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Antisemitic incidents United States

Temple Univ. Jewish student punched in face and called ‘Kike’ in antisemitic attack

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Source: TruthRevolt

Philadelphia, PA – A Jewish
student on the campus of Temple University was assaulted on Wednesday afternoon
and called “kike” and “baby killer” by members of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Daniel Vessal, a Camera on Campus
fellow and a member of the Jewish fraternity AEPi, was punched in the face by a
violent member of the anti-Israel organization SJP at “Templefest” which is
organized for students on campus to gain new information about campus clubs a
week before the start of classes. Vessal is a managing information systems
major at the Fox School of Business at the university.

 

“I’m walking down Polett Walk, one of the main walkways through Temple
University and I see the SJP table,” Vessal told TruthRevolt from a local area
hospital. “I go up to them and I really just wanted to see what angle they were
coming from. I went up to the table and started talking to them. I said,
‘listen, you shouldn’t be protesting Israel- if anything protest the
terrorists.’”

 

“At that point I walked away
and after a little back and forth,” Vessal explained. “I came back to the table
after a little while and explained that the Palestinians have a right to a
state just like anyone else but that SJP should come at the right people. I
said, ‘when Hamas stops sending the rockets, that’s when there can be peace.
That’s when we can start.’”

 

“This one girl sitting at the
end of the table was just laughing and laughing at me,” he explained “As she
was laughing at me, people at the table were calling me a ‘baby killer,’ I said
when she stops then maybe we could have a genuinely peaceful conversation.”

 

“And then this kid just rocks
me in the face as hard as he can. My glasses flew off. After a two-second blur
I had no clue what had happened. I couldn’t believe the kid actually hit me,”
said Vessal who added that he needs to obtain a new pair of glasses due to the
extensive damage.

 

Vessal told Truth Revolt that the student who punched him was one of
four or five individuals at the table.

 

“When the police came over and
were filing the report the kids at the table were screaming ‘You Zionist pig,
you racist, that’s what you get,’” Vessal explained. “If anything, I thought
they would be apologetic for someone in their organization doing something like
that.”

 

Vessal told TruthRevolt that the campus police took the assailant and
sent him home but did not detain him, which confused the victim.

 

“I don’t understand why after
physical assault he just got sent home. This was not anti-Israel at all, it was
completely antisemitic.”

 

Vessal proceeded quickly to the head of student activities on campus who
immediately stated that SJP’s table needed to be shut down. The campus police
disagreed and said they wouldn’t shut down the table only because they already
sent the kid home according to Vessal. He said, “They should have shut down the
table, especially when they are laughing and calling me a Zionist pig.”

 

A short time later, after experiencing a headache and neck stiffness,
Vessal sought medical attention at the Temple University Hospital. He spoke to
TruthRevolt just prior to undergoing a medical evaluation.

 

A copy of the medical evaluation provided exclusively to Truth Revolt
listed mandibular pain, cervical sprain, and closed head injury.

 

Josh Josephs and Alex Winokur witnessed the assault and confirm Vessal’s
account and added that they heard members of Students for Justice in Palestine
call Vessal a “kike” while he lay on the ground.

 

“Daniel went up to talk to
them and have an educated conversation, and try to rationalize their opinions,“
explained Josephs. “Alex and I, being not as educated on this topic, stood to
the side and let them converse. The ‘conversation’ shortly escalated to the
Palestine group being very arrogant and irrational. The people behind the table
started attacking Daniel calling him a “Zionist, racist, baby
killer.” Daniel asked the people behind if they could keep the name
calling out of it, and just try to have a calm talk about their opinions.”

 

“Out of nowhere, a member of
the group strikes Daniel, straight in the jaw with a closed fist. This led to
Daniel going straight to the ground, losing his glasses and in immediate pain.”

 

“While on the ground, the
members in this group were just pointing at Daniel and were laughing at him,”
Josephs told TruthRevolt. “In addition, names including kike, stupid Jew, and
Zionist, were used by the members in reference to Daniel.”

 

“This was unacceptable,
uncalled for, and a clear act of Antisemitism. The organization ‘Students for
Justice in Palestin’ at Temple is a disgrace to this University, clearly shown
by acts like this,” Josephs and Winokur told TruthRevolt  in a joint statement. “Temple University
should be embarrassed to allow this type of behavior to happen right on campus,
especially at a big event like this.”

 

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center
calls on the university President to condemn this violent antisemitic act,”
Aron Hier Director of Campus Outreach for the Simon Wisenthal Center told
TruthRevolt.. He also insisted that the university “launch a full investigation
into the alleged SJP member and his parent organization.”

 

Aviva Slomich, Director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East
Reporting in America (CAMERA) Campus Department told TruthRevolt that “this
type of physical harassment and intimidation coming from members of Students
for Justice in Palestine is becoming more and more common across US campuses
and it should not be tolerated.”

 

“Those who participate in such
violent, criminal activity should be immediately held accountable for their
actions. We expect Temple University to address this outrageous behavior and
stand up for and protect the civil rights of their students,” she concluded.

 

In the aftermath of the incident Vessal pulled the blinds on the Israeli
flag in his window, no longer feeling safe. “I do not feel that it’s OK for
someone to physically assault me on campus.”

 

Vessal is in the process of assembling a legal team to pursue legal
action and has a meeting scheduled for Thursday with a campus detective. He
said, “Before this I just thought Students for Justice in Palestine was crazy
but I didn’t know it would lead to violence.”