Ms. Jessica Felber, from UC Berkeley has brought a civil rights suit against the University of California at Berkeley, charging the University with failing to take measures to protect her against a racially motivated assault. She is represented by Joel H. Siegal a civil rights attorney in San Francisco, and New York attorney Neal M. Sher, former head of the Justice Department’s Nazi prosecution unit from 1983 to 1994, where he oversaw the deportation of dozens of Nazi war criminals.
The federal civil rights case has been filed in United States District Court in Oakland, California, against the University of California at Berkeley, the Regents of the University of California and their ranking officials.
On March 5, 2010, Jessica Felber, a twenty year old Jewish student and pro-Israel activist at Berkeley, was attacked and injured on campus because of her Jewish ancestry and religious affiliation. Her assailant, Husam Zakharia, also a UC Berkeley student, was associated with Students for Justice in Palestine (“SJP”) at Berkeley. Here's Husam in action, trampling on an Israeli flag in Sproul Plaza.
Incidentally, Husam Zakharia is now employed by the Arab Resource Organizing Center (AROC) as Legal and Outreach Coordinator.
The suit alleges that the defendants 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. Nevertheless, in clear dereliction of their legal responsibilities, Defendants took no reasonable steps to protect Ms. Felber and others.
Incidents such as the disruption of Israeli Ambassador Micheal Oren at UC Irvine, and Jessica Felber's assault are indicative of an alarming new trend on college campuses.
The warnings have been there. In 2006, the US Commission on Civil Rights found that “many college campuses thought the US continue to experience incidents of anti-Semitism.” Gary Tobin in his 2005 book “Uncivil University: Politics and Propaganda in American Education,” concluded that “anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism are systemic in higher education and can be found on campuses all over the United States.” Across the country too many Jewish and pro-Israel students are patronized, mocked, intimidated and sometimes physically attacked, while anti-Israel professors poison the minds of America’s future leaders. Yet Jewish leaders have by and large not responded effectively.
Its a shame it had to come to this.