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December 23, 2015 5:58 pm

UCLA Student Whose BDS-Defeat ‘Meltdown’ Went Viral ‘Deeply Regrets’ Actions; Says Israel Is Great (INTERVIEW)

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UCLA student Danielle Dimacali. Photo: Courtesy.

UCLA student Danielle Dimacali. Photo: Courtesy.

A University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) student whose angry outburst following the defeat of an anti-Israel vote went viral on the Internet has had a chance to educate herself better, she told The Algemeiner this week, after requesting an opportunity to express her change of heart.

“I don’t believe Israel is evil,” Danielle Dimacali said. “In fact I think it’s a great progressive country that offers a lot of freedom for its citizens.”

Dimacali, originally from the Philippines, was seeking to set the record straight about an incident that occurred in February 2014 during a meeting of the student council, where she still serves as a minutes-taker.

Dimacali attracted media attention at the time for weeping and cursing when a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) motion, initiated by the activist group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), was rejected. A video of the proceedings and Dimacali’s subsequent “meltdown” was shared on social media and reported in this publication.

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Dimacali said she was shocked by the angry response her disappointment generated, which was reflected in comments circulating on the web, and in hate mail and even death threats she received.

Dimacali said her intentions were “misconstrued.”

“I was depicted as an antisemite upset that divestment didn’t pass,” she said. “But that’s not the case at all. I deeply regret my poor choice of curse words. And I now understand that Jewish communities misinterpreted my intentions and felt attacked. I never intended to hurt anyone.”

Dimacali explained that she had known very little about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the BDS movement or SJP, and that the real reason for her tears was the “apathy” of the student council to the proceedings.

“Regardless of how the vote turned out, I would have been upset,” she said.

“It wasn’t the defeat of SJP that bothered me so much,” she said. “It was the entire 12-hour meeting and how inefficiently and poorly it was executed. The student council was elected and has a responsibility to listen to the students. However, throughout the meeting I often found myself the only person on that table listening.”

She continued:

I’m not an elected official; I’m just a minutes-taker. However, as a human being I was upset that there were 800 people in the auditorium telling us stories on both sides [of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] — about how their families feel unsafe and how they feel unsafe on campus. It broke my heart hearing about these narratives and students making themselves so vulnerable and sharing so much. But the rest of the council members were unmoved. Some were on their phones; others were on their laptops.

Meanwhile, I listened to and typed every word. I could tell the students were exasperated at the lack of empathy on the part of the students they elected to the council.

I felt like I was the only who cared. I deeply, deeply regret how my meltdown got taken out of context. I never once said anything about Israel or Palestine in my rant.

Asked whether she had been influenced or pressured by SJP prior to the vote, or if the atmosphere on campus made it feel safer to espouse anti-Israel positions, Dimacali pleaded ignorance, not ideology.

“Although I have no ties to either Israel or Palestine, and I previously was completely unaware of the conflict, I know it’s my duty to educate myself on global issues and empathize with students,” she said. “Prior to the meeting, both Students for Justice in Palestine and Bruins for Israel (BFI) gave PowerPoint presentations depicting their viewpoints. Both arguments were convincing. No group has ever pressured me to feel a certain way, but I have had the privilege to hear their narratives. It’s honestly amazing how impassioned students can get and I’m humbled to be surrounded by such diversity. Even after everything went down and my meltdown video went viral, BFI and SJP both reached out to me and showed their support. Both groups understood my intentions and they were both extremely helpful in dealing with the aftermath.”

Dimacali said she has been studying the conflict “since becoming so entangled in it.” One step she took was to reach out to leading pro-Israel writers, among them FrontPage Magazine managing editor Jamie Glazov and blogger Elder of Ziyon — who himself publicized and analyzed her episode. Glazov, she said, went out of his way to help, going as far as to send her copies of his books. And Elder of Ziyon corresponded with her by email.

These gestures, Dimacali said, “gave me hope that forgiveness and mercy are real” — and assisted me “on this giant learning curve I have been on.”

One of the things she said she has learned about is antisemitism – “a negative perception of Jews that can be manifested physically or verbally toward Jewish individuals, property, religious facilities or their respective communities. Furthermore, I understand that antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel. Criticism of Israel, demonizing Israel, blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions, applying double standards towards Israel, or delegitimizing Israel are all forms of Jew-hatred. It is not only illegal but immoral to target a historically oppressed Jewish minority that has a collective right to self-determination and essential human rights.”

In conclusion, Dimacali said she “likes to see the silver lining in it all. It was overwhelming getting painted as this evil person who was infected with hate, but it was even more overwhelming receiving the amount of support and empathy others had with me because they knew my intentions were pure. I still think empathy is an amazing thing and the highest form of intelligence, and everyone needs a little more to change the world and get closer to peace.”

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  • Winston Wolf

    Sounds like the zios got to her and “helped” her change her mind. Nothing new there.

    • jeremias josephson

      How an underdeveloped american or philipino or arab dare critisize Israel or the jews which are the must intelligent and developped people in this stupid world.

    • Denny Michan

      I wish we could “help” you too. But a bigot is usually impaired, so we won’t be able to do nothing in your case. I’m sorry.

  • Lanny Greenberg

    Her name should be “Danielle Democrati.” That would explain it all.

  • The definition of anti-Semitism is shown in quotes (second-to-last paragraph), and gives the impression of attribution to Ms. Dimacali. I suspect Algemeiner knows they are implying that Ms. Dimacali gave the definition. It should be made clear whether the quoted definition came from Dimacali directly, or from Algemeiner. Otherwise, it’s a dishonest association, and amateurish journalism.

  • Robert Davis

    This girl is sincere,brave and intelligent : her first reaction was passion with no real information,based on the lies she heard; Then she made the effort to get more information and thought over it. She is a person of quality. Unfortunately few Young people are, they only think of getting fun and repeat crap such as stupid parrots.

  • Ryan Bellerose

    The problem in a nutshell, well meaning idiots with no knowledge of the facts. we watched her meltdown because the bds holes lost, kudos for her educating herself, but maybe she should have done that BEFORE the vote?

  • HiHo

    This is great news, and a wonderful example of why you have to be patient and help people understand.

  • glenda urmacher

    It is amazing that such an idiot is going to UCLA, where my husband & I are lifetime alumni s..
    She is there thanks to our tax dollars.
    If I had a choice at this late stage, I would send our affiliations elsewhere.

  • ric

    in Philippines the large Island of Mindinao has moslem terrorist cutting the heads of Christians for over a generation ;if this person is not aware of this she is unbelieveable to me or perhaps too sympathetic to moslem terrorist .

  • Jay Kabat

    The problem on campuses is that we are sending the most naive generation from high school to college, They have not been taught history and rarely read a newspaper. They only get the myopic view of the world on TV where talking heads spew twisted corporate spins on events.We have gone beyond “1984” in terms of indoctrinating the young, instead of teaching and opening minds to think. I fear the future for these truly lost sheep.

    • Robert Davis

      Jay : you’re right we are not in a democracy any longer but çone of so little energy that any totalitarian newspaper editor can heap up huge lies, truth inversions, totally stupid and fake narratives unhindered by leftwing or enemy governments such as that of sootface nitwit who turned the WH into plo head office and keep doing this for years. A weak democracy is no democracy.

      • Dr. Howard P. Kenig

        Dear Mr. Robert Davis:
        I, for one, view your use of the phrase, “sootface nitwit” as outrageous, offensive, and utterly unworthy of the moral standards to be expected of any member of the American Jewish Community.
        Precisely how is your brand of racial bigotry any better, or any more acceptable, or any more deserved than, for instance, the blatant anti-Semitism of the campus BDS movement which the young woman in the story grew to reject?
        Moreover, the asinine and idiotic nature of your claim that we are no longer living in a democracy will be evident, I think, even to you when you pause to reflect upon the fact that you have been able to hurl this crude slur at The President of The United States in a public forum, and yet no Secret Service agent will come knocking at your door, no government official will threaten you because of it, and no Post Office will feature your photograph on one of its interior walls. If your, no doubt, boundless intellectual curiosity inclines you to find out what life is really like in a non-democracy, I suggest you book a trip to Iran, or Saudi Arabia, or North Korea, or Cuba, or any one of a number of Central American banana republics and indulge yourself in the equivalent form of behavior there. See what happens. Incidentally, this educational experiment will be far less expensive than you might at first think, since you will be able to save considerable money by purchasing only a one-way ticket.
        Best of luck.
        —Howard

  • Gnomercy9

    “Israel Hater Meltdown” had been my ringtone ever since.

  • Ted Crawford

    Ultimate Empathy is the gift possessed by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jew or Gentile, He knows us so much better than we know ourselves.

  • Dr. Howard P. Kenig

    At long last, a truly happy and uplifting story emerges from this terrible situation. The fact that its locus of occurrence is a university campus, an institution of Western Culture to whose Enlightenment ideals I have devoted most of my adult life, makes it, for me, even better. I hope that the members of the Jewish Community of UCLA find it in their hearts to embrace this young woman, and treat her with love and respect. Let the world see that, unlike the despicable academic apologists for Islamist backwardness and terrorism, American Jews try every day to honor the promise which was explicitly made to us by George Washington in his famous letter to the members of The Truro Synagogue. Come to think of it, a little project of research into this historical episode might,in the light of recent events, be a worthwhile component of the undergraduate education of every student at UCLA.
    While I do not think that any competent rabbi would be inclined to classify me as a truly observant Jew, I must say that this development causes me to suspect that The Rabbenu Shel Olam occasionally sees fit to inject just enough joy into His creation as to provide incentive for an attitude of (qualified) hope and optimism for the future of humanity.

    • Franklin Delano Paskutnik

      Dr.Kenig you surely meant “Touro” synagogue and not “Truro”.Truro is a town in Cornwall near the south coast of England.Kind regards.

      • Dr. Howard P. Kenig

        The well-informed comment which you offer on my comments is absolutely right. I acknowledge your correction, and thank you for it.
        Rather than rely on (obviously) faulty memory at 12:00 at night, I should have taken my own advice and engaged in a little research.
        Moreover, you have just possibly saved me from having to shoulder the moral responsibility for having set the members of a shul somewhere in Cornwall to nebbing around in their geniza in a fruitless search for a letter from George Washington.
        Happy New Year, and All The Best.

  • steven L

    Ignorance is BLISS and can be fatal.

  • Leon Sturman

    One should educate themselves on a issue BEFORE taking a position that they know nothing about not AFTER.

    I’m glad that Danielle reviewed the information regarding her comments and came to a educated conclusion.

    • Robert Davis

      The medias’ editors are CROOKS who lie systematically on Israel to get leftwing governments’ subsidies, probalby arab’ funds and goodies and other advantages. This fake informations have a brainwashing effet on stupid people in particular some younf and stupid people. Of course the worse crooks are leftwing governments who are both stupid and dishonest. Stupid because this does not bring any advantage to their States and probably not much to themselves personnally. Of course Israel’s “leaders” incapable of defending their State with a proper PR is a factor too.

  • George Jones

    I find it facinating that this person has an inability to accept responsibility for her actions. She keeps refering to how she was misunderstood as well as trying other means of deflecting criticism. I’m sure she was reared believing that she could do no wrong and should never ever say she is sorry as she is entitled to her views which we must recoginize as being correct. Probably from kindergarten on she has never had a grade less than pass, never played a sport that had a winner and a loser and was never reprimanded for behaviour that was unacceptable. What has all that gotten us the answer is clear HER!

  • brenrod

    the reason there was apathy, which she still has no learned, is that an elected student council has no business dealing with such political issues whereby special interest groups hijack the purpose of the council. She also has not learned the tactics of the BDS movement which is to hijack unrelated venues where folks are ignorant and uninterested. She still has a lot to learn.

    • Karen

      Exactly!

  • Carol

    Oh smooth one….. It sounds as though she was deservedly shamed and had to own up to it. What an idiot.

    • Robert Davis

      Do you call honesty and courage an…idiocy? She is a person of quality you may not be able to understand that.

  • S, Spider

    what is wrong with this picture ???

    1. she was smart enough to be a UCLA student …. her place at UCLA should have been given to student who is in fact obviously an idiot given her quote below >>

    “I previously was completely unaware of the conflict…”

    2. why is she allowed to remain a student at one of America’s finest institutions of higher learning ?? >> antisemitism is a world-wide known problem, even in the Philippines, so clearly if Dimacali ‘didn’t know’ about antisemitism, she clearly should not be in the United States, much less at UCLA >>

    3. although I personally feel that hate crimes are “crimes”, why is Dimacali getting off so easily >> is UCLA to timid to unload her and send her back to whence she came ??

    4. I say just this … “DEPORT HER ASAP”

    • S, Spider

      this site keeps dropping off >>

      please edit to word exactly my feeling about this >>

      • S, Spider

        I’LL TRY THIS AGAIN …. my statement below should read …” her place at UCLA should have been given to a deserving student instead of to her as she clearly an idiot …”

        her place at UCLA should have been given to student who is in fact obviously an idiot given her quote below >>

        PLEASE EDIT FOR ME

        • Dror Harari

          Come on guys, give her a break, or as written in Proverbs 28:13

          Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
          but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

          מודה ועוזב ירוחם

          Kids going to college, even if smart, are naive. Especially when the media pounds them with distorted facts and plain noise (commercials, reality, etc.) She did go out and learn – great for her. Let’s hope many other will follow her.

    • Robert Davis

      Spider : you are a poor idiot :what’s wrong for not knowing something? do you know…chinese? no? so you must be deported! The medias work HARD to hide the truth so it is not surprising she did not know.

  • Mark A

    Sounds like after-the-fact damage control to me.

    She’s clarifying her position nearly two years after she made the remarks in February 2014? I’m not buying it.

    I think she’s probably been turned down for a few jobs since February 2014 and/or her public meltdown has come back to bite her in other ways. So this is her way of doing some damage control.

    While I believe in forgiveness and redemption, this strikes me as damage control. She’ll need to do far more than this to redeem herself and atone for her February 2014 behaviour.

  • Sherlock Holmes

    Her original rant shows just how much anti-Israel hatred is part of campus life. Most Filipinos are Christians and should therefore know from their Bible that the Land of Israel is part of the eternal Covenant between G-d and Israel. It’s good that both sides were willing to help clear up some of the Loony Left views that circulate in many branches of U of California.We must agree to disagree within the framework of the civil society.

  • Quien sabe, Return of the Judios Klal Yisroel

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