Jewish Organizations Stand Up for Jewish Students’ Rights on Campus

A group of Jewish organizations have joined together and drafted a letter for college administrators, describing the climate of intimidation and fear on U.S. college campuses that Jewish students are experiencing as a result of the uptick in anti-Semitic incidents.

"Students for Justice in Palestine" presenting fake evicition notices to Jewish students. Photo by Christine Capozziello.

“Students for Justice in Palestine” presenting fake eviction notices to Jewish students. Photo by Christine Capozziello.

Many college presidents are too cowed to assert the university’s right to expect a certain decorum on campus. Institutions that were created to promote respectful dialogue, and the exchange of different ideas, have been highjacked by organizations determined to intimidate and shout down anyone who does not toe their philosophical line.

I am appalled when I see people who have been invited to lecture being rudely interrupted and shouted down by members of the audience. As a parent, I am not prepared to relinquish my children’s constitutional rights when they cross the college threshold. Some Jewish students have encountered threatening behavior and harassment because they are Jewish and/or pro-Israel. I am not alone.

The letter instructs college administrators how to provide Jewish students with a safe, non-hostile college experience. You can do your part to let the college presidents know how you feel and what you want them to do about rising antisemitism on our campuses: Sign the letter and send it to the president of the college of your choice.

ZOA Demands Expulsion of Temple U. Student Who Made Anti-Semitic Violent Attack On Jewish Student

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.

Alumni Circle by Pjennings424

Alumni Circle by Pjennings424

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.”