Tuesday, October 20, 2015
UC Berkeley Responds to Hate
...yesterday Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organized an ‘International Day of Action.’ The protest occurred on the steps of Sproul Plaza. Being out there for two hours was incredibly difficult to see and hear. To hear students yell their support for an Intifada was gut wrenching and emotional for me, Berkeley Hillel staff and Jewish students.
For many students, this was their first encounter with others who do not share their strong love for Israel. What did make me proud was to see so many Jewish students who love Israel out there on Sproul, containing their emotion, holding up Israeli flags and signs, and showing their love and support of Israelis and the Jewish people.
Special thanks go out to Bears For Israel and Tikvah: Students for Israel for their leadership in organizing a thoughtful and important counter message. In addition to the students’ leadership, the caring nature of Berkeley Hillel’s Jewish Agency Shlichah, Dror Stein’s leadership and love for Israel helped the student leaders along with so many Jewish students deal with the difficult event. Jewish students that walked by were appreciative of the work they did. Their leadership was a beautiful example for all of us. They conducted themselves with restraint and maturity that would make Am Yisrael proud. When confronted with difficult individuals or conversations, they respectfully engaged with them without escalating the situation. While I felt such pain and sadness when I read SJP’s signs and when I heard their chants, at the same time, I gained such strength and was full of pride to be a Jew and lover of Israel, thanks to the leadership and commitment of the students.