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“Temple Fest went forward today,” despite yesterday’s incident, but “with a much larger campus police presence,” Betzner said.

Betzner and his assistant, Hillel Hoffman, explained that with so many people present, they are hopeful that additional witnesses will come forward and provide credible information so that those involved in the investigation can determine exactly what happened, and what next steps need to be taken.


The school’s vice president for student affairs Theresa A. Powell has sent out two requests in less than 24 hours, urging witnesses to report what they saw. The number to call is 215.204.1234.

So far, two pro-Israel organizations have come forward and called on Temple University to take seriously what happened to Vessal, and to take decisive action if the determination is made that Vessal was assaulted because he is Jewish or because he is pro-Israel, or both.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center immediately contacted the president of Temple University, demanding that a full investigation be launched into the assault and the SJP.

“We believe this is a serious crime and needs to be investigated by the city and the university,” Aaron Hier, the director of Campus Outreach for the SWC, told the Philadelphia NBC affiliate.

The Zionist Organization of America sent out a mass email in which he called on Temple University Neil D. Theobald to immediately investigate the incident to determine whether it is appropriate to suspend the SJP as a student organization and to expel the student for the anti-Semitic attack.

ZOA president Mort Klein assailed the growing wave of anti-Israel activity by the Jewish state’s enemies, and the apologists and sanitizers of such actions as resulting in the physical assault on Vassel on Wednesday.

“Such groups have no place on our university campuses,” Klein said. “Those who participate in such action need to be held accountable; not sent home by police, as was the case here. This is not appropriate disciplinary action; this is indulgence and appeasement of violent, lawless people.

The Hillel of Greater Philadelphia expressed “outrage” at the Temple Fest incident, noting it is “concerned for the safety of Temple’s Jewish and pro-Israel students.” The local Anti-Defamation League also issued a statement.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the 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: [email protected]