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Ignoring complaints from students about the poisonous climate on campus, defendants condoned, allowed and enabled groups such as the MSA and the SJP to threaten, harass and intimidate Jewish students and to endanger their health and safety. Their tolerance of the growing cancer of a dangerous anti-Semitic climate on its campuses, and their failure to take adequate measures to quell it, violated the rights of Ms. Felber’s and other students to enjoy a peaceful campus environment free from threats and intimidation.
We noted that the on-campus activities of the SJP and MSA against plaintiff and other students of Jewish religion and ancestry – and the university’s failure to confront them – present a disturbing echo of the darkest period in history: the incitement, intimidation, harassment and violence carried out under the Nazi regime and those of its allies in Europe against Jewish students and scholars in the leading universities of those countries during the turbulent years leading up to and including the Holocaust.
Moreover, we have recently filed an Amended Complaint, adding as 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.
As for the case against York University: in March we filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario by Sammy Katz, a student at York University, has charged York with legitimizing an anti-Jewish environment on campus. As part of the complaint, York is accused of having failed to take measures required to counter activities which have created a poisonous atmosphere for identifiably Jewish students.
The complaint stems from a February 2010 incident at a pro-Israel “tabling event” held in York’s Vari Hall. The complaint describes how Katz was subjected to verbal abuse and a physical assault by persons vehemently hostile to students who support the Jewish state, while campus security failed to intervene or control the volatile situation.
Katz also contends that York made public statements about the assault aimed at discrediting Katz, and convened meetings of the media and Jewish organizational leaders at which it spun its own inaccurate version of the episode. In fact, a university review of the incident concluded that the Jewish students had been swarmed and that Katz had, in fact, been assaulted.
FP: What moves and inspires you personally to represent clients like these?
Sher: Pursuing these types of cases is, in many ways, a natural progression from the work I have been engaged in, and have cared deeply about, for decades: as the head of the Nazi prosecution office at the U.S. Justice Department; the national Executive Director of AIPAC; adviser on war crimes prosecutions to the Canadian Minister of Justice; and faculty members at various universities.
Many people have spoken about “lawfare’ – the abuse of our legal system to attempt to delegitimize Israel and those who support her - but we believe that it’s high time to take the initiative and use our laws to protect and advance the causes which are so important to us. It’s not enough just to talk, debate and wring our hands. We must take action and that is what we are doing with the filing of these cases. And, you can be certain that there will be more of them.
FP: Is there any way readers who would like to help can help?
Sher: The outpouring of support for the courageous plaintiffs in these cases is greatly appreciated. Whenever the opportunity arises readers should voice their opinions – in the press and to your elected officials. If history has taught us anything, it is that we must be ever vigilant and be prepared to stand up for our rights and beliefs.
FP: If you succeed helping Cherna Rosenberg win this suit, what will some of the ramifications be? It will be an important landmark watershed to a certain degree, no? Tell us what this suit can help achieve not just for Rosenberg but for the future victims of Islamic terror everywhere.
Sher: Those who are organizing, supporting and participating in these flotillas are perpetrating nothing short of a scam. There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza and they surely know it.ire objective is to further the worldwide campaign to denigrate the Jewish State by generating artificial confrontations. They must be exposed and lawsuits such as the one Cherna Rosenberg has initiated sheds light on the true motives of these provocateurs.
And, I would add that Americans who participate and organize the flotilla – the American boat is named “The Audacity of Hope”, after the book written by President Obama - run the serious risk of violating federal criminal law which prohibits giving any material support or services to a designated terror organization. Hamas, which controls everything in Gaza, including anything from the flotilla, is a formally designated terrorist organization.
FP: Neal Sher, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
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