Berkeley: Engineer Gets Probation for Premeditated Attempted Murder

There’s so much “anti-Zionism” floating around these days that it’s hard to keep it all straight. But the progressive city of Berkley seems to have some of the most strident anti-Zionists. They’re not just hanging out at UC Berkley. As I noted here, a Holocaust survivor recently wrote that the tone of the city was the worst it had been since she arrived there in 1957. 

Over the 65 years that I have called this beautiful area home, I have occasionally encountered antisemitism, but these one-off incidents never succeeded in destroying my spirit. When I was four years old, Nazis burst into my bedroom and sent me and my family to Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp. We were soon released and I was smuggled out of Germany by a Christian woman. After this harrowing experience, not much in the Bay Area could scare me.

But since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the hatred towards Jews that I have seen in Berkeley terrifies me more than anything I have experienced while living here. I am still reeling from being called a liar at a Berkeley City Council meeting, where I asked for a proclamation to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day and spoke about October 7. The Jews at that meeting were circled and called “Zionist pigs” by menacing protesters…

It is incredibly painful to see my neighbors vilify Jews, tear down posters of Jewish hostages in Gaza and not believe Jewish rape victims. In this hotbed, hatred and hostility have become normalized. Families have moved their children out of public schools. Jewish businesses have been vandalized and boycotted. And lies about Jews and Israel have gone unchecked and unchallenged in our public forums. Our local Jewish community is both horrified and petrified.

The city has also had an ongoing issue at public high schools. The NY Times published a story about it last week.

On Oct. 18, hundreds of Berkeley High School students, with the blessing of some of their teachers, left their classrooms in the middle of the day and gathered at a nearby park.

“Free Palestine!” they chanted. “Stop bombing Gaza!”

“From the river to the sea!”…

Some Jewish students, and their self-described Zionist parents, felt frightened by what they saw and heard, including a vulgar shout about Zionism — a claim vigorously denied by demonstrators.

The Brandeis Center and the ADL sent a joint letter to the US Dept. of Education running down what has been happening in these schools.

Reported incidents of anti-Semitism include school “walkouts” praising Hamas with students shouting “f– the Jews” and “KKK.” Teachers use class time to propagandize that the Hamas massacre was admirable “resistance.” Following their teachers’ lead, students bully their Jewish peers and deride their physical appearance.  Parents regularly report anti-Semitic incidents affecting their children to the administration, but BUSD has done nothing to address, much less curtail, the hostile environment that has plagued BUSD for over four months. At most, misguided administrators have attempted to “resolve” problems involving teachers by moving Jewish and Israeli students into new classes. As a result, anti-Semitism is normalized throughout BUSD. And teachers have responded with threats.

A lot of this seems to be coming from a couple of far-left teachers who have turned their classrooms into “anti-Zionist” training grounds where they push their views on students who don’t know enough to argue. But even that’s not “anti-Zionist” enough apparently. In Berkeley, even the Middle School kids, ages 10-14, are holding walkouts for Gaza. 

A pro-Palestinian middle school walkout by dozens of Berkeley students that involved an altercation and accusations of antisemitism has left the community reeling this week while district officials once again face pressure to balance free speech with student safety…

The Friday walkout included more than 100 students, ages 11 to 14, from the district’s three middle schools, with marches to UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza to join Gaza protesters at their pro-Palestinian encampment. The walkout was not sanctioned by the schools or district, but students had support from parents and activists who accompanied them. While walkouts and protests have been common at high schools and colleges, they’ve been rarer at middle schools

On their way to the university, some of the students encountered a resident on Rose Street who “held up her middle fingers at the kids,” Berkeley police said. An “unknown suspect” struck the woman with a cardboard sign and someone else threw water on her… 

Community members also questioned the group’s decision to stop or rest at the Jewish Community Center, which is the site of a preschool, according to the Jewish News report.

The incident at the preschool doesn’t seem to have been planned but the students did seem to linger there for several minutes while a pre-school was gathered inside.

During their march, the students protested outside the nearby JCC of the East Bay, where preschool was underway, in a way that felt targeted, the center’s CEO said Monday. Students repeatedly shouted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” and other chants.

CEO Melissa Chapman said the group stopped outside the JCC but that the reason for pausing wasn’t clear. There is a stop sign near the building, she said, and a student was on crutches, so the student may have needed a rest.

“After looking at the video, you can see that folks are stopped. You can see that adults are stopped,” Chapman said. “It’s hard to say. I’m trying to be unbiased. Looking at the facts — there’s definitely a moment where folks are stopped and turned around. And it doesn’t feel very good.”…

“Do I believe that most of these sixth- to eighth-graders understand what chanting ‘From the river to the sea’ means? I sure hope not,” Chapman said. “But for any adult to try to push aside the real meaning of that and not acknowledge the deep trauma that causes the majority of Jewish community members — it’s pretty devastating.”

Ten-year-olds chanting “From the river to the sea” at four-year-old Jewish kids may be the zenith of the pro-Palestinian student movement. Something else for progressive Berkeley to be proud of.

Originally, the school said students who walked out would be on their own but at the last minute a couple of administrators joined them, blurring the line between a school-sanctioned event and a walkout.

The question is why did the adults allow this to happen. Middle School kids aren’t supposed to leave school during the day. Did the parents of all of these kids approve this? In most places I’d be fairly sure the answer was no, but in Berkeley anything is possible.

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