Anti-Zionist Protesters Violently Disrupt an SSI at UCLA Event.
This video is a two minute snippet of the disruption that lasted over 12 minutes and continued in the hall outside the event after protesters were escorted out of the room by police.
Source Credit: SSI at UCLA's Facebook Page
On May 17th a Students Supporting Israel event at UCLA was violently disrupted by several protesters who verbal assaulted and intimidated participants, attempted to silence speakers, vandalized property, and threatened the safety of everyone in the hall.
Recognizing the severity of the incident and a growing problem, the following week, UCLA Vice Chancellors Jerry Kang and Monroe Gorden published an op-ed in the Daily Bruin, condemning the disruption and committing to use the lessons gleaned from the incident to “review and revise” internal processes.
Urging less talk and more action: Seizing on this opportunity, AMCHA coordinated a letter from 51 higher education and civil rights organizations to the Vice Chancellors, commending them for acknowledging and addressing the disruption, but pointing out the fundamental unfairness of existing university policy that prevents Jewish and pro-Israel students from being adequately protected from anti-Zionist harassment that repeatedly impedes their freedom of expression, as it did in this instance. The groups wrote:
"As you undertake your review, we hope that you will look carefully at the university’s anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies, especially those outlined in the DPO’s “Procedures for Handling Allegations of Discrimination, Harassment, or Retaliation" (released 10/3/17). While these policies provide essential protection from behaviors that impede expression and full participation in university life, they only fully afford such protection to students when the motivation for the harassment falls into certain categories based on race, color, creed, religion, sex, gender, etc. This categorization leaves other students - such as Jewish and pro-Israel students targeted by the type of anti-Zionist harassment on display in the recent horrific incident - relatively unprotected in the face of the exact same intolerant, harassing behaviors, and vulnerable to the effects of those same behaviors. As we are sure you can appreciate, harassment and free speech are intrinsically linked, and without full protection from harassment, free speech rights are curtailed. Students who fear they will not be adequately protected from harassing behaviors will not feel free to express their beliefs and opinions in the classroom, in the dorm, in the event hall, or in the quad. Unfortunately, this is exactly what is happening to Jewish and pro-Israel students on your campus, and will continue to happen, until these students are secure in the knowledge that they will be equally protected from the anti-Zionist harassment that routinely impedes their freedom of expression, assembly and association.
Therefore, we urge you to make a formal statement committing UCLA to applying the same stringent standard prescribed by the university’s anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies to each and every student. It is a simple step that will go a long way toward protecting free speech, encouraging a diverse range of views for students to learn from, and ensuring a campus free from harassment and discrimination."
UCLA is not the only school grappling with how to respond to anti-Zionist harassment. Please sign the Equity Pledge Petition and help us bring to the attention of university leaders across the country the critical message that all students must be equally protected from the harassment and discrimination that would deprive them of their freedom of expression and full participation in campus life. Enough is enough.