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Judea Pearl: Jewish university students fear for their safety

CNN quotes father of slain reporter as saying anti-Semitic email, verbal threats at California universities escalated since IDF offensive in Gaza. Simon Wiesenthal Center: Administrators not doing enough to protect students

Judea Pearl, father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, said Jewish students and faculty at California universities fear for their safety on campus because of threats aimed at them over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


CNN quoted Pearl as saying that anti-Semitic email and verbal threats have escalated since the IDF's military offensive in Gaza in January.


Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by al-Qaeda extremists in Karachi, Pakistan in 2002.


"I received hate messages (after a recent panel on "Human Rights and Gaza") from someone at UCLA who did not identify himself and said, 'I saw you in Ackerman Union and I know where your office is and I'm going to beat the (expletive) out of you,'" Pearl, who teaches computer science on UCLA's Westwood campus, told reporters. "I handed it to the campus police, and they did not do anything."


However, in an email to Ynet Pearl stressed that his remark about receiving a hate message "was blown out of proportion." He explained that "In response to a question by a CNN reporter whether I, personally, ever felt threatened, I recalled a hateful email message that I received from someone at UCLA, which I passed on to campus police, who could not trace the sender.


"I should have made it clear (but was pressed in time,) that the message in question was received six years ago, on May 15, 2002, much before the recent hostilities in Gaza."


According to CNN, Pearl and officials at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, are "concerned that administrators on college campuses across the country are not doing enough to advance freedom of expression while protecting Jewish students and faculty members from acts of intimidation on campuses."


"The verbal abuse is there, the intimidation is there, the feeling of helplessness is there, not only among students but among faculty," said Pearl.


In his email to Ynet, Pearl wished to clarify that: "I did not say that 'anti-Semitism is on rise on college campuses' as the article states. Throughout my writings and speaking in the past five years, I have consistently and meticulously refrained from using the term "anti-Semitism" in reference to the Middle East conflict and campus tensions.


"At the press conference on Friday I repeatedly stated that it is not anti-Semitism that we should be addressing but another, more dangerous epidemic, one called anti-Zionism - or Zionophobia."


'He never felt more disrespected'

The CNN report said Wiesenthal Center officials cited another incident three weeks ago at San Jose State University where Israeli Consul General Akiva Tor was verbally abused and forcibly driven from the stage during a guest-speaking engagement aimed at fostering understanding of Jewish culture.


Tor had to be escorted out of the room by security officers and campus police before the event ended, according to Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Wiesenthal Center.


Michelle Salinsky, president of Spartans for Israel, the group which co-sponsored the speaking event, was quoted by CNN as saying "we were extremely concerned about our safety and Mr. Tor's safety. Mr. Tor said he's never felt more disrespected. This was clearly an infringement of our expression of free speech. I think a lot of Jewish students do not feel safe on campuses because of the escalation of hate perpetrated against Jews."


Dozens of anti-Semitic incidents have been reported since Israel launched its operation in Gaza. On Friday a small explosive devise was thrown into the Jewish community center in Caracas, Venezuela. No one was hurt in the attack.


In January hate-slogans were spray-painted on a synagogue in the Venezuelan capital; authorities arrested 11 suspects, including two bodyguards of a local rabbi. 


פרסום ראשון: 03.01.09, 10:03
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