The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has written to Temple University President, Neil D. Theobald, condemning the vile anti-Semitic attack on a Temple University Jewish student by a member of or sympathizer with the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a group devoted to Israel’s elimination, and calling for SJP at Temple University to be investigated to determine if an immediate suspension of the group is appropriate and for the specific SJP student to be expelled.
Yesterday, Daniel Vessal, a Camera on Campus fellow and a member of the Jewish fraternity AEPi, was punched in the face by a violent an SJP member at “Templefest,” which is organized for students on campus to gain new information about campus clubs a week before the start of classes. Vessal says that he saw the SJP table on one of the university’s main walkways and went up peacefully to engage in discussion, saying, “When Hamas stops sending the rockets, that’s when there can be peace. That’s when we can start.” This one girl sitting at the end of the table was just laughing and laughing at me … As she was laughing at me, people at the table were calling me a “baby killer.” I said when she stops then maybe we could have a genuinely peaceful conversation. And then this kid [one of the four or five people at the SJP table] just rocks me in the face as hard as he can. My glasses flew off. After a two-second blur I had no clue what had happened. I couldn’t believe the kid actually hit me. When the police came over and were filing the report the kids at the table were screaming, “You Zionist pig, you racist, that’s what you get.”
Vessal’s story has been corroborated by two witnesses, Josh Josephs and Alex Winokur, who added that they heard SJPmembers call Vessal a ‘kike,’ ‘stupid Jew,’ and ‘Zionist’ while he lay on the ground. The police did not detain the assailant and campus police disagreed with the head of student activities on campus that the SJP table needed to be closed. SJP claims the assailant is not a SJP member, merely an acquaintance” of SJP.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein has written to Temple University President, saying, “Some recent developments on our campuses are simply horrifying, not least this unprovoked physical attack on a Jewish student.
“We see that Israel’s enemies are not content merely to slander her and tell the most outrageous lies about the Jewish state while apologizing for and sanitizing the unreformed, rejectionist Palestinian Arab movement, but are willing to assault Jews and use disgusting anti-Semitic language. Such groups have no place on our university campuses.
“Those who participate in such action need to be held accountable; not sent home by police, as was the case here. This is not appropriate disciplinary action; this is indulgence and appeasement of violent, lawless people.
“I respectfully call upon the University to immediately mount an investigation into SJP’s activities on campus to see if it appropriate to suspend it as a student group in light of their actions. It is also necessary to ascertain why campus police did not arrest the assailant and hold him in custody, but instead sent him home unpunished. If Mr. Vessal’s assailant is a Temple University student, whether or not a member ofSJP, he should be expelled.
“Should it emerge that the assailant is not a Temple University student, the University should use the full weight of the law to prosecute him for assault.”