Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Violent Antisemitic Rhetoric Causes UCLA Chancellor to Condemn Antisemitic Actions

UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block condemned antisemitic behavior from students captured on camera during a pro-Palestinian protest last week, when students were heard screaming “beat that fucking Jew” through a megaphone while bashing a piñata bearing an image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“At an event just this week on our campus, individuals exhibited extremely hateful behavior and used despicable antisemitic language, which was captured on video and shared widely, frightening many within our community,” Block said in a letter to the community on Friday. “While this may be protected speech under the First Amendment, it is nonetheless abhorrent and completely unacceptable. Campus officials are reviewing the actions at the event and anyone found to be in violation of the law or the UCLA code of conduct will be held accountable.”

The viral incident, which was reported by the New York Post on Friday, occurred during a demonstration organized by Students for Justice in Palestine, gathering to demand the U.S. end funding to Israel. The Daily Bruin reported that President Joe Biden was also pictured on one of the piñata’s protesters were beating. Students at the rally wore face masks and keffiyehs to conceal their identity while chanting familiar refrains heard at pro-Palestinian rallies across the country: “Free, free Palestine,” “Israel, Israel, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

“Periods of conflict in the Middle East have time and again been linked to a global rise in reprehensible acts of Antisemitism, Islamophobia and anti-Arab hate,” Block said in his statement. “I am extremely disheartened to say that this has proven true once again, and the UCLA campus has by no means been spared.”

He continued, “Today, I joined University of California President Michael V. Drake and the UC chancellors in issuing a forceful condemnation of incidents of bigotry, intolerance and intimidation that have taken place on UC campuses — including UCLA — over the past several weeks. We must be crystal clear: discrimination, threats, violence and hate have absolutely no place in a university community dedicated to open-mindedness, respect and mutual understanding.”

Both Block and Drake will be sharing further UC-wide initiatives designed to “strengthen community and reaffirm our values in this period of intense strife.”

The protest Wednesday is the latest in a long line of what UC administrative leaders described as “alarming, profoundly disappointing acts of bigotry, intolerance, and intimidation we have seen on our campuses over these past several weeks.”

In addition to Block’s letter, Drake and the 10 University of California chancellors sent a unified message the same day.

Meanwhile, the university’s Undergraduate Students Association Council’s Cultural Affairs Commission complained last week that a 35-year-old white woman stormed their office on campus to accuse staff of being “terrorists” and “nazis.” 

“Zionists who do not attend this school are being allowed entry into UCLA to freely harass students. It speaks volumes of the level of unsafety that our students are facing,” the organization wrote in an Instagram post. “Various attacks like these have been happening on campus for weeks and UCLA has not done a sufficient job to intervene or even condemn harm against students who support Palestine.”

Source: https://lamag.com/news/ucla-condemns-pro-palestinian-student-protesters-antisemitic-behavior