Berkeley Jew Hate on Trial

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The dismissed court case involving a Jewish student attacked by a Muslim student last year at the University of California at Berkeley is still alive. Jessica Felber, 21, was injured by Husam Zakharia, leader of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), during a rally while holding a sign that said, “Israel Wants Peace.” Zakharia rammed her from behind with a shopping cart. The case was dismissed at the end of December when U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg ruled, astonishingly, that the assault was “an act of protected free speech.”

In her suit, Felber alleges that UC Berkeley did not effectively deal with the harassment and intimidation of Jewish students by the SJP and Muslim Students Association [MSA], leading to “a dangerous and threatening environment.” The groups staged mock “checkpoints” on campus, where they waved imitation weapons around and demanded of passing students, “Are you Jewish?” Jewish students were allowed to pass (although some were verbally harassed) while Muslim or Arab students were “detained.” The checkpoints were meant to mimic the Israeli Defense Force’s security measures against Palestinian terror attacks.

The suit lists other instances of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hostility at Berkeley and other California campuses. It notes that Zakharia and two other SJP activists were cited in 2008 for battery after disrupting a college rally by a campus Jewish group and assaulting a Jewish student. SJP members also heckled Mideast expert Daniel Pipes and author Nonie Darwish when the two came to speak at UC Berkeley in 2004 and 2007 respectively. The hecklers allegedly shouted “Death to Zionism,” “Zionism is racism,” and the infamous Nazi salutation “Sieg Heil” during Pipes’ presentation.

UC Berkeley administrators had been warned that growing Muslim extremism on campus was putting Jewish students at risk, and that the excessive and violent on-campus actions of the SJP and the MSA clearly constituted “hostile environment” harassment. The suit charges that the administrators were well aware of this and could have prevented the assault but did nothing, and that their duty to do so arises from the fact that the SJP and MSA are on University of California property and are subject to the Regents’ control and discipline.

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