Politics

Jewish students feel ‘unsafe’ after UC Berkeley Gaza protest – NBC Bay Area

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Some students at UC Berkeley are saying they’re fearing for their safety after an event organized by Jewish student groups was shut down by pro-Palestinian demonstrators Monday. 

Now, local leaders in the Jewish community are calling on the university to do more when it comes to keeping Jewish students safe on campus.

One of the organizers said it was a culmination of the antisemitism she’s seen on campus since the Oct. 7 attacks, and she also believes it’s creating a culture of intimidation towards Jewish students.

“What they claim to be a ‘peaceful protest,’ was them banging on the window so hard to the point that they shattered the glass,” said student Sharon Knafleman.

She described the chaotic scene Monday night on campus with hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators, breaking windows at Zellerbach Hall where a private event organized by Jewish students groups was set to take place.

Knafleman claims demonstrators became violent towards attendees, trying to go inside.

“I get in, but behind me a girl is grabbed by the neck and shoved by the crowd,” said Knafelman. 

The person speaking at the event was a former Israeli soldier, but due to safety concerns, the university cancelled the event with campus police even escorting attendees through an underground exit to safety.

“Is this 1938-39 Germany? Nazi Germany? Where I have to hide because my safety is at risk?” said Knafelman. 

The university is strongly condemning the incident. A portion of the statement by the university’s chancellor said, “We share your anger and concern and we understand that we must do all that we can to prevent anything like this from happening again.”

But Tyler Gregory with the Jewish Community Relations Council feels the university must provide a tangible plan to make Jewish students feel safe.

“I don’t know what sophomore or junior in high school is looking at what’s happening at Cal if they’re Jewish, and wants to apply to UC Berkeley,” said Gregory.

Despite Monday’s incident, Knafleman said Jewish student groups will continue to make sure their voices are heard.

“We’re not going to be scared, we’re going to continue being openly and proudly pro-Israel,” she said. 

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