Is the American Jewish Committee finally getting it right on campus anti-Semitism?

With any luck, the AJC’s reversal may facilitate a unified  Jewish communal response to the resurgence of anti-Semitic incidents that have  been seen around the country, and especially in California, over the past  decade…”

AJC Gets It Right on Campus Anti-Semitism, At Last

David Harris Stood Behind Moves to Protect Jewish Students
By Kenneth L. Marcus

Published August 23, 2011, issue of September  02, 2011.  Jewish Daily Forward

In early August, the American Jewish Committee’s executive director, David  Harris, finally renounced his organization’s highly controversial joint  statement on campus anti-Semitism.

The initial statement, which AJC anti-Semitism expert Kenneth Stern had  published four months before, with Cary Nelson, president of the American  Association of University Professors, had generated considerable criticism  within the Jewish community. Interestingly, the AJC reversal coincided with  disturbing revelations in the University of California, Berkeley campus  anti-Semitism case.

The context for the AJC statement can be found in California. Jessica Felber  had gotten national attention earlier this year when she filed a federal lawsuit  alleging an anti-Semitic attack at the University of California’s flagship  Berkeley campus. In her federal complaint, the recent graduate detailed how a  Palestinian activist assaulted her on campus by ramming her from behind with a  loaded shopping cart. In mid-August, Felber revealed to the court that this  assault was part of an ugly pattern on that campus.  In another incident, a campus protester stopped a lecture to berate Felber for  the Hebrew lettering on her sweatshirt, yelling that she must be a “terrorist  supporter.” In a third, the head of Berkeley’s Students for Justice in Palestine  allegedly spat at her.

Felber is not alone; a second Berkeley student, Brian Maissy, has now joined  her lawsuit.  Maissy submitted a declaration describing the “terrifying” atmosphere on the Berkeley campus during “Apartheid Week,” when protesters  toting realistic-looking guns taunt passing students, demanding to know, “Are  you Jewish?”  Even more disturbing, Mel Gordon, a senior member of the Berkeley  faculty, is now supporting Felber’s lawsuit with written testimony that he had  been, “savagely beaten and spat upon” by the Students for Justice in Palestine.  Gordon described “serious injuries” that he received from blows to the  stomach. Continue reading

Dear University of California President Yudof: Thanks for nothing!

We wish to thank the author for sending a copy of the following article to the Orange County Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism:

Jewish University Presidents Who Abandon Jews 

By Stella Paul

Since we live in a craven age, let’s salute our few heroes.  Meet Jessica Felber, a 21-year-old Lioness of Judah, who’s suing the University of California for failing to protect her civil rights.

Felber is a student activist at Berkeley who simply asserts her right to stand on campus and hold a sign saying, “Israel Wants Peace,” without subsequently needing urgent medical attention.  What Jew can count on that right on a UC campus these days?

In March 2010, Felber was violently assaulted by Husam Zakharia, the leader of Students for Justice in Palestine, as she peacefully held her sign at a pro-Israel event.  UC authorities “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,” says her renowned lawyer, Neal Sher.  Nevertheless, “[d]efendants took no reasonable steps to protect Ms. Felber and others.”

Felber names UC President Mark Yudof in her lawsuit and therein lies a tale.  Continue reading

Is The University of California Revising its Policies in Wake of Berkeley Student’s Lawsuit?

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Student Affairs <studentaffairs@uci.edu>
Date: Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 7:31 PM
Subject: Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations, and Students
To: Multiple recipients of list <all-grad@nextday.oac.uci.edu>

Dear Student,

The University of California Office of the President has made two revisions to the Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations, and Students to address student conduct matters.  The new policy language reads:

Section 102.24: Conduct, where the actor means to communicate a serious expression of intent to terrorize, or acts in reckless disregard of the risk of terrorizing, one or more University students, faculty, or staff.  ‘Terrorize’ means to cause a reasonable person to fear bodily harm or death, perpetrated by the actor or those acting under his/her control. ‘Reckless disregard’ means consciously disregarding a substantial risk.  This section applies without regard to whether the conduct is motivated by race, ethnicity, personal animosity, or other reasons.  This section does not apply to conduct that constitutes the lawful defense of oneself, of another, or of property. Continue reading