(February 5, 2020 / JNS) The student government at the University of California, Berkeley, erupted into chaos on Monday, delaying a vote on a measure to censure a display by a pro-Palestinian student group.
The Associated Students of the University of California Senate’s (ASUC) University and External Affairs Committee met to debate student Milton Zerman’s resolution titled “Condemning Bears for Palestine for Their Display in Eshleman Hall Glorifying Violent Terrorists.”
In December, the student group Bears for Palestine put on a display in the student union featuring convicted Palestinian terrorists Rasmieh Odeh, Fatima Bernawi and Leila Khaled.
“Jewish students were repeatedly harassed, heckled and threatened with physical threats of violence … Jewish students should never feel threatened and should NEVER fear for their safety while on campus,” posted Tikvah: Students for Israel, a pro-Israel group on campus, on Facebook.
“Despite multiple threats of violence, the ASUC administrator and moderator refused to get involved. One BFP member stepped into a student’s face and said ‘I’m going to kick your ass,’ while another Jewish student was chased out of the room by BFP members,” continued the post. “We, as a community, decided that enough was enough and that we were not going to sit idly by as our members were threatened and harassed, so we walked out.”
“Yesterday wasn’t just a harassment of Palestinian students. Every marginalized group on this campus was threatened, and ASUC chose to adjourn the meeting before each of those threats was accounted for,” posted Bears for Palestine on Facebook. “Anxiety is running high among all the Palestinian students and allies on campus, but we know yesterday was a win for us.”
Pro-Israel groups rebuked Bears for Palestine.
“Bears for Palestine’s glorification of terrorists is morally repugnant. Even worse was the display of hatred and anti-Semitism directed at the Jewish students who introduced a resolution to condemn this targeted discrimination,” CAMERA’s Zac Schildcrout told JNS. “No one on campus would even think of openly supporting terrorists such as Dylan Roof or Brenton Tarrant, the perpetrator of the  Christchurch massacre. Why should it be any different when the victims are Israeli Jews?”
Roof was convicted of murdering nine African-Americans in 2015 at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
“We’re proud of the Jewish and pro-Israel community at Berkeley for speaking out against hate and standing up for themselves,” Carly Gammill, director of the StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism, told JNS. “The anti-Israel extremists, many of whom were community members, should be ashamed for defending the glorification of terrorist murder, attempted murder and hijacking. Incidents like this make clear that the university must do much more to fight anti-Semitism, ensure a safe environment on campus and protect free speech.”
JNS has not gotten a response from administrators at the university.
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