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/JNS.org

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