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May 20, 2016 12:57 pm

Student Group Calls for End to Intimidation, Harassment of Jewish, Zionist Students Following Violent Anti-Israel Protest at UC Irvine (VIDEO)

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Hillel International CEO Eric Fingerhut called to end the harassment  and intimidation of Jewish and pro-Israel students on college campuses. Photo: Hillel International.

Hillel International CEO Eric Fingerhut called to end the harassment and intimidation of Jewish and pro-Israel students on college campuses. Photo: Hillel International.

Jewish and pro-Israel students across college campuses cannot be allowed “to be intimidated or harassed when they exercise their rights to assemble for student programming,” the head of the world’s largest Jewish student organization told The Algemeiner on Friday.

Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of Hillel International, made his comments in response to a violent anti-Israel protest at University of California, Irvine (UCI) on Wednesday evening against a UCI Hillel co-sponsored screening of “Beneath the Helmet,” a film that follows the lives of soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The pro-Israel event, held by UCI’s chapter of Students Supporting Israel (SSI), was aggressively protested by the local chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Student Union (MSU). The event was part of Israel Peace Week at UCI, following this month’s earlier “anti-Zionism week.”

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In a video capturing the protest, anti-Israel students can be heard shouting “long live the intifada,” “f*** the police” and “displacing people since ‘48/ there’s nothing here to celebrate!”

According to statements by UCI’s SSI on Facebook, protesters also shouted, “All white people need to die” and chased a female student into an adjacent building. They “were aggressive, blocking exits and not allowing people to leave, as well as forcing people to run and hide in their rooms, fearing for their lives.”

Fingerhut condemned the “actions of the nearly 40 individuals who aggressively confronted and threatened a group of 10 UCI students who were attending a pro-Israel event on campus.” He told The Algemeiner that protesters “physically intimidated at least one Jewish student who was attempting to enter the building where the program was held.”

According to Fingerhut, Hillel officials were forced to call university police after it was “no longer possible to maintain a safe environment for the Jewish students in attendance.” In some instances, police had to escort students safely away from the event.

“While the protest was allowed to continue, the university took steps to protect the Jewish students. Hillel is working with the university administration to ensure the safety of Jewish students and the entire campus community. The safety of students is our top priority,” he said.

In response to the protest, UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman wrote in a campus-wide email:

While this university will protect freedom of speech, that right is not absolute…threats, harassment, incitement and defamatory speech are not protected. We must shelter everyone’s right to speak freely – without fear or intimidation – and allow events to proceed without disruption and potential danger.

Gillman said the protest “crossed the line of civility” and that the UCI administration will be “investigating whether disciplinary or legal actions are appropriate.”

Hillel’s Fingerhut applauded UCI’s response to the violence, telling The Algemeiner, “We support the efforts of UCI leadership to investigate and resolve this incident in an appropriate and timely fashion and to hold students who threatened Jewish students accountable for their actions. We encourage the administration to ensure that campus codes of conduct provide for a civil atmosphere and tolerant environment for all students.”

Following the protest, UCI’s SJP issued their own statement on Facebook, accusing Israel and the IDF of a host of crimes and gloating over their activities to block free speech on campus. 

“Today we successfully demonstrated against the presence of IDF soldiers on campus,” the group said. “We condemn the Israeli ‘Defense’ Forces, better defined as Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), because they enforce Zionist settler colonialism and military occupation of Palestinian land by the Israeli nation-state. Not only does the IOF commit murders and several violences against the Palestinian people, including its use of Gaza as a laboratory for weapons testing, but it enforces militarization and policing all over the world. The United States send delegations of police forces to train in Israel by the IOF, such as the LAPD and NYPD for example.”

The group continued, “The presence of IDF and police threatened our coalition of Arab, black, undocumented, trans, and the greater activist community. Thank you to all that came out and bravely spoke out against injustice. ‪#‎UCIntifada‬.”

SSI said they are “currently in talks with the university and our own legal counsels as to the consequences that these aggressors will face.”

Anti-Israel activism is not new to UCI. According to campus watchdog group the AMCHA Initiative, previous anti-Israel protests and events centered on supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement; condoning terrorism; denying Jewish self determination; delegitimizing the right of the state of Israel to exist; and the suppression of free speech and right to assemble.

In 2011, a group of Muslim students at UCI were sentenced to three years informal probation by a judge after being found guilty of conspiracy to disrupt and disrupting a 2010 campus speech by then Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren. The students, who have become infamously known as the “Irvine 11,” generated a national debate over free speech.

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  • Eliot Schickler

    And SJP act like thugs and fight dirty, thus they need a one-way ticket to Guantanamo Bay!

  • Eliot Schickler

    For them to claim pro-Israel students violate free speech is beyond the pale! They violated pro-Israel students’ free speech via bush league intimidation methods! They prevented a group they disagree with from peacefully assembling in a safe space!

  • bertha yellowfinch

    No it isn’t.

    • lineguy

      How has the election turned out for you? Ready for Trump?

  • Where is the ADL besides attacking Trump?

  • Al Talena

    2 groups with the same tyrannical tactics, the left & arabs.
    Both groups hate western values.
    Both groups hate Jews who identify as Jews.
    Both groups legitimatize disrupting events of opponents.
    Both groups see violence as a legitimate tool.

  • NadavKatz

    BDS is nothing short of a front organisation made of classic anti-Semites, “progressive” anti-Jewish racists, and 7th-century-based Islamists. The goal of this organisation is to demonise the State of Israel and the People of Israel, i.e. the Jewish people, to delegitimise both, and to seek the very demise of each. This is the face of 21st-century-model of deadly anti-Semitism. Some, sadly, as in centuries past, bow down to this form of evil.

  • It seems ridiculous that this transpired at a campus that only four weeks ago heralded and honored my former Drama Professor Robert Cohen. Clearly free thought and creativity is not extinguished by Jewish people. Signals must be mixed up here. The Jewish role in Gaza was to put an end to agression coming from Gaza through tunnels dug underground the Nation of Israel. A plot so devious and ugly was utterly uncovered and America should be singing their praises for Israel and the IDF for their witt and bravery and take note! History is being destroyed by people who yell “Black Lives Matter” when the whole nation of Nigeria is full of black Jewish and Christians. Genocide is happening in Nigeria by the Boko Haram against Black Christians and Jews. Belief in a loving God who protects His people against all odds should be celebrated not downplayed and forgotten. Shame on these protests! Thank you for reporting this incident!

  • Sherlock Holmes

    We have student disputes over the Middle East here in the UK, but California seems much worse in Israel-bashers trying to intimidate anyone who is pro-Israel. These students and loony Left teachers don’t seem to understand that ‘protected speech’ includes the right to attend a pro-Israel meetings without being abused and intinidated. Are these U of C intimidators genuine Americans or are they aliens bringing their fascist approach into America? Here in the UK such people tend to be Muslim students from less democratic societies.

  • Pearl

    This is what America has come to. Its campuses are longer a haven of learning but a frightening enclave of anti-Semitism. Because no action was taken at the first sign of this evil
    It signaled all haters if Israel that it’s ok to continue AND to escalate the violence and lies against Israel.
    When good people stand by and allow lies, deceit and physical aggression to be voiced everyone suffers. Obviously at UC Irvine there are NO GOOD PEOPLE!
    Shame on all who allowed this to happen. Who do you think they will attack after Jewish students are gone.
    UC Irvine is no longer a safe haven for any student. the lesson learned comes too late. I believe in free speech. I don’t believe in allowing escalation. Most universities across this country mistakenly allow terrorism in their environment thinking it’s free speech.
    After the Jew the rest of American students will be attacked. What will you do then.

  • nat cheiman

    Now we understand why Trump wants to ban Muslims from entering America

  • Robert Davis

    Once again I repeat the ONLY way to force these bloody arabs to reconcile with their loss of Westzrn Palestine is to TRANSFER THEM TO JORDAN ie Eastern Palestine. Once they are in jordan the king of jordan knows how to deal with them and they will bend their filthy knees which will never ber the case as long as they squat Western Palestine something the stupid leftwing stalinists will never admit. But we do not care whether they admit i or not we must do it no matter what.

  • Leslie Benjamini

    This has been going on far to long at UCI. In the early 2000’s a group of us went to hear a speaker there, there was a demonstration by SJP & Muslim students in the auditorium where each demonstrator interrupting the speech had to removed one by one by the police. After the speech finally was able to be completed we had to be escorted to our cars through an angry mob of obnoxious protestors. The speaker at the outset of his speech told the demonstrators inside the auditorium that when his speech was over ( which was his right to free speech) he would stay as long as necessary to address any questions or concerns they had, thereby giving them their right to free speech. This was NOT GOOD ENOUGH for them. They kept on disrupting the speech until they were removed. This was 12-15 years ago!
    Something has to be done. Enough is enough. Even the “Irvine 11” punishment wasn’t enough. If these groups cannot abide by the rules & decency they should be banned from campuses all across the country. They are using thr First Amendment to destroy this country.

  • I find this behavior on our students college campuses reprehensible and should be stopped immediately….These protesters are nothing more then thugs and are disruptive to all students on campus…This has gone on for too long unchecked which makes them feel they can push the limits of common decency beyond a place where someone will get hurt…they feel empowered to behave in this manner because the administration doesn’t stop their radical behavior…this needs to cease immediately…..

  • Harvey

    If there can be no safe space for Jewish students there can be no safe space for antisemitic Muslim Neo fascists and their far left friends . Jewish students must organise and have select rapid response teams to photograph and video these thugs . Implement a self appointed no Pasaran line indicating a Jewish safe zone beyond which there is no passage . If the university governors continue to turn a blind eye to the intimidation then Jewish students need to stand up to the bullies. This is no different from London pre war when Mosleys brown shirts tried to march through the Jewish quarter . They were stopped physically and these individuals need to be stopped the same way in the absence of campus control .

  • len

    This harassment will only stop when Jewish students decide it’s time to stop relying on others(officials, campus security)to secure their safety. As long as they do so they deserve what they get. It’s time to stop playing the victim to get the nation’s sympathy and time to garner the nation’s respect . I quote from a West Side Story lyric which is so true. ” Life can be bright in America”-“If you can fight in America”. Once Administrations around the country realize that Jewish Students will confront physically their opponents these incidents will not occur, they won’t allow Civil War on campus. Everybody will live happily ever after!

    • You are right. Jews in this country need to learn to fight for themselves and defend themselves. While I’m not Jewish several of my army friends are and I can tell you they would never tolerate this crap. Join the military Israel or ours. Learn to properly use a gun, then buy some for your own use to protect yourself. Remember the Warsaw Ghetto and think about what could have been done if most Jews fought like they did – they at least died as free men and women.

  • Fingerhut is a weak pathetic Jew as are all the so called Jewish leaders who want to make peace with everyone and will bare their throats so they could cut them.

    Jews better start organizing and put a stop to the violence initiated by these Jew haters.

    How come there are so many Palestinians, not my choice of words, in our colleges.

    Someone should investigate them.

  • Eve Laing

    University Administrations must act with conviction and speed to show that this behaviour is no longer acceptable on any campus in the country. I believe that college administrations and many police forces shy away from taking the right kind of action against these anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic groups because of fear of being considered anti-Islamic. So they are not abiding by their duty to care. These mobs of thugs have no fear of being reprimanded, and they are rewarded by leniency. That means they will continue to disrupt legal meetings and events put on by Jewish Students. The leniency of the courts will continue to promote illegal disruptions of the anti-Israeli and Pro-Palestinian groups. Illiterate thugs have no place on campus. They are a force for de-education, and learning how to avoid any thinking. Universities were not meant to do this, but do it anyway.

  • Mike

    Unfortunately violence and terrorism has been spread around the world by the Arabs/Muslims and especially the so called “Palestinian Arabs”. Though their grievances and complaints are due to being brainwashed in the erroneous and misleading propaganda of Islam, Arab Muslims and anti-semites they feel it gives them the right to murder, attack and destroy Israel and Jews whenever they wish and wherever they may be. This has always been true in the middle east and now even in America. This violence is now being adopted against other countries, nationalities and religions. It is also becoming more brutal as with ISIS chopping off heads, committing genocide, flying planes into the ground or sea and suicide bombing civilian venues to maim and murder as large a number as possible. It even occurs to a large extent among the various sects of Islam. With the current immigration spread around the world this culture of intolerance and violence is being brought to other countries with high numbers of immigrants. Where prejudice and bigotry against others is openly and proudly taught as righteous and appropriate, and governments pays families who have their children do suicide bombing and name streets to honor them it seems difficult for many to leave that back in the middle east. Often their religious leaders and community even continues to teach it wherever the immigrate to. Their intolerance however is tolerated here sometime due to existent prejudices here and probable fear of their violence. A very strong stance against this cultural and religious bigotry, prejudice and violence will be necessary to prevent it from spreading or becoming an acceptable mode of responding to grievances or ones own prejudices.

    • The main forces spreading Muslim terrorism isn’t the so-called Palestinians but the Muslim Brother that has become part of the Democratic Party and Saudi Wahhabism spread by the Saudi state – who own the Clintons and the Bush family.

  • nelson marans

    Very little can be expected from a weak-kneed college administration in California with bias in favor of groups trying to destroy Israel Jewish students should avoid state colleges in California until the hierarchy of these schools end the physical violence against supporters of Israel by expelling these thugs who support the Palestinian Authority, barring free speech by dedicated supporters of Israel.

  • Andrew

    Why didn’t the police make arrests at the time of the incidents? They are following what the administration told them to do!

  • Leonard Feinman

    There is always a Right to protest anything. People are encouraged to dispute what is deemed wrong. We must always resist what is wrong. Peaceful protest is a way to demonstrate opposition that is acceptable on campus. When that protest becomes a confrontation, it is another matter that must be resolved.
    Civil disobedience is still illegal. You don’t have to be violent to block a street, but it is not legal to do so. A police action is called for, and protesters should be removed. A step further, and you have intimidation which is both illegal and criminal. School officials have to do more than just protecting vulnerable students. They have an obligation to arrest, and that is their duty to do so.
    Furtherance of such criminal activity, on the part of a recognized student political group, should be punished. That organization must lose their charter. Their activity on campus must be severely limited to peaceful protest.

  • The self-styled “protesters” should be dismissed from the university and, if foreign exchange students, deported from the U.S. They clearly were not exercising free speech rights, but were instead acting violently to disrupt the free speech rights of others. There is a big difference between speech and physical hostile actions!

  • Larry Kuznicks

    Frankly, to hell with them.

  • Jack Holan

    Firstly to assign the term demonstration by the Anti-Israel & Anti-Semitic elements present. UCI is not treating this matter seriously and Hillel Inc just wants it to go away without students being harmed. I agree with the latter part of the sentence. JVP and BDS is terrorist funded. The actions taken against the Jewish students and any others during this event can be summed up as: as conspiracy to deny Our People their Civil Rights of Lawful Assembly, movement, ability to view an event freely without disturbance, passage without physical harm, passage without the threat of physical harm. Conspiracy existed because this was not a spontaneous act but planned before event and the perps knew exactly what they would do before hand. You have video captures of the aggressors so it should be easy to pick out the students. The non-students won’t be so easy to ID and I’d be willing to bet there were more than a few. If this was an African American Group having an event and the ‘demonstrators’ were 40 Right Wing Students do you want to say the lack of action would be the same? There would be the possibility of Jesse Jackson getting involved, the DOJ from a legal investigation with Press Coverage but these are only Jews and the ADL today is more interested in hate speech against Muslims

  • Lia

    Congratulations, Chancellor!!! Wonderful to see an honest, straightforward person respond.

  • Francis Figliola

    Jewish students, professors, and donors should vote with their feet. If I were a Jew, NO WAY I would permit my child to attend this fascist training camp!

  • SteveHC

    The “Irvine 11” generated far less of a “national debate over free speech” than some people seem to think; most people simply thought they should have been arrested and expelled, period. At any rate, the offending students at UCI should at the very least be arrested and suspended for at least one full semester if not permanently expelled from the school. University administrators need to be in and exert full control of their campuses.

  • harri

    with $20 million minimum from jihad countries as well as large chunks of change in tuition going to UCLA, unlikely that any consequence will be visited upon these terrorists

  • Richard Sandler

    Security cameras should be set up everywhere on Campus to help weed out those who intimidate others. Freedom is not absolute for anyone. “Your freedom ends where mine begins.” Serious jail time should be given to those found guilty of disruption, whether violent or just plain threatening.

  • NuritG

    Hillel International is one huge Achilles heel for Jews on campus. Hillel International is a confused organization with Leftist principles that make no sense and it obfuscate Judaism and has skewed opinion about Israel. Hillel International is putting more fuel to the anti-Semitism fire on campuses.

  • Reform School

    Cowardfornia replaced priority Number 1 Safety Of Students decades ago with with Political Correctness, which stinks more like Number 2.

    Leftist professors’ 50 year campaign to replace FREEDOM with LICENSE is being tested. The prognosis isn’t good.

  • lindy500

    It is long past time for Jewish students to sue these hate groups for bullying & harassment.

    Plus the school should also be held responsible..these hate groups use our freedoms and should be held accountable.

  • Boot them from campus and bar them from studentship or any credit at U of C, if they are student visas send them back to their countries of origin

    Boot them from campus and bar them from studentship or any credit at U of C, if they are student visas send them back to their countries of origin

    Who is paying for these muslim cowards to protest and organize

  • Ted U.

    This type of “protesting” is clearly a form of intimidation and cannot continue. Why is it that the Pro-Israel side is always peaceful while the other side almost always is not?
    Why do the people that tun the Universities across the world allow this horrible behavior to continue or even exist?

  • brenrod

    the continuing repeated allowance of anti semitism and intimidation of jews by the U of C requires a massive suit against the university. The administration is responsible for facilitating the attacks on jews.

  • brenrod

    the mulims students should be expelled or the jews should be given guns to protect themselves.

  • Yaakov

    In the future, they should have police stationed there to provide security and maintain order. The perpetrators are emboldened when they sense complacency or weakness.

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