worked at UC-Berkeley when four years ago, Chancellor Berdhal announced a 30-member task force to tackle hate crimes.]
At the time, the Dean of Students Poullard said he hoped the incidents [of hate related vandalism] would make students more conscious of preventing incidents of hateful speech. “I think it’s a reminder to all of us what we must be vigilant to create a safe space,” he said. “I think something good will come out of this.” [Yea, like what happened last week?]
In early September SJP claimed that one of their boards had been vandalized. The board “displayed an image of the apartheid wall that Israel is constructing in and around the West Bank, as well as a caricature of Handala, a famous cartoon of a Palestinian refugee by cartoonist Naji al-Ali.” One Jewish member of the SJP has argued that there is no such thing as a Jewish nation and that Jews have no claim to any territory anywhere.
Below however, in early October, ASUC Senator John Moghtader and Weiner lead a disruptive protest by Tikvah Students in October at a lecture titled “Israel, Palestine, and the Rule of Law: A Discussion on The Rights and Wrongs of Israel’s Occupation of Palestine.”. Because of this incident, the Jewish Student Union (JSU), student-led body that oversees 15 Jewish student groups, placed Tikvah: Students for Israel on probation.
The president of the JSU told Tikvah that if they issued an open letter to Students for Justice in Palestine apologizing, they would be taken off probation. Moghtader said it wasn’t going to happen. (In 2002, Students for Justice protested a Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration where 79 pro-Palestinian protestors were arrested. SJP was put on suspension so no one is innocent here.)
Additionally, as for how long this has been going on, lets take a look at a few months in 2002 on UC campuses alone regarding anti-Semitism.
■ Feb 7, 2002 – Pro-Palestinian students staged a protest at the UC-Berkeley calling Israel an “apartheid state” and Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon a war criminal. Demonstrators also staged a skit, during which cardboard models of “Palestinian homes” were crushed by students holding photos of Prime Minister Sharon in front of their faces.
■ Feb 16-18, 2002 – A nationally promoted conference at the UC-Berkeley served as the kickoff for a student-led campaign to encourage universities to divest themselves of stock in corporations that do business with Israel.
■ March 27, 2002 – The UC-Berkeley Hillel Center was vandalized with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic graffiti and the glass front door was smashed in with a cement block.
■ April 6, 2002 – A construction site for new dormitories at UC-Santa Barbara was defaced with anti-Israel/anti-Semitic graffiti including the phrases: “Anti Zion/Nuke Israel,” “God Hates Jews,” and “Burn the Torah.”
■ April 9, 2002 – Campus police at UC-Berkeley arrested 79 pro-Palestinian protestors who had stormed into a classroom building in an attempt to disrupt a Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration. In the aftermath of the incident, the university suspended the student organization, “Students for Justice in Palestine,” pending an investigation.
■ April 9, 2002 – A “National Day of Action in Commemoration of Massacre of Village of Deir Yassine April 9 1948” was held at UC-Davis, to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day activities.
■ April 12, 2002 – At UC-Riverside the Muslim Student Union sponsored a rally and protest for Palestine that concluded with a march to Riverside’s City Hall.
■ April 15, 2002 – Muslim student groups at UC-Berkeley and UC-San Diego posted fliers featuring fabricated, distorted and out-of-context quotations from the Talmud and other rabbinical literature. Samples include:
- “A Jew is permitted to rape, cheat and perjure himself, but he must take care that he is not found out, so that Israel may not suffer.”
- “A Gentile girl who is three years old can be violated.”
- “The Jews are human beings, but the nations of the world are not human beings but beasts.”
■ April 15, 2002 – Al Kalima, the Muslim newsmagazine at UC-Irvine, jointly published a highly anti-Israel publication entitled “Zionism: the Forgotten Apartheid.” The magazine publicly lauds and promotes both Hamas and Hizbullah as legitimate and noteworthy resistance movements. The magazine has also been distributed at UC-San Diego.
■ April 24, 2002 – The Muslim Student Association at UC-San Diego sponsored a talk by Hatem al-Bazian, a speaker whose anti-Semitic and anti-American views were challenged by Hillel members, who placed fliers around campus that featured al-Bazain’s quotes. Muslim students who witnessed what Hillel members were doing began to scream and taunt the Jewish students: one allegedly made threats of physical harm.
■ May 2, 2002 – Following the rejection of a divestment resolution before the UC-Berkeley student government, a group of 500 protestors gathered to object to the University administration’s suspension of the Students for Justice in Palestine group.
■ May 7, 2002 – The Muslim Student Association at UC-San Diego distributed filers on campus titled, “The Jenin Massacre.” At the same time, fliers appeared on campus with an anti-Semitic diatribe written by the right-wing extremist and former Klansman David Duke.
■ May 14, 2002 – At UC-Irvine, an anti-Israeli demonstration featured the display of mock “body bags” of Palestinians “murdered” by the Israeli army.
As for this year, it seems the trend is down, as prior to the above incident, only four cases of bias-related crime has been reported on UCPD this year. Want more examples? How about another? Or another? Or another? There are way too many to list here, and against Jews.
And in 2005 when there was to be an anti-terror rally at Berkeley, that included the wreckage of Jerusalem Bus #19, that was destroyed in a suicide bombing that killed 11 and wounded 45, it almost never took place due to a crowd of 300 pro-Palestinian, and Socialist group protestors. In their protest, the expressed their outrage that Jews, Christians and other supporters of Israel and America had dared to gather and speak out against terrorism. About 40 pro-Palestinian college students waved Palestinian flags and used bullhorns to chant “Down with Israel!” and “Down with the U.S.A..”
Obviously the UC system endorses anti-Semitism on their campuses as they continue to let it occur. And remember, I don’t take sides however, it seems that those who are pro-Palestinian are getting away with way too much and when pro-Israel students attempt something, the pro-Palestinian students make their lives miserable based upon the information I have found.
However, I do believe that those groups or individuals on campus that have repeatedly been put on probation or suspension due to basically what should be called hate crimes, should be suspended permanently. What is it going to take before this is addressed on UC campuses? Or is UC-Berkeley turning into a pseudo “war zone” like Israel and Palestine, where there has been fighting since the beginning of time, and thus this kind of activity will continue on also?
When a student can not even walk out of their dorm without fear of having to defend themselves because of their religion, then that school is not worth the paper the diploma is printed on. No student should have to defend themselves to get an education.
This is not the West Bank, this is not Palestine, this is the United States. If you want lines, go to to Israel, as there will be NO LINES of “my area” and “your area” as its “our area” as in WE THE PEOPLE here in the United States and that is what this country is based on. If you don’t like it, then leave it. No one is making you stay here. You want to fight for your religion, then go to Israel. Don’t like what I have to say? Hmm.. FIRST AMENDMENT, thank you. Because I really don’t care what you believe when it comes to God, as long as you aren’t pushing it down my throat, or blowing up or killing people because they aren’t “your” religion.