Anti-Zionist Students at UC Berkeley Condemned for Display Showcasing Palestinian Hijacker, Bombers
An anti-Zionist student group at the University of California, Berkeley is facing criticism for displaying photos of Palestinian women who were involved in hijackings and bombing attacks.
In a social media post on Friday, Milton Zerman — a senior at UC Berkeley and senator in its student government, the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) — said Bears for Palestine “put up a shrine in their ASUC-sponsored Eshleman Hall cubicle glorifying the actions of violent Palestinian terrorists who killed innocent Jewish people (in one case two Jewish college students).”
Bears For Palestine has put up a shrine in their ASUC-sponsored Eshleman Hall cubicle glorifying the actions of violent…
Zerman’s post included a photo of the display in question, which featured images of Palestinian women including Fatima Bernawi, Rasmea Odeh and Leila Khaled — the latter wielding an AK-47 assault rifle.
Bernawi has been lionized for reportedly being the first Palestinian woman to organize an attack in Israel. She placed a bomb in a Jerusalem cinema in 1967, over objections to the film it was screening.
Odeh, in turn, was convicted in a trial overseen by an International Red Cross observer of helping murder university students Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe in a 1969 supermarket bombing in Jerusalem. She was deported from the US to Jordan in 2017 after lying on her immigration forms.
The last of the three, Khaled, gained notoriety after helping hijack two planes in Europe in 1969 and 1970. Both she and Odeh are affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a US-designated terrorist organization. The group was behind multiple suicide bombings during the Second Intifada that claimed more than 100 casualties, children among them, as well as a 2014 massacre of five worshipers and one police officer at a Jerusalem synagogue.
Zerman, along with the UC Berkeley club Tikvah: Students for Israel, condemned Bears for Palestine for including the women’s images in their display. Signs were left on the group’s cubicle, reading, “From New Jersey to Jerusalem, we demand justice for our Jewish brothers + sisters.” The message evoked the recent antisemitic shooting attack at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, which killed three civilians and a police officer.
“Your hero, Rasmea Odeh, bombed a supermarket to kill Jews,” read another sign. “What’s the difference??”
Zerman has sponsored a resolution calling on ASUC to condemn and disassociate itself from the Bears for Palestine display. “[If] Bears for Palestine refuses to significantly alter or abolish the display, the ASUC shall take further action to ensure Student Union spaces are not being used to glorify terrorism and the murder of innocent civilians,” it reads.
The resolution will be heard at the next ASUC Senate meeting, the student-run Daily Californian reported.
In a statement to the Daily, Bears for Palestine accused Zerman’s resolution of violating its freedom of expression, and called it a “dog whistle tactic.”
“Bears for Palestine added that the photographs in its cubicle are of Palestinian activists who are fighting or have fought for Palestinian self-determination, which it said is a right protected by the United Nations,” the Daily reported.
“This equating of us simply standing up for our right to exist as human beings to be a form of terrorism, or endorsing terrorism, is exceedingly racist and Islamophobic,” Bears for Palestine claimed, according to the Daily. “We have endured years of trauma; we have every right to mourn and honor the lives lost to this ongoing occupation.”
“Being Palestinian at Berkeley, or anywhere else in the world, means we all live in constant fear,” the statement continued. “We have no safe space no matter where we go.”
The Daily also quoted Cal Berkeley Democrats President Sarah Abdeshahian calling Zerman’s resolution “absolutely unfair.”
Bears for Palestine, which did not respond to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment by press time, was criticized by Tikvah last month for holding a moment of silence to commemorate Palestinians who were recently killed in an escalation between Israel and Islamic Jihad, a Gaza-based terrorist group blacklisted by the US government. Many of those who died were members of Islamic Jihad, according to both the Israeli military and Gaza health officials.
A similar memorial was held last month by anti-Zionist students in Chicago, while a display commemorating those killed was erected at Oberlin College in Ohio. In both instances, organizers failed to mention that many of the Gazan fatalities were members of Islamic Jihad.