close Jewish students at UC Berkeley speak out on campus antisemitism Video

Jewish students at UC Berkeley speak out on campus antisemitism

Elijah Feldman, a UC Berkeley Junior and board member of Students Supporting Israel, and Sharon Knafelman, a UC Berkeley Sophmore and member of Student Supproting Israel, speak out on campus antisemitism.

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Rowdy pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted an Israeli soldier’s speaking event at UC Berkeley’s campus Monday, screaming slurs like “dirty Jews” and “pigs” at Jewish attendees. 

On Monday night, several pro-Israel groups at UC Berkeley hosted a joint event bringing former IDF soldier Ran Bar Yoshefat to campus. The event was originally scheduled at Wheeler Hall, but had a last-minute change of venue due to security concerns. 

According to Elijah Feldman, a UC Berkeley junior and Students Supporting Israel board member, pro-Palestinian protesters managed to locate the new venue before the event was slated to begin. Feldman shared, “Within five minutes or so of them getting there, they started to get really aggressive, pushing toward the doors.”

Officials said approximately 200 people disrupted the on-campus talk. 


Protesters bang on glass doors of UC Berkely building

Pro-Palestinian protesters bang on the doors of a building on UC Berkeley’s campus where a former Israeli soldier was scheduled to speak for an event hosted by Jewish student groups on Feb. 26, 2024. (Elijah Feldman)

Protesters blocked the doors of the venue, prohibiting many attendees from entering or exiting the building. Sharon Knafelman, UC Berkeley sophomore and Students Supporting Israel member, shared that only about one-third of projected attendees made it inside the venue due to the “barrage” of protesters.

Knafelman claims she asked UCPD officers to escort her and several friends into the event hall, and they refused, leaving them to enter through the group of protesters alone. She tells Fox News two of her friends were physically assaulted while entering the venue. 

“I enter the building, and I am full of anxiety. All of us feel panicked because we see the mob outside, and we understand there’s a threat to our safety.” says Knafelman.

Pro-Palestinian protesters shouted several derogatory terms at students who attended the event, including, “dirty Jews,” “Nazi” and “pigs.”


Protesters rally outside speaking event hosted by Jewish student groups at UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley officials said approximately 200 protesters disrupted the speaking event on campus, some of whom shouted slurs at Jewish students attempting to attend. (Elijah Feldman)

“This was being used in Europe against Jews centuries ago. We were called dirty pigs, even swine, and it’s being used at us again,” says Knafelman.

Shortly after Yoshefat took the stage, protesters broke several windows and were able to force their way through the doors past UCPD officers and rushed the event room. 

UCPD evacuated the speaker and students who were attending through a back exit for their protection. Knafelman says she was evacuated with the other students. 

“I think that experience in itself – that I had to be hidden, almost, as a Jewish student in a university that’s public, that I pay for, that I’m a part of, makes me feel like I’m not safe here and I’m not welcome here.”


Police confront protesters as they break through door on UC Berkeley's campus

UC Berkeley Police confront protesters who broke open doors and gained unauthorized access to a venue where a former Israeli soldier was scheduled to speak. (Sharon Knafelman)

Despite the horrific events faced by Jewish students on Monday, Feldman and Knafelman pledge that Students Supporting Israel will continue hosting events on the UC Berkeley campus and publicly supporting Israel.

Students Supporting Israel tells Fox News they have yet to receive any support or apology from UC Berkeley or UCPD for failing to ensure they could host their event safely.

Pro-Palestinian protesters disrupt Jewish student events at UC Berkeley Video

Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Benjamin Hermalin apologized for the disruption. In a statement published Tuesday, they decried the violent protest as “an attack on the fundamental values of the university.”  

“We write to you today with great sadness, concern, and dismay in the wake of an incident on our campus last night, an incident that violated not only our rules, but also some of our most fundamental values,” the officials said.

“We want to express our deep remorse and sympathy to those students and members of the public who were in the building, fearing for their safety,” they stated. 


In the statement, the officials pledged to enforce the school’s rules against violent protests and ensure violators face consequences for endangering others. 

“We deeply respect the right to protest as intrinsic to the values of a democracy and an institution of higher education. Yet, we cannot ignore protest activity that interferes with the rights of others to hear and/or express perspectives of their choosing. We cannot allow the use or threat of force to violate the First Amendment rights of a speaker, no matter how much we might disagree with their views. We cannot allow the use or threat of force to imperil members of our community and deny them the ability to feel safe and welcome on our campus. We cannot cede our values to those willing to engage in transgressive behavior.” 

Chris Pandolfo is a writer for Fox News Digital. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ChrisCPandolfo.

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