Jewish Students Sue UCLA for Allowing Antisemitic Activists to Threaten Them and Block Access

Three Jewish students have filed a lawsuit against the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for allowing antisemitic activists to stop them and other Jewish students and faculty from entering the campus.

Becket Law, a non-profit legal group, is representing two law students and an undergrad student from the school in a lawsuit that asks a federal court to hold UCLA accountable for allowing an antisemitic encampment and discrimination against Jews on campus.

“If masked agitators had excluded any other marginalized group at UCLA, Governor Newsom rightly would have sent in the National Guard immediately,” said Mark Rienzi, president and CEO of Becket. 

“But UCLA instead caved to the antisemitic activists and allowed its Jewish students to be segregated from the heart of their own campus. That is a profound and illegal failure of leadership,” he continued. 

As CBN News reported recently, it unfolded as an unprecedented wave of organized, anti-Israel protests boiled on college campuses nationwide. 

Protestors destroyed campus facilities, clashed with police, and could be heard chanting their antisemitic, genocidal cry – “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Schools officials at Columbia University, Yale University, NYU, the University of Southern California, and the University of Texas at Austin finally issued an ultimatum after weeks of protests – pack up encampments or receive academic discipline – but not before extreme damage had been done. 

According to Becket Law, UCLA allowed activists to set up an encampment that enforced a “Jew Exclusion Zone,” stopping Jewish students and faculty from accessing the encampment and other parts of campus unless they agreed to disavow Israel’s right to exist. 

Activists within the encampment also viciously targeted Jewish students.

Yitzchok Frankel, a law student and father of four, faced antisemitic harassment and was forced to abandon his regular routes through campus because of the Jew Exclusion Zone, according to a court filing.

Sophomore Joshua Ghayoum was repeatedly blocked from accessing the library and other areas on campus. He was also subject to hearing threatening chants at the encampment like “death to Jews.” 

Law student Eden Shemuelian was forced to walk around the encampments to get to class and had to endure antisemitic chants as well. 

The group of students is asking the court to ensure that Jews will never again face such antisemitic bigotry on UCLA’s campus.  

“This is America in 2024—not Germany in 1939. It is disgusting that an elite American university would let itself devolve into a hotbed of antisemitism,” said Rienzi. “UCLA’s administration should have to answer for allowing the Jew Exclusion Zone and promise that Jews will never again be segregated on campus.”

UCLA is not the only school facing legal challenges for allowing pro-Palestinian protests on campus. 

As CBN News reported, a Jewish Columbia University student is suing the school for allegedly failing to provide a safe environment.

The class action lawsuit contends Columbia has “become a place that is too dangerous for Columbia’s Jewish students to receive the education they were promised.”

It takes particular issue with the university’s decision to go to a hybrid learning model after days of unrest. 

“Jewish students…get a second-class education where they are relegated to their homes to attend classes virtually and stripped of the opportunity to interact meaningfully with other students and faculty and sit for examinations with their peers,” the lawsuit said. “The segregation of Jewish students is a dangerous development that can quickly escalate into more severe acts of violence and discrimination.”

Meanwhile, a U.S. law firm and an Israeli legal group have teamed up to sue two organizations involved in recent college campus protests.

As our Jerusalem Bureau reports, a lawsuit filed in Virginia accuses American Muslims for Palestine and National Students for Justice in Palestine of collaborating with Hamas to serve as their propaganda division in the U.S. and fostering anti-Israel protests on campus. 

Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of the Jerusalem-based International Legal Forum, told CBN News, “These groups are the primary drivers of what we’re seeing happening across campuses in the United States, which have effectively become a second front for Hamas since October seventh.” 

Ostrovsky is working with the U.S. legal team of Greenberg, Traurig, and the National Jewish Advocacy Group. 

Their lawsuit not only aims to seek compensation for damages but also to prove that these groups violated the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act by aiding and abetting a terror group.   

Attorney Ken Tashjy, a Campus Reform Higher Education Fellow, told CBN’s Global Lane that more Jewish students harmed by on-campus protests should pursue legal action against their schools. 

“They would not only have where their educational experiences and opportunities were denied a breach of contract complaint, but they were denied access to campus, they were denied entrance into buildings, they were denied other benefits on the campus or they were subjected to threats, intimidation, or harassment. They’ve got a number of other legal rationales to pursue there, among them discrimination and violation of state and federal civil rights,” he explained. 

“I think it’s important that parents and students really critically evaluate the way institutions responded to these protests and consider potentially taking their educational dollars elsewhere,” Tashjy added. 

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