Jewish Student Brings Civil Rights Action Against University Of California Over Alleged Attack

Forwarded to the OCITF:
The New English Review
Saturday, 5 March 2011
Thank you to Doris Wise Montrose for alerting us to this story. Ms. Jessica Felber, a courageous 20-year old Jewish student at University of California – Berkeley, is to be commended for bringing a civil rights action against the university administration and the University of California system Board of Regents and Chancellor for a physical attack on March 5, 2010 by a Muslim student and leader of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Husam Zakaria. One of her counsel is the famed Neal Sher, who was in charge of the Nazi-hunting Office of Special Investigation at the US Department of Justice.

Here is what Israel National News reported last March:“Anti-Israel Activist Attacks Jewish Girl on Campus,” during the campus exchange between Zionist proponents of “Israel Peace and Diversity Week”  versus Muslim and leftist students “Israel Apartheid Week.”

University of California at Berkeley was again the site of a clash involving pro-Israel and anti-Israel activists last Friday when Husam Zakharia, leader of the Students for Justice in Palestine, assaulted Jessica Felber of the pro-Israel Tikvah group with a shopping cart.

[. . .]

Zakharia intentionally slammed her from behind with a shopping cart with toys donated for the welfare of Arab children in the hamas-controlled Gaza region.

Felber told Israel National News that she immediately placing her attacker under citizens’ arrest. Police arrested him later that day and Felber expressed hope that the District Attorney will see the case through and file charges against Zakaria.

The news release from Attorney Sher’s New York office notes the recent charges brought by the Orange County, California, District attorney against 11 Muslim students from U.C. Riverside and U.C. Irvine for their disruption of the speech by Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren at U.C. Irvine in February, 2010. See our post about that legal action, here. For background on the disruption at the Amb. Oren event and consistent and unrestrained intimidation by Muslim students at UC Irvine, see our NER interview with Zionist activist, Dee Sterling.

Here are the facts from the news release on the legal action;

A first of its kind federal civil rights case has been filed in United States District Court in Oakland, California, against the University of California at Berkeley, the Regents of the University of California and their ranking officials, by a Jewish student who had been assaulted on campus last year by a leader of a Muslim student organization during a pro-Israel event.

On March 5, 2010, Jessica  Felber, a twenty year old Jewish student at Berkeley, was attacked and injured on campus because of her Jewish ancestry and religious affiliation. At the time she was holding a sign stating “Israel wants Peace.” Her assailant, Husam Zakharia, also a UC Berkeley student, was the leader of Students for Justice in Palestine (“SJP”) at Berkeley.

Defendants were fully aware that Zakharia, the  SJP and similar student groups  had been involved in other incidents on campus to incite violence against and intimidate Jewish and other students. Nevertheless, in clear dereliction of their legal responsibilities, Defendants took no reasonable steps to protect Ms. Felber and others.

The Complaint  further describes how the SJP conspires and coordinates with the Muslim Student Association (“MSA”), which has a publicly documented history of affiliation with and support of organizations deemed “terror organizations” by the United States Department of State. That they have resorted to intimidation and harassment is evidenced most recently by the fact that the  District Attorney of Orange County, California, has indicted eleven students from these groups for inciting and disrupting a speech given by the Israeli Ambassador to the United States at the University of California, Irvine.

The Complaint charges that the assault was the result of the university having:  (1) fostered  and encouraged campus terrorist incitements by the SJP and the MSA) ; (2) turned a blind eye to the perpetrators of illegal activities; (3) failed to effectively discipline the MSA and SJP for their pro-terrorist programs, goals and conduct; despite having ample notice that such violence was foreseeable;  and (4) failed to provide adequate security to prevent the violence, harassment and intimidation which occurred on March 5, 2010.

Ignoring complaints from students about the poisonous climate on campus, defendants condoned, allowed and enabled groups such as the MSA and the SJP to threaten, harass and intimidate Jewish students and to endanger their health and safety. Their tolerance of the growing cancer of a dangerous anti-Semitic climate on its campuses, and their failure to take adequate measures to quell it, violated the rights of Ms. Felber’s and other students to enjoy a peaceful campus environment free from threats and intimidation.

As the Complaint reminds us,  the on-campus activities of the SJP and MSA against plaintiff and other students of Jewish religion and ancestry  – and the university’s failure to confront them – present a disturbing echo of the darkest period in history: the incitement, intimidation, harassment and violence carried out under the Nazi regime and those of its allies in Europe against Jewish students and scholars in the leading universities of those countries during the turbulent years leading up to and including the Holocaust.

There is a genuine fear by Ms. Felber and other students of Jewish ancestry on campuses throughout the University of California system that the tragic lessons of history have not yet been learned by these defendants. They fear that the University of California campuses are no longer places of hope and dignity, of academic and personal freedom, or of peaceful life and personal safety.

Ms. Felber is represented by Joel H. Siegal a civil rights attorney in San Francisco, and New York attorney Neal M. Sher, who for many years was the Director of the Justice Department’s Nazi prosecution office.

See also: Tensions Highlighted by Student’s Arrest from the Daily Californian.


One Response

  1. I warned UCI administration officials in the past something like this would sooner or later happen and that when it did happen — a near-certainty as far as I was concerned — I hoped the university would be taken to the cleaners given its deliberate choice for years to not confront the situation directly.

    I honestly hate it when I’m right. Thank you OCITF for keeping us up-to-date.

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