Photo Credit: wikipedia
A member of Students for Justice in Palestine punched a pro-Israel student in the face at Temple University, Aug. 20, 2014.

A pro-Israel Jewish student was assaulted by a pro-‘Palestine’ student during Temple Fest at Temple University in Philadelphia yesterday, Aug. 20. Except that, according to the pro-‘Palestine’ students, the Jewish student harassed and provoked them.

Temple Fest is the event held for new Temple students to become acquainted with the school’s wide diversity of activities and organizations on campus. The myriad organizations set up tables at which literature is distributed and at which members of the organizations describe to new students why they should be interested in becoming members.

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Daniel Vessal, a new CAMERA on Campus fellow, claimed that after he attempted to speak to a group of students at the Students for Justice in Palestine table, he was verbally and then physically assaulted. He said he was punched in the face by one of the students at the SJP table, and that others seated there yelled anti-Semitic taunts such as “kike” and “Zionist pig.”

SJP STATEMENT

The SJP’s long, rambling, and at times incoherent statement described what happened as an “unfortunate incident.” It claimed that Vessal is a “former student” (he is a current student) and said that the student who struck Vessal is “not a member of Students for Justice in Palestine.”

Although it states “Temple SJP condones this act of physical violence,” it appears from the context that the SJP meant to write, at least, the opposite.

SJP took the position that Vessal was the one who was not interested in “constructive debate,” claiming he “objected to SJP’s very existence and constitutional right to free speech and assembly.” It is their contention that Vessal was harassing them, saying that the SJP “support terrorism and other racist anti-Palestinian statements.”

It also claimed that SJP relies on civil disobedience and nonviolent protest and “does not infringe on the civil rights of other people, including those who disagree with SJP’s beliefs.” There are many who would take issue with that statement, including the four pro-Israel students who were summarily ejected from a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions lecture at Brooklyn College, based on false claims by an SJP leader who lied about their being disruptive and rude.

According to Temple ’14 SJP student Samantha Pinto, who claimed to be an eyewitness, “this guy wanted to start trouble and insult us. He was calling all Palestinians terrorists and calling us stupid.”

Pinto continued: “I heard him say Israel is not occupying Palestine, but that Palestinians are occupying Gaza. I started laughing at the sheer absurdity because Palestinians are indigenous to Gaza and also unable to leave because of the inhumane siege Israel has maintained since 2007.

“I heard him say ‘You’re sitting here laughing like idiots!’ He aggressively moved closer to me as he said this. It was then that “B,” who is not an SJP member, slapped Vessal. His sunglasses fell to the ground, but he did not,” Pinto said.

Finally, the SJP statement denies vehemently that any anti-Semitic slurs were used. As support for their contention that SJP members did not use such verbal assaults, the group pointed out that SJP has collaborated with Jewish Voice for Peace (a virulently anti-Israel organization), and that there are Jewish members of SJP.

The student who allegedly “slapped” Vessal, said he was “sorry” for what he did,” and admitted he lost his temper, but claimed he did it because Vessal “kept saying ‘you’re protesting for terrorists,  your whole table is pro-terrorist information.”

Temple University officials state the matter is under investigation.

“There were upwards of several hundred people” at Temple Fest on Wednesday,” Ray Betzner, Temple’s Associate Vice President for Executive Communications told The Jewish Press on Thursday.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

70 COMMENTS

  1. Is there ever anything, at any time, that these disgusting people are honest about. It is just astonishing to me that they seem almost pathologically unable to function is society in anything resembling what the rest of us consider to be normal or civil.

  2. Is there ever anything, at any time, that these disgusting people are honest about. It is just astonishing to me that they seem almost pathologically unable to function is society in anything resembling what the rest of us consider to be normal or civil.

  3. Is there ever anything, at any time, that these disgusting people are honest about. It is just astonishing to me that they seem almost pathologically unable to function is society in anything resembling what the rest of us consider to be normal or civil.

  4. I’m a – what do you call it – Goyim? Goyum? A Methodist, actually. Anyway, I grew up in Dixie with a whole bunch of Southern Jews who ate collard greens and cornbread but never saw gefilte fish ’til they visited their cousins in NYC. (And they didn’t like it.) So growing up in the deep South, my neighbors were Jews. It was perfectly normal, we were all buddies. So today, I am greatly distressed over this global rise in antisemitism. I can’t understand it but I can see it, plain as day. I stand with you guys. Strength and best wishes to y’all, I’ll do what I can.

  5. Those pesky Jews always trying to be intelligent and rational…. Be like a Muslim man where violence is always the right way to settle disputes! So Jew boy be a man and find the punk that hit you a bring a baseball bat and crack his fing skull open… Man up!!

  6. Those pesky Jews always trying to be intelligent and rational…. Be like a Muslim man where violence is always the right way to settle disputes! So Jew boy be a man and find the punk that hit you a bring a baseball bat and crack his fing skull open… Man up!!

  7. No. That’s the thing. They are not honest about that at all. They obfuscate by claiming that they care about human rights and couching what they do on humanitarian terms. They lie constantly. If they were honest about it-as disgusting as they are-at least I would feel like they have a smidgeon of integrity-but they don’t even have that.

  8. No. That’s the thing. They are not honest about that at all. They obfuscate by claiming that they care about human rights and couching what they do on humanitarian terms. They lie constantly. If they were honest about it-as disgusting as they are-at least I would feel like they have a smidgeon of integrity-but they don’t even have that.

  9. No. That’s the thing. They are not honest about that at all. They obfuscate by claiming that they care about human rights and couching what they do on humanitarian terms. They lie constantly. If they were honest about it-as disgusting as they are-at least I would feel like they have a smidgeon of integrity-but they don’t even have that.

  10. The word is goy (singular, masc. goyim is plural, goya, s.f.) and it doesn’t have to be derogatory. I just means “nation” or “gentile” by association, and it’s like a smile when you say that word, or not. I live in TN and wouldn’t eat gefillte fish on a bet. I love greens and soup beans. And your last name sounds like there could have been a Jew in the woodpile some time in history. 😉

  11. I am appalled to be seeing this article written as such by the Jewish Press. This is completely different than the article that was published in the Jewish Exponent yesterday and this is completely a different story then an article that was also reported by the Jewish Press earlier today.
    Additionally, there are several facts left out of this article such as the security officer from Temple University simply send home the pro-Palestinian student that punched Vessal in the face. It was afterwards that the student called the police and the police got involved and are looking into investigating for criminal charges against the pro-Palestinian student. Furthermore, this article does not mention that that’s so the pro Israel student was taken to Temple University Hospital and was treated for three injuries including one injury to his skull.
    The things this article does add is suddenly all these allegations that the pro Israel student Vessal was verbally abusive to the pro Palestinian students and instigated the situation and cost such havoc to occur. In the two prior articles that were written yesterday and the one that was written earlier today the pro Palestinian students and their bystander friends had clearly come out and said what the pro-Palestinian students had done including bystanders saying they were laughing at him when he was on the ground they were calling him a pig and treating him with such disrespect. I find it funny that this article know where mentions that the story has suddenly turned around once the police got involved. This article to me has a pro-Palestinian stance which I find rather offensive and in opposition to the two prior articles. Nowhere does it mention that before before the story was totally different and all sides were agreement with what happened and that the pro
    Palestinian students admitted to causing the problems.

  12. A Rabbi is killed, no problem, a Jew is punched, no problem, A synagogue is defaced, no problem, but when this is a Muslim Imam, a Muslim person or a Mosque-then it's suddenly a racist, human rights issue!!!

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