Jewish Groups Call Upon UC Irvine “To Respond Promptly, and At The Highest Levels of the University…When Intolerant and/or Discriminatory Acts Occur”

Letter to UC Irvine Chancellor Gillman Regarding Implementation of the Regents Statement

May 25, 2016

Dear Chancellor Gillman,

We are 36 Jewish and civil rights organizations representing hundreds of thousands of supporters who are deeply concerned about the long-standing and pervasive problem of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism that has incited hatred of Jews and acts of aggression and violence against Jewish and pro-Israel students on your campus.

As you know, in March the UC Regents unanimously approved a Statement Against Intolerance, which acknowledges that anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism are no less discriminatory than racism, homophobia or sexism, and “have no place at the University of California.”

Recent events on your campus demonstrate the critical importance of promptly and comprehensively implementing the Regents statement at UC Irvine.

Last Wednesday evening, UCI Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) carried out a pre-meditated and violent disruption of an event hosted by Jewish and pro-Israel student groups.  According to eyewitness accounts and video footage, an angry mob of more than 40 members of SJP and other affiliated organizations attempted to forcibly enter the room where 10 students were watching a documentary film about the Israeli Defense Forces. Understandably terrified and fearing for their safety, Jewish and pro-Israel students who were at the film screening held the door shut to prevent aggressive protesters from entering the room, whereupon protesters pounded on the room’s door and windows and, for about an hour, screamed slogans that demonized and delegitimized Israel and called for and condoned terrorism against Jews, such as “Fuck Israel!”, “Intifada, Intifada, long live the Intifada!” and “When people are occupied, resistance is justified.”  Event attendees were effectively held hostage for more than 45 minutes after their event had ended, until they could be safely escorted from the room by police. Continue reading

Are Hillel/ Jewish Federation and Family Services/ Rose Project Confused About Last Weeks Anti-Israel Event at UC Irvine?

(Note: Italicised portions are our emphasis)

Hillel and Jewish Federation and Family Services/ Rose Project Statement May 19, 2016:

Rose Project of JFFS and Hillel OC

Last night, the Students Supporting Israel (SSI) chapter at UC Irvine held a screening of “Beneath the Helmet” with the support of Hillel. The event was protested by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and other students, who made aggressive and threatening remarks to participants and physically intimidated and threatened one student attempting to enter the event.

Hillel and JFFS Rose Project professionals who were present worked immediately to ensure Jewish students were able to continue participating in the event safely. When that was no longer possible, they contacted university police and Student Life officials. While the protest was allowed to continue, the university took steps to ensure the SSI students’ safety.

Hillel and Rose Project continue to work with the university administration to investigate the incident. We encourage the administration to hold accountable the protestors who threatened our students. We continue our work to ensure that Jewish and pro-Israel students are able to engage in programming in a safe environment.

Our students are not intimidated. Today’s Artists for Israel event on the main thoroughfare is going forward as scheduled, with Hillel adding further protections to ensure student safety. We are also providing support for students who need to talk about Wednesday’s incident.

We appreciate your continued support, as Hillel and Rose Project work to ensure students are free to express their support for Israel on campus, and all students are protected against threats and intimidation.


Hillel and Jewish Federation and Family Services/ Rose Project Statement May 20, 2016:

Rose Project of JFFS and Hillel OC

Clarifying Misstatements About Anti-Israel Incident at UCI

There are several critical inaccuracies in the Campus Reform account of what happened at UC Irvine on the evening of Wednesday, May 18 when a group of protestors demonstrated outside an event sponsored by the student organization Students Supporting Israel (SSI).

The Students Supporting Israel event was not, as the Campus Reform article implies, shut down. According to eyewitnesses, including local Hillel professionals, the Jewish students were not in any way forced to retreat. When the police arrived, they ensured the SSI program could continue. One officer remained in the classroom with the students until the film was over and they concluded their program. 

The protestors were allowed to remain outside of the building.

When the SSI students were ready to leave, the officers moved the protestors to an area sufficiently distant from the exit, so that neither group was visible to one another. The police then escorted the SSI students to their cars and an Assistant Vice Chancellor stayed to assist the students.

Hillel is working with the university police and administration to ensure this incident is appropriately resolved.


 Jewish Federation and Family Services latest Statement :

Connections - the e-newsletter of Jewish Federatin & Family Services

The following is an update of developments surrounding the incident last week in which a pro-Israel event sponsored by the UC Irvine student organization, Students Supporting Israel (SSI), with support from Hillel, was targeted by anti-Israel protestors on the UCI campus.

First, we thank the community for the outpouring of support for our students — those who attended the screening of “Beneath the Helmet,” and others involved with the pro-Israel community, as well as the Hillel staff who were at the screening last Wednesday evening. Our students and pro-Israel campus organizations are strong and will not be intimidated. This was demonstrated by a wonderful celebration of Israel held by SSI, with Hillel, on the campus main thoroughfare less than 24 hours after the film screening incident. We are proud to thank our partners — Artists for Israel, StandWithUs, and Hasbara Fellowships — and the hundreds of students who turned out to make this a joyous and successful event.

The university has launched two parallel investigations, one by the UCI Police Department and the other by the Department of Student Affairs. These investigations are meant to uncover any criminal activity and violations of campus codes and policies, and to determine whether disciplinary or legal actions are appropriate.

UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman issued a strongly-worded statement the day after the incident, stating the university’s belief that the line of civility was crossed. The Chancellor affirmed that the university will protect free speech, and that threats, harassment, incitement and defamatory speech are not protected.

We thank the university administration and the UCI Police Department for the seriousness, speed and sensitivity with which they are treating this matter, and for seeing to the mental health and security needs of our students. It should be noted that UCI police officers and administrators from the Department of Student Affairs arrived on the scene quickly, and campus officials were in the room with students and staff continuously until the students concluded their event. These officials comforted frightened students and advised them of their right to continue with the event until its completion. Hillel and the Rose Project staff are working closely with the university administration and police to support their investigations and to ensure that Jewish and pro-Israel students are able to engage in programming in a safe environment. Staff is also in regular communication with the targeted students, and will continue to see to their needs.

Hillel Foundation of Orange County, which operates Hillel at UCI, along with the Rose Project of Jewish Federation & Family Services, condemn in the strongest terms the verbal and physical harassment and intimidation of Jewish students, and the assault on their First Amendment right to assemble by the UCI chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace and their supporters. We state clearly and unequivocally that we support the right of all students to exercise their First Amendment rights, but no student or student organization has the right to  infringe on the rights of others or to instill feelings of insecurity, anxiety or fear.  The attempt that night by an aggressive, screaming mob to force its way into a room of Jewish students, and the pursuit of a Jewish student that forced her to hide in the dark in terror, are unconscionable acts that have no place on a university campus or in American society. The perpetrators of this incident maintain the justness of their actions because they claim that the target of their protest was Israel and the Israel Defense Force (IDF). Make no mistake: with no Israeli officials or IDF officers in the room that night, their actions targeted Jewish and pro-Israel students for no other reason than their connection to Israel and their desire to learn more about the Jewish State.

Those who wish to express their support for the students who attended the event are welcome to post to this Facebook page.

We will continue to keep you apprised of further developments.


UC Irvine Student: “I Was Terrified. There Is No Other Word to Describe How I Felt”

At UC Irvine, Jews believe wrong students were escorted out of anti-Israel mob

By Paul Miller/

Posted on May 23, 2016 and filed under Israel, News, U.S..

The night of May 18 was supposed to be an evening of learning and conversation for Eliana Kopley. The University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine) sophomore, who had just attended a lecture about the Holocaust and was walking a short distance to another campus building that was hosting a film screening about Israeli soldiers, found herself confronted by an angry mob.

“I was terrified. There is no other word to describe how I felt,” Kopley told the Haym Salomon Center.”

Kopley had intended to join 10 classmates and guests of the private event hosted by Students Supporting Israel. When she arrived, approximately 50 anti-Israel activists convened by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) were pounding on the doors and windows, and shouting violent chants targeting Israel, Jews, and the police.

As the mob tried to gain entrance to the event, one protestor yelled, “If we’re not allowed in, you’re not allowed in!”

With the angry mob physically barricading the entrance, the 20-year-old Kopley, who stands less than five feet tall, was forced to leave the scene amid taunts of “intifada, intifada—long live the intifada! F**k Israel and f**k the police.”

But Kopley was not alone. A group of female students accompanied her as she escaped to safety in a nearby building.

“When I turned back, at that moment, I looked at one of the girls and wanted to hide and cry,” Kopley said.

While the UC Irvine sophomore was hiding in darkness, the scene inside the movie screening was equally frightening.

Veteran Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier Eran Izak moved to the United States three years ago. The recently married construction worker was on hand May 18 to answer questions from the audience about his life in the IDF and the film “Beneath the Helmet.” What he experienced was something he never thought he’d see in America.

“As the film was playing we began hearing a lot of shouting outside,” said Izak. “It was immediately clear what was happening. The woman in charge of the event was literally holding the door closed with her hands as the mob tried to break into the classroom. As the shouting grew louder, it became apparent that we would not be allowed to leave, so we called campus security and the police.”

Meanwhile, the film was still playing even though nobody was paying attention by that point, as a sense of fear gripped the room.

“They were banging on the glass and the door and we could hear screaming outside,” Izak said. “The students had a look of panic on their faces—they were terrified. Finally the police arrived, pushed the protesters back a little, and escorted us to our cars.” Continue reading

UCI Israel Group President: “The Attendees Were Mostly Women and Some Felt Intimated (SIC) and Trapped Inside The Room.”

Hat Tip: Gary Fouse

Anti-Israel protesters disrupt Israeli movie screening at UC Irvine


OC Register

May 19, 2016  Updated May 20, 2016 11:54 a.m.

Amid chants of “Long live the intifada,” anti-Israel student protesters disrupted the viewing of a film about Israeli soldiers at UC Irvine on Wednesday night, leading campus police to escort Jewish students away from the scene.

UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman responded Thursday with a campus-wide message saying the incident “crossed the line of civility.”

“While this university will protect freedom of speech, that right is not absolute … threats, harassment, incitement and defamatory speech are not protected. We must shelter everyone’s right to speak freely – without fear or intimidation – and allow events to proceed without disruption and potential danger,” Gillman wrote in the letter.

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

About a dozen students from UCI’s Students Supporting Israel met Wednesday night inside a classroom of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway to view the Israeli film, “Beneath the Helmet.”

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 intimated and trapped inside the room. Continue reading

Just when you you thought it was safe for your Jewish Student at UC Irvine

Muslim students shut down pro-Israel event at UCI

Peter Fricke

Peter FrickeInvestigative Reporter
Campus Reform
Today at 5:33 PM EDT
  • The protesters reportedly consisted of members of the Muslim Student Union and Students for Justice in Palestine.
  • UPDATE: UCI released a statement responding to the incident, saying it is investigating “whether disciplinary or legal action is appropriate.”

An event held by a Jewish student group at the University of California, Irvine was disrupted Wednesday night by a crowd of Muslim students chanting anti-Semitic and anti-police slogans.

Ariana Rowlands, president of the College Republicans club at UCI, told Campus Reform that her group had just wrapped up its weekly meeting Wednesday night, and were gathered outside the building preparing to hang posters advertising an upcoming appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos when they heard a commotion nearby.

[RELATED: Milo quotes spark ‘homophobia’ scare at UC Irvine]

Wandering over to investigate, the CR members encountered a large group of students—Rowlands estimated there were perhaps 50 in total—holding signs and screaming in unison to protest a movie screening being held by Students Supporting Israel (SSI).

Shawn Steel, a Republican National Committee member who was on campus to address the CR meeting, posted a video on Facebook depicting a portion of the demonstration.

“Intifada, Intifada/long live the Intifada,” the protesters shout at the start of the video, following that up with a call-and-response chant of “displacing people since ‘48/there’s nothing here to celebrate!”

For video click Continue reading

Students Speak Out About Anti-Semitism on University of California Campuses

Does the UC System Have an Anti-Semitism Problem?

The Times of Israel Blogs,  September 25 2015


It was her first week back at the University of California, San Diego, and Sara Ahdoot had already become the target of an anti-Semitic attack.

A psychology senior at UCSD, Ahdoot had planned to celebrate the start of her last year of undergraduate studies with a bang: by going out to a club. However, what was supposed to be a fun night out soon became a nightmare that many Jewish college students hope to never encounter. Shortly after arriving, Ahdoot noticed a familiar face — a male member of the pro-Palestinian group at her school, Students for Justice in Palestine. He noticed her too.

“I have felt uncomfortable around this student for the past two years and he saw me at a night club,” she recounted. “And after he saw me, he confronted me with nothing but hate and would not leave me alone.”

Throughout the night, Ahdoot was harassed about her Persian origins, yelled at and flipped off.

“They followed me, and called me by my first and last name. They were yelling that I was a ‘racist Zionist cow.’ I have never felt so unsafe in my life.”

Fearing that the attack would turn violent, she fled the club on the verge of tears. For her whole college career, Ahdoot was proud of her Judaism and her love for Israel — the Jewish state. She wore her Star of David necklace everywhere she went, letting the world know that she wasn’t ashamed of her identity, or her homeland.

And yet, the night after Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, she experienced attacks from a fellow UCSD student that saw her identity and homeland as patently unacceptable. Ahdoot said, “I didn’t know anyone would actually come in my face or put me in danger until tonight. This problem is way more serious than I had imagined.”

The University of California’s Anti-Semitism Problem

Long-time examiners of anti-Semitism within the University of California system know that Ahdoot’s story is nothing new. Over the past academic year, Jewish students across the UC system have experienced an unsettling rise in anti-Semitic attacks on their identity. Just as the racism once manifested within Jim Crow laws has evolved and choked the basic equal protections enshrined in our criminal justice system, so too has anti-Semitism transformed and seeped its way through the bedrock of these universities. It has evolved to become as a new political anti-Semitism — the result of an overwhelming tide of anti-Israel activism on campuses that overstep reasonable criticism of Israel’s domestic policies into demonizing perceptions of Israel and those who call it home.

Yael Steinberg, an alumni of UC Davis is no stranger to this demonizing rhetoric when she encountered anti-Israel sentiment on campuses across the UC’s overstepping into anti-Semitism. “I have seen discussions of [boycotts against Israel] turn nasty — from describing Jews as ‘privileged’ and ‘rich,’ to calling Jews ‘baby killers’ and told to wipe the blood off their boots. It’s terrible. Jews on campus face this intolerance the most when in conjunction with discussions about Israel, which often crosses the line from debate into hate speech.” Continue reading

Frontpage Magazine Editors: “the JFOC has much to answer for”

The Attack on Frontpage from the Jewish Federation of Orange County

May 15, 2015 by   42 Comments

Unable to withstand criticism from their shameful attacks on Jewish students and pro-Israel activists exposed by Frontpage, the Jewish Federation of Orange County (JFOC) has taken to the media to slander our publication. These calumnies must not go unanswered.

On May 4th, Frontpage made public serious reports of misbehavior on the part of the JFOC at a student-run pro-Israel event held at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). One of the most notable revelations of the piece was a report that JFOC representative Lisa Armony was witnessed attempting to move pro-Israel activists waving Israeli flags away from anti-Israel protesters who ambushed the event.

Writing on behalf of the JFOC in the Jerusalem Post,,  Armony’s primary complaint was that Frontpage’s coverage was based on “unsubstantiated” information from “unnamed sources.”

In fact, the information directly related to Lisa Armony and the JFOC in this incident was based on anamed eyewitness’ account of Armony’s activity. Gary Fouse, a lecturer at UCI and credible witness, confidently affirmed to Frontpage what he saw. We subsequently reported this eyewitness account, taking the utmost care with the accuracy of its presentation. As such, accusations that Frontpage’s coverage of this incident was flawed are simply false. Continue reading