Temple University Jewish Student Reportedly Hit In Face And Called “Kike”

Another day, another anti-Zionist-not-antisemitic incident on a US campus.

templeA Jewish student on the campus of Temple University was assaulted on Wednesday afternoon and called “kike” and “baby killer” by members of the anti-Semitic student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Daniel Vessal, a Camera on Campus fellow and a member of the Jewish fraternity AEPi, was punched in the face by a violent member of the anti-Israel organization SJP at “Templefest” which is organized for students on campus to gain new information about campus clubs a week before the start of classes. Vessal is a managing information systems major at the Fox School of Business at the university.

“I’m walking down Polett Walk, one of the main walkways through Temple University and I see the SJP table,” Vessal told TruthRevolt from a local area hospital. “I go up to them and I really just wanted to see what angle they were coming from. I went up to the table and started talking to them. I said, ‘listen, you shouldn’t be protesting Israel- if anything protest the terrorists.’”

“At that point I walked away and after a little back and forth,” Vessal explained. “I came back to the table after a little while and explained that the Palestinians have a right to a state just like anyone else but that SJP should come at the right people. I said, ‘when Hamas stops sending the rockets, that’s when there can be peace. That’s when we can start.’”

“This one girl sitting at the end of the table was just laughing and laughing at me,” he explained “As she was laughing at me, people at the table were calling me a ‘baby killer,’ I said when she stops then maybe we could have a genuinely peaceful conversation.”

“And then this kid just rocks me in the face as hard as he can. My glasses flew off. After a two-second blur I had no clue what had happened. I couldn’t believe the kid actually hit me,” said Vessal who added that he needs to obtain a new pair of glasses due to the extensive damage.

Vessal told Truth Revolt that the student who punched him was one of four or five individuals at the table.

“When the police came over and were filing the report the kids at the table were screaming ‘You Zionist pig, you racist, that’s what you get,’” Vessal explained. “If anything, I thought they would be apologetic for someone in their organization doing something like that.”

For their part, SJP at Temple University have released the following statement short story:

Thursday August 21, 2014

Wednesday, an unfortunate incident occurred during Temple Fest at Welcome Week at Temple University. A student, who is not a member of Students for Justice in Palestine, slapped a former student who was repeatedly harassing the SJP table.

Notice the immediate denial of responsibility – the perpetrator was not an SJP member despite hanging out at their table – as well as the immediate blaming of the victim, who they claim was “harassing” the table, whatever that means.

In all the years that SJP has existed at Temple, arguments have never escalated to physical confrontation.

Ah yes, the tried and tested use of the word “escalated”, as if the attack was a natural outcome of the argument’s course. This is very reminiscent of how the mainstream media uses passive language to describe Hamas violations of the “ceasefire.” The ceasefire was broken. The ceasefire did not hold.

Temple SJP condemns this act of physical violence, just as we condemn the violence that is committed against Palestinians by the state of Israel on a daily basis.

Another regular tactic from the anti-Israel crowd. Mention any condemnation of palestinian violence along with an accusation of Israeli violence, implying cause and effect.

While the student who slapped Vessal is an acquaintance of SJP members, he has not been involved with the group in the past and is not a member.

Yeah, you already said that.

It was a sunny and beautiful day at Temple University on Wednesday, when Temple Fest kicked off with student organizations advertising their fare at tables and trying to get new students to join their clubs.

“It was a dark and stormy night..”

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) had a table with four to five members manning it. SJP handed out pamphlets, stickers, candy and civilly discussed the focus of the club with prospective members and even people who challenged the members with lively debate.

Handing out candy? That is kind of creepy.

SJP’s ultimate objective was to get students interested in joining to sign up with their names and contact information, no different from the other organizations that surrounded the club.

Occasionally, a person who clearly disagrees with SJP’s goals for justice for Palestinians against Israeli occupation would approach the table, but this often ends in constructive dialogue and even results in a few people signing up for the club. This constructive exercise, however, took a dark turn when a student, Daniel Vessal (named by Ben Shapiro’s Truth Revolt’s article) confronted the table with the words, “I can’t believe this exists.” It was clear that Mr. Vessal was not interested in engaging in constructive debate with SJP or signing up to receive information about the organization. He objected to SJP’s very existence and constitutional right to free speech and assembly.

“He objected to SJP’s very existence.” See what they did there? They employed the language of our side, when we (rightly) claim the other side denies Israel’s existence.

“He didn’t try to have a conversation at all, he just walked past our table saying he couldn’t believe it exists. He then proceeded to say that we support terrorism and other racist anti-Palestinian statements,” said Rose Daraz, the President of SJP Temple.

How is that racist? Many palestinians proudly support terrorists as resistance fighters. I am glad the SJP writer of this statement seems to see terrorism as a bad thing.

The people manning the table, all of whom were women, asked him to leave, because they sensed he would only bring trouble.

Notice the deft mention of the fact the SJP members were women, which carries with it an implication they were afraid of Daniel.

Mr. Vessal, however, refused to leave and kept on returning to the table. He called SJP members who were civilly engaging with him “terrorists” and “Hamas”, even though SJP is an organization that relies on civil disobedience and nonviolent protest to fulfill its objectives. SJP firmly believes in dissent that does not infringe on the civil rights of other people, including those who disagree with SJP’s beliefs. Moreover, SJP condemns and opposes anti-Semitism in all of its insidious forms, particularly when it is thinly veiled as ‘activism’ and exploits the Palestinian cause to justify its bigotry.

“I spoke with tons of students throughout the day. Several of them pointed out to me that they were Jewish and they were not pro-Israel, and they were very civil and open-minded and we had productive conversations,” Samantha Pinto, an eyewitness and member of SJP, explained. “But this guy wanted to start trouble and insult us. He was calling all Palestinians terrorists and calling us stupid.

I’m surprised Ms Pinto has a problem with terrorists now, given she supports the release of terrorist Khader Adnan.

khader fb

When someone asked him to take a look at an article, he actually refused to look at it and mocked the Palestinian students who were trying to show it to him.” One of these students was not part of SJP, but a friend to some of the members of the club. He was standing near the table socializing when Mr. Vessal became involved in a heated exchange with him, even after continuous requests to leave. “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,” Samantha continued.

Palestinians indigenous to Gaza? I think not.

“In response, I heard him say ‘You’re sitting here laughing like idiots!’ He aggressively moved closer to me as he said this.

What does this mean? Did Daniel move with his fists raised? Or was the mere fact he was debating them and moved closer threatening?

It was then that B.*, who is not an SJP member, slapped Vessal. His sunglasses fell to the ground, but he did not.”

Oh, that’s ok then (!)

Notice how SJP began the statement with a denial of responsibility, since the violence was perpetrated by a non-member, but then proceeds to justify it essentially as an act of self-defense by someone looking out for the clearly frightened females manning the table.

Accusations leveled at SJP claim that anti-semitic slurs such as k*ke were hurled, but this is patently untrue. No anti-semitic slurs were utilized because they are antithetical to SJP’s opposition to all forms of structural racism, including anti-semitism.

But they claimed the perpetrator was not a member! How can they now claim the slur was not made because SJP is against such things Furthermore, just because an organization has so-called “principles” does not mean a member wouldn’t contravene them.

SJP Temple in particular has Jewish members and allies it cherishes and cannot risk alienating because of their sincere and invaluable support for Palestine. SJP has collaborated with Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) on numerous instances in organizing protests for Gaza among other events.

So which is it? You are against racism or just wouldn’t want to alienate your useful Jews?

No language like “baby killer” was used either as SJP and affiliates did not want the situation to escalate.

Not because it is wrong?

“Almost all of the people at the table were girls,” said Iman, an incoming freshman who was interested in joining SJP and an eyewitness to the incident. “We were so scared and startled when it happened because everything was tense and we didn’t want to get into trouble. It was only my first day here too.

A repeat of the “frightened females being protected from the aggressive Zionist” theme.

It was a slap, not a punch.

Is that like “It was a scratch, not a pick”? Either way, what it is is assault.

One of the boy’s friends even said ‘he hits like a girl’.” Iman further notes, “I didn’t even know he was Jewish, because a lot of people who aren’t Jewish support Israel.”

“I’m sorry for what I did,” confessed B., the student who slapped Mr. Vessal. “I admit that I lost my temper, because he kept saying ‘you’re protesting for terrorists, your whole table is pro-terrorist information.'”

But not because he was protecting the “frightened females” manning the table. Plus how likely is it he would merely “slap” and not “hit” Daniel if he lost his temper?

He also denies he hit Mr. Vessal because he was Jewish. “I do lab work and research at Temple and a lot of my classmates are Jewish Americans. I never had a problem with any of them.”

“Some of my best friends are Jewish..”

He also pointed out that while Vessal was yelling anti-Palestinian statements, he did not once reveal that he was Jewish. B. also says that he didn’t even know what the slur k*ke meant before reading the slanderous article.

I find that hard to believe, given he lives in the US.

Multiple eyewitnesses confirm that no one said “k*ke” or any other anti-Semitic slur.

Yet multiple witnesses attest to it.

Temple Students for Justice in Palestine is an organization that condemns all forms of bigotry, exploitation, and oppression. We condemn acts of anti-Semitism both in the U.S. and worldwide.

Yeah, you’ve said that already.

The incident that occurred today was an unnecessary and deplorable, and does not represent the principles of our organization. However, it was in no way an incident motivated by anti-Semitic sentiment.

Temple University also made a statement claiming “university officials Wednesday night reached out to leaders of the Temple Jewish and pro-Palestinian communities to discuss the incident and a best path for moving forward.” As much as this is necessary, officials have not reached out to SJP members about the incident after reports were taken on the scene. However, for the safety of our supporters and opposition, SJP will contact Temple Police with a statement explaining the incident.

*For the physical safety of the student who slapped Vessal, we are not revealing his name. The right-wing news outlets slandering SJP did not include his name, and we do not feel the need to either. Additionally, discrimination and violence against Muslims and Arabs is a very real threat.

— Temple Students for Justice in Palestine

I look forward to the facts coming out in a court of law.

Update: An original version of the statement contained this massive fail (or should that be Freudian slip?)

condone

About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder and managing editor of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks

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