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FP: Are there new documents in the Amended Complaint?
Sher: There are. We have added an additional plaintiff, Brian Maissey, who currently is a student on Campus. We have included in the Amended Complaint a Declaration from Brian in which he expresses his fears about Apartheid Week and sets out some very disturbing facts:
– As part of “Apartheid Week,” each year for the past three years members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) create barriers on campus in an effort to simulate what, in their view, security checkpoints are like in Israel.
– Many of the members of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and SJP wear Israeli flags, which contain the Jewish star, and they have signs with Hebrew writing on them; and many carry mock semiautomatic weapons that look real. They pretend to be Jewish Israelis. They set up a checkpoint at Sather Gate, where they interrogate students to determine whether they should be allowed to pass through the checkpoint, and they “act out” the supposed harassment of Palestinians on each other.
– the “interrogators” ― those pretending to be Jewish Israelis ― are rude, obnoxious, overbearing, aggressive and violent.
Brian also reveals how on March 17, 2011, he saw the students from MSA and SJP (dressed like Israeli Jews) block most of the central part of Sather Gate. They put down a material which looked like barbed wire or at least was supposed to simulate barbed wire at the checkpoint at Sather Gate. Moreover, he observed the simulated “barbed wire” get caught and entangled in an individual’s wheelchair. His independence and ability to move around campus was blocked and inhibited by persons who were wearing Israeli flags.
All of this goes well beyond any activities which deserve free speech protection. On the contrary, such conduct is terrifying, especially to young students, and it certainly endangers the health and safety of Jewish students.
Such activities have no place on campus and students have every right to expect that the school officials will take all reasonable measure to prevent such intimidating and harassing activities. The defendants in this case have failed miserably to do so.
FP: Why have the defendants in this case not done anything about these activities of the Muslim groups? What does it signify? What do you hope to do achieve with this lawsuit?
Sher: As we have seen elsewhere on campuses throughout the country, the University seems to be a slave to political correctness. And, I suspect that there is an element of intimidation stemming from the actions of the anti-Israel crowd, who have been loud and persistent in pushing their agenda. And, some university officials might have mistakenly bought into the deceitful propaganda being spread by those who seek to de-legitimize the Jewish state and her supporters.
In addition to securing redress for our clients, we want the universities to ensure that all students are free to study and live in an environment in which they do not feel threatened or harassed because of their religion, ethnic background or legitimate political views. Regrettably, in this area Berkeley and other schools in the U. of C. system get a failing grade.
FP: Neal Sher, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
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