Thursday, October 2nd, 2008 at 10:35 am in Uncategorized.
One of our correspondents in the field, Elizabeth Pfeffer, comes to East Bay Outtakes with this report about tensions escalating at UC Berkeley between members of certain Jewish and Palestinian student groups.
In the last few weeks, there have been at least four incidents of hate graffiti and vandalism on the Cal campus or nearby, Gabe Weiner, a former Cal student and campus coordinator for Israel Peace Initiative, told our reporter.
Weiner said swastikas and Jewish symbols were written on a poster promoting Israel-Palestine peace that was on a bus shelter next to the Eshleman Hall, the student government building. The vandalism occurred last month during a student senate meeting at which Israel was discussed, students have said.
Police have taken a report, but so far no arrests have been made in connection with defacing the poster, which was part of a campaign to humanize Israeli issues by Bluestar PR.
Just last week, an inflammatory anti-Israel statement was discovered on The Star of David Bridge on West Campus, in addition to other cases of hate graffiti and anti-Semitic drawings on bus shelter posters.
Campus police are investigating the incidents and Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau sent out a campus wide e-mail condemning the vandalism and calling it an “anti-Semitic obscenity.”
According to John Moghtader, 20, the student senator who spoke about Israel during the meeting the night the bus shelter sign was vandalized, the Israel-Palestine conflict has been dividing students at Cal since he was a freshman.
Moghtader says there is a certain pro-Palestine group on campus that he suspects is responsible for the vandalism, due to their alleged history of publicly comparing Nazis and Jews. He said that group is Students for Justice in Palestine.
“They have a pattern of tying in anti-Semitism with supposed criticism of Israeli policy,” he says.
No representatives from this group were available for comment.
According to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, comparing Nazis and Jews is hate speech.
Moghtader says he has grown ttired of Cal administrators treating anti-Semitic hate speech as an opportunity for dialogue rather than discipline.
But isn’t that always the way at Cal?