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Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Irvine Under DA Investigation for Violence at Anti-Israel Protest

avatar by Lea Speyer

UC Irvine's Students for Justice in Palestince chapter is facing possible criminal charges for its behavior during a violent anti-Israel protest in May. Photo: SJP at UC Irvine Facebook Page.

UC Irvine’s Students for Justice in Palestince chapter may face criminal charges for its behavior during a violent anti-Israel protest in May. Photo: SJP at UC Irvine Facebook Page.

An anti-Israel student group from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) responsible for a violent protest against a pro-Israel event is under investigation by the local District Attorney’s (DA) office, Campus Reform reported late last week.

According to the report, the actions by UCI’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) during the May protest are now coming under close scrutiny by the Orange County DA which is exploring whether any criminal behavior occurred.

DA spokesperson Roxi Fyad told Campus Reform that the case — which is also being independently investigated by UCI — was passed along by a third party to the DA’s office.

As reported by The Algemeiner, SJP and other anti-Israel student groups at UCI violently demonstrated against a Student’s Supporting Israel (SSI) event featuring Israel Defense Forces (IDS) veterans and the screening of a movie about Israel’s army.

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According to reports at the time, the Anti-Israel protesters at UCI blockaded attendees and shouted“Long live the intifada,” “f*** the police,” “displacing people since ‘48/ there’s nothing here to celebrate” and “all white people need to die.” One female student was harassed and chased, to the point that she was forced to flee and take refuge inside a nearby building. Police were eventually called in, but allowed the protest to continue. 

In May, SJP said it was “wholly justified” in protesting the SSI event, because “the presence of the IDF, better known as Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), and police threatened our coalition of Arab, Jewish, Black, Latinx, API, undocumented, trans, and queer students and the greater activist community. Our demonstration was held to protest the presence of military and police forces on campus, which threaten the lives of Black and Brown people every day.”

While UCI officials say they have launched an investigation into the anti-Israel protest, SSI’s founder and president, Ilan Sinelnikov, told The Algemeiner following the incident that if the university “sweeps the behavior of the demonstrators under the table,” legal action will be pursued.

UCI has been at the epicenter of several notorious antisemitic events over the last decade. In 2010, a group of anti-Israel students aggressively interrupted the speech of then-Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren to the pro-Israel community on campus. The students, who became infamously known as the “Irvine 11,” were arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to three years of informal probation, after being found guilty of conspiracy to disrupt and disrupting.

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