Shocking attacks at U.C. Berkeley exposes depths of antisemitism on campus, student says

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Attacks against University of California, Berkeley, students wearing Israeli flags aren’t being investigated as hate crimes, said a graduate student who claimed the students were assaulted because of their Jewish identities.

“Jewish students were intimidated and they were aggressively approached and their personal property was attempted to be taken and they were verbally harassed because of an item they were carrying to convey and express their Jewish identity,”  Hannah Schlacter, a Berkeley MBA student, told Fox News. “Right now, the university and [the University of California Police Department], they’ve not declared those hate crimes.”

“More importantly, though, they’re not even investigating those crimes as hate crimes,” she continued. “This is about the fact that when there are issues and incidents affecting Jewish students on campus, I am not seeing the university enforce the policies in place.”

Image of pro-palestinian protester split with the U.C. berkeley law school sign

A lawsuit filed by the Jewish Americans for Fairness in Education and the pro-Israel Brandeis Center accuses U.C. Berkeley, Berkeley Law and the University of California president for longstanding antisemitism on campus. (L: Fox News Digital/ R: Getty Images)

ANTISEMITISM EXPOSED

In two incidents, assailants aggressively tried to take Israeli flags from students, shoving and cursing at them in the process, videos reviewed by Fox News show. In one, a crowd gathered around a student draped in an Israeli flag who was struck in the head with a metal water bottle.

The videos are part of a lawsuit filed last week by the Brandeis Center — a pro-Israel nonprofit — and Jewish Americans for Fairness in Education against the University of California Board of Regents, the university president and other school officials for “longstanding, unchecked spread of anti-Semitism” on campus.

“Following the October 7 Hamas attacks, [the university] has erupted in on-campus displays of hatred, harassment, and physical violence against Jews,” the lawsuit states. The Jewish groups argue that courts must intervene to protect the civil rights of Jewish students and faculty and end “anti-Semitic discrimination and harassment.” 

UC BERKELEY STUDENT DETAILS ANTISEMITISM ON CAMPUS SINCE OCT. 7: 

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The student struck with the water bottle was Jewish, according to the suit, and the video shows he was hit by a protester wearing a black and white keffiyeh, a traditional Palestinian headdress.

“To date the police department has received a single report of alleged violence, the one involving the water bottle,” Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof told Fox News in a statement. “The university is taking this very seriously, and the student has been offered support.” 

Schlacter claims the university violated its policy by not investigating the water bottle attack as a hate crime. But Mogulof denied allegations of mishandling harassment claims.

“If evidence gathered during the police department’s ongoing investigation indicates it was a hate crime, that is how it will be charged,” Mogulof told Fox News. “We reject completely any claim that reports of harassment or discrimination filed by Jewish students are treated differently than others.”

Students tour the Univeristy of California, Berkeley campus

Both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrations have taken place on the U.C. Berkeley campus since the Oct. 7 attacks. Many demonstrations have been met with counter-protests.   (REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo)

The University of California Police Department did not return a request for comment.

Another video, however, shows two protesters grabbing a student’s Israel flag, accosting him as they try to take it. One assailant was wearing a shirt with “DESTROY WHITE SUPREMACY” written on the front and cursed at onlookers.

The lawsuit detailed additional incidents, such as pro-Palestinian activists disrupting a Jewish student group’s prayer service and another event where pro-Palestinian advocates blocked the main entrance to the school.

As a public university, Berkeley doesn’t have the legal authority to stop demonstrations or expressions that others would consider offensive, Mogulof said.

PRO-ISRAEL ADVOCATES DESCRIBE WITNESSING ANTISEMITISM SINCE OCT. 7: ‘DON’T REALLY FEEL SAFE’

There has also been ongoing vandalism featuring antisemitic messages, Schlacter told Fox News. 

“We’ve had two Jewish students physically assaulted on campus when expressing their Jewish identity via holding an Israeli flag to convey their national origin,” Schlacter said. She accused the university of violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color and national origin.

“We are seeing on U.C. campuses violence and a failure to respond to the violence,” Schlacter added.

U.C. Berkeley is already facing an ongoing U.S. Department of Education investigation over alleged Title VI violations. The probe was launched in December 2022 after Jewish students complained that nine student organizations’ pledge not to invite pro-Israel speakers to campus created a “hostile environment,” Jewish Insider reported.

Additionally, she and the lawsuit argued that the Berkeley Law School broke university policy since it hasn’t stopped some student groups from excluding members based on their beliefs in Zionism. 

GROUPS FEAR FACULTY THAT DEFENDED HAMAS COULD SET CALIFORNIA STANDARDS: ‘INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF ANTISEMITISM’

Protesters hold a Free Palestine banner at a UC Berkeley fotball game

Protesters hold a “FREE PALESTINE” banner after the U.C. Berkeley football team beat Standford University.  (David Madison/Getty Images)

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In November, University of California President Michael V. Drake, M.D. announced a number of system-wide initiatives that “focus on student support and campus safety to improve the climate on campus in light of recent events in Israel and Gaza,” University of California spokesperson Ryan King told Fox News in a statement.

Other college campuses have faced similar scrutiny over antisemitism on campus. Since Oct. 7, the Department of Education, for example, has opened Title VI discrimination investigations into Harvard, Columbia and Cornell universities, as well as the University of Pennsylvania.

To watch the full interview with Schlacter about antisemitism at Berkeley, click here.

Ramiro Vargas contributed to the accompanying video. Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.



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