MSU Student Viciously Assaulted, but Was It an Anti-Semitic Attack?

August 30, 2012 5:45 pm 5 comments

Zachary Tennen recovering in hospital. Photo: Bruce Tennen.

The vicious assault on Michigan State University student Zachary Tennen has been plastered across the Internets, Algemeiner and Michigan newspapers. By the victim’s account he was attacked because he was Jewish. He claims they yelled “Heil Hitler” and were skinheads.

The East Lansing Police on the other hand disagree. As they investigate the assault on Zachary the Police are treating the crime like a regular assault because apparently the witnesses didn’t hear anything anti-Semitic. These are the same witnesses it is claimed by the victim stood by as the assault happened.

The first and obvious question is, how reliable are the witnesses?

However, the police say that in fact the witnesses to the assault did help Zachary, conflicting his statements, and that they offered him cold packs to apply, and even called a taxi.

Zachary’s account, as relayed it seems by his father, has none of that happening.

Was the attack a vicious anti-Semitic incident, or just a case of a party gone awry, and a drunk teenager getting the crap beaten out him?

The East Lansing police Capt. Jeff Murphy is quoted in the Associated Press:

“This came out early as being reported as a hate crime. It now appears after we’ve talked to many people who were at this party – and most importantly two witnesses who saw the actual assault — it doesn’t appear that religion was the reason he was assaulted.”

Obviously there are many issues to hammer out.

Did the witnesses respond in the way they claim? Why did Zachary come out so forcefully about the anti-Semitism if it was not true? Why would the witnesses to the attack not go to the police, but wait for the police to come to them? Why did Zachary not call the police from the hospital immediately? Why didn’t the hospital call the police? Did he have staples in his lips and mouth or not? Could one hit have done this damage or were their multiple strikes? If the attackers came from off-campus, who invited them to the party? Wouldn’t it be easy to ascertain if the attackers were skinheads or not via the so-called witnesses?

I have more questions but we will leave it at that.

5 Comments

  • Fred,
    You are right that the initial reports by the victim’s father indicated that they yelled “Heil Hitler.” As I said, the details of this case are everywhere and it was not my intention to rehash the entire story, rather it was to offer a series of questions which need to be considered and addressed. Thank you for your contact.

  • F – FEDERAL
    B – BUREAU OF
    I – INEPTITUDE, INDIFFERENCE

    THEY MARCH TO THE DRUMMER IN CHIEF, JEW-HATER IN CHIEF.

  • The first article stated the attackers asked if Zachary Tennen is Jewish, to which he said yes, then came the Heil Hitler calls. This article claims there is no hate crime here because the attackers did not say Heil Hitler, but fails to address the initial contact which was to confirm the student is Jewish prior to, and therefore the basis for the attack. This is not only poor reporting but the police and university appear to be masking the key element of the story which is Zachary Tennen being asked to identify himself as Jewish for the basis of the attack. A cover-up of a Jew being attacked for being a Jew is a hate crime too. The FBI needs to investigate the story.

  • For the local police, in full denial, even the L.A. Airport massacre at the El Al counter was not an act of antisemitism…
    Is it possible, may be, that when you are a “closet” antisemite – but you say that you are not since…you have a Jewish doctor – only Germans with brown shirts can be antisemites?

  • From what I’ve read so far it seems that both the university and the police are more concerned about the university’s image than the injury to the victim.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Residents of the Los Angeles Jewish Home give dating advice to a young Jewish man in a comedic video posted Monday on YouTube just in time for Valentine’s Day. Jonathan, an associate at the Jewish home, quizzes the senior citizens on an array of topics including having sex on the first date, kissing a girl, who should pay for dinner and whether online dating is a good idea. When the 28-year-old asks a male resident named Lee about his experiences [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Anyone who spent time in the Jewish Catskills hotels – especially those like me, who returned for decades – must see the new documentary,”Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort.” Not only will the film transport you back to the glory days of your youth and thousands of memories, but it will also make you long for a world that is now lost forever. I returned to Kutsher’s one last time in the summer of 2009, but by then, the [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Jewish Identity Lifestyle Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    JNS.org – Amid the numerous studies and analyses regarding Jewish American life, a simple fact remains: part-time Jewish education is the most popular vehicle for Jewish education in North America. Whenever and wherever parents choose Jewish education for their children, we have a communal responsibility to devote the necessary time and resources to deliver dynamic, effective learning experiences. The only way we can do this is by creating space for conversations and knowledge-sharing around innovative new education models. That also [...]

    Read more →
  • Commentary Featured Features Jewish 100 The Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life, 2014

    The Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life, 2014

    The Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life, 2014 ACADEMIA Alain Finkielkraut Moshe Halbertal Deborah Lipstadt Jacob Metzer Steven Pinker Tammi Rossman-Benjamin ARTS AND CULTURE Yaacov Agam David Blatt Leonard Cohen Gal Gadot Scarlett Johansson Ryan Kavanaugh Steven Spielberg Harry Styles INNOVATION AND ACTIVISM Meira Aboulafia Adina Bar-Shalom Nitsana Darshan-Leitner Daniel Gold Anett Haskia Ephrat Levy-Lahad Gabriel Nadaf Dumisani Washington GOVERNMENT Tony Abbott José María Aznar Ron Dermer Yuli Edelstein Abdul Fatah el-Sisi Stephen Harper Goodluck Jonathan Mitch McConnell Narendra Modi [...]

    Read more →
  • Features Jewish 100 Jewish 100, 2014: Bassam Eid – Voices

    Jewish 100, 2014: Bassam Eid – Voices

    Bassam Eid Palestinian human rights activist While Palestinians who demonize Israel as the sole reason for their woes receive no shortage of media invitations, those among them who spotlight their own leaders’ iniquities are far less in demand. Even so, the profile of Bassam Eid, the Director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, is thankfully continuing to grow. Eid’s latest campaign is for the overhaul of UNRWA, the UN refugee agency dedicated solely to the Palestinians, which he says [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.