Jewish Students Call 911 as “UC Intifada” Rages

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Hearing chants of “Long live the intifada” on video shot at University of California, Irvine, means that the tumultuous and scary days of the UC Intifada are back. (Video below)

As the campus rabbi at UCI for almost five years, I become accustomed to constant anti-Israel programs, racist and anti-Semitic speakers, anti-Israel marches, protests and disruptions and an administration that turned the other way.

The atmosphere was so toxic, that in a blog post in May of 2006, I coined the phrase “UC Intifada” to describe their hateful anti-Israel, anti-Jewish campaign.

The MSA  later adopted it as their motto, made t-shirts, and it can be seen today on the Students for Justice – UCI Facebook page.

The most infamous episode — but by no means the worst — was in February 2010, when eleven Muslim students conspired to prevent Ambassador Michael Oren from speaking, and then lied about it. This embarrassed then UCI President Drake and the University, and the climate improved as the ring-leaders were now having to defend themselves on criminal misdemeanor charges. They had less time to parade hate and racism. I was asked by a prominent Muslim leader to sign a letter requesting charges be dropped. I agreed on condition the group apologize for their behavior. They showed zero remorse.

In September 2011, the group was found guilty of conspiring to disrupt,and were sentenced to community service, but  served no jail time.

Today a new, and more violent group of students seems to have taken their place under the SJP banner.

On Wednesday night at UCI, Police rushed to rush to the scene of a screening of a film about Israel called Beneath the Helmet, as Jewish students feared for their safety called 911.

According to the OC Register:

Outside, some 50 protesters gathered and began profanity-laced chants against Israel and UCI police, according to observers and video from the scene.

“They were screaming. They tried to push open the door, but we were holding the door from the inside,” said Katrin Gendova, the Israel group president, who said the attendees were mostly women and some felt intimidated and trapped inside the room.

“They had a lawyer with them who said (they had) a right to come in,” Gendova said. “They were disrupting our event. This is not freedom of speech. It’s harassment.”

The group, Students for Justice in Palestine at UCI, posted on their Facebook wall:

Today we successfully demonstrated against the presence of (Israeli) soldiers on campus. 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…

In other words, the SJP are congratulating themselves for their criminal behavior by harassing and threatening Jewish students. The group additionally clearly shows zero concern for student conduct codes, or the students organization agreements they signed to become a student group, which would clearly prohibit their behavior.

UCI President Gillman wrote, “The administration is “investigating whether disciplinary or legal actions are appropriate.”

Perhaps community service is not enough of a deterrent when hate-filled students attack Jews on campus today?

Perhaps students who clearly break conduct codes must be immediately expelled and their cases turned over to the local authorities if UCI is going to become safe for Jews?

I urge President Gillman to take immediate and concrete action — or UCI will regain it’s past reputation as most anti-Jewish campus in America.

About the Author
Rabbi Yonah Bookstein is Co-Founder of Pico Shul, a dynamic spiritual community in Los Angeles; the Alevy Family Campus Rabbi-in-Residence at University of Southern California Hillel and National Director of Shabbat Tent. He is the author of "Prayers for Israel".
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