newsSchools & Higher Education

Anti-Israel groups say they sparked recent fires at UC Berkeley

The public university confirmed the two “small arson” fires and said that the incidents were being investigated.

Entrance sign to the University of California, Berkeley. Credit: Gary Yim/Shutterstock.
Entrance sign to the University of California, Berkeley. Credit: Gary Yim/Shutterstock.

Anonymous anti-Israel groups claimed responsibility for arson attacks on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, in recent days.

In a post to the “Palestine” forum of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay) website, a group calling itself Marilyn’s Daughters said that it set a construction site on fire on Sunday afternoon.

“Phase two of the Escalate movement heats up at UC Berkeley with a construction site set on fire in broad daylight,” the group wrote. “This was done in retaliation for UCPD’s violent assaults on vulnerable student demonstrators and to punish the University of KKKalifornia system for supporting the genocidal Zionist-Israel entity.” (UCPD is the University of California Police Department, and the latter spelling of the university system was an apparent reference to the Ku Klux Klan.)

“This was an autonomous initiative in concert with the current Week of Action currently underway: operation campus flood,” which runs from June 14 to June 19.

“Campus flood” is an apparent reference to “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood,” which is what Hamas called its massacre of 1,200 people in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

The arson attack was timed to coincide with Father’s Day, according to Marilyn’s Daughters, in part, “for all the Palestinian fathers who have lost their children at the hands of the Zionist and AmeriKKKan settler states.”

It signed off: “Glory to the martyrs.”

Another anti-Israel group called Student Intifada posted to the Indybay Palestine forum on Thursday that it “unloaded a firebomb on the side of a campus building,” claiming that it was in response to University of California, Los Angeles students, who were attacked on Wednesday night. The Student Intifada post identified one anti-Israel student that it said was attacked.

‘Hold accountable those who commit these acts’

Dan Mogulof, assistant vice chancellor of communications and public affairs at UC Berkeley, told The Daily Caller there were two “small arson” fires on campus and no damage or injuries in either incident. 

“These incidents are now under investigation by the State Fire Marshal and UCPD is supporting that investigation,” Mogulof told The Daily Caller.

Jewish Community Relations Council Bay Area commented on Thursday’s firebombing.

“The so-called ‘student intifada’ is far from peaceful; these actions are criminal and unacceptable. Intimidation and violence will not ‘free Palestine’ or accomplish BDS efforts,” the JCRC said. (BDS refers to the movement to boycott Israel.)

“It is imperative that our leaders take immediate and decisive action to hold accountable those who commit these acts,” it added.

Earlier this month, a Berkeley police car was set on fire “in solidarity with our Palestinian siblings assaulted by the Zionist state in Rafah,” the J. The Jewish News of Northern California reported.

Berkeley and other California campuses have been a hotbed of anti-Israel activism and unrest since the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, with multiple incidents reported.

The Anti-Defamation League reported in March that there had been a 2,000% increase in antisemitic incidents at California campuses since Oct. 7, compared to the same period the previous year.

Some 200 people protested violently outside an event with a former Israel Defense Forces soldier at Berkeley in February, forcing Jewish students at the event to evacuate.

Anti-Israel students banged on doors and windows—breaking a glass door—and chanted “intifada, intifada” and accused the speaker, Ran Bar-Yoshafat, of committing genocide.

Bar-Yoshafat, who fought in Gaza with a special forces unit, told The Daily Wire that he was guilty until proven innocent to the protesters. 

“I don’t think this is about the IDF, Jews or even Israel,” he said. “This is them lacking Western values like freedom of speech.”

The event “Israel at War: Combat the Lies” had to be canceled.

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