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UC Berkeley Lecturer Calls Oct. 7 Massacre a ‘Fabricated Narrative’ as School Sued Over ‘Unchecked’ Antisemitism

An aerial view shows the bodies of victims of an attack following a mass infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip lying on the ground in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, in southern Israel, Oct. 10, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg

A lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley has come under fire for claiming that accounts of Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7 — in which Palestinian terrorists murdered over 1,200, mostly civilians — were false.

“The notion that this was a massacre of Jews is a fabricated narrative,” Brooke Lober of UC Berkeley’s Gender and Women Studies Department said on Monday night during a meeting of the city council of Oakland, California. “Many of those killed on Oct. 7, including children, were killed by the [Israel Defense Forces].”

The Oct. 7 onslaught was the deadliest single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.

The Oakland City Council was considering a resolution to call for a ceasefire to the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. During a public comment period about the measure, several residents beyond Lober gave remarks defending Hamas and blaming Israel for last month’s attacks.

Lober’s comments, flagged by the watchdog group StopAntisemitism, came one day before the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, a leading Jewish civil rights group, filed a lawsuit against UC Berkeley alleging that the university has failed to deter and respond to surging antisemitic hatred on campus.

“This goes beyond wrong-headed political views. It raises questions of academic and professional competence,” Brandeis Center co-founder and chairman Kenneth Marcus told The Algemeiner on Thursday. “It is difficult to imagine any academic standards under which a person capable of uttering such statements could be judged as anything other than unqualified.”

The Brandeis Center’s complaint provided several examples of antisemitic harassment and exclusion at UC Berkeley. These included, among other instances, a bylaw banning Zionists speakers that 23 Berkeley Law groups adopted in Sept. 2021; campus groups Women of Berkeley Law and the Queer Caucus requiring support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel to join its ranks; and the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law, and Justice banning Zionists from submitting articles and speaking at its events.

According to the complaint, the campus environment has worsened since Hamas’ Oct. 7 onslaught across southern Israel, in which the Palestinian terror group not only murdered over 1,200 people but also took more than 240 others as hostages to Gaza.

“This suit targets the longstanding, unchecked spread of antisemitism at the University of California Berkeley, which, following the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, has erupted in on-campus displays of hatred, harassment, and physical violence against Jews,” said the complaint filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday. “Court intervention is now needed to protect students and faculty and to end this antisemitic discrimination and harassment, which violates university policy, federal civil rights law, and the US Constitution.”

The suit alleged as well that hate mail and death threats have been sent to Jewish students, that Jewish students have opted not to attend class because walking through campus risked encountering angry pro-Palestinian supporters, and that an anti-Israel demonstrator bashed a Jewish student draped in an Israeli flag over the head with a metal water bottle.

A UC Berkeley spokesperson denied the Brandeis Center’s allegations, saying that the school has “long been committed to confronting antisemitism, and to supporting the needs and interests of its Jewish students, faculty, and staff.”

Lober is not the first college professor to make inflammatory statements about Israel and the Jewish people since the Oct. 7 massacre. Last month, for example, Cornell University history professor Russell Rickford called Hamas’ terror onslaught “exhilarating” and “energizing” at a pro-Palestinian rally. He has since taken a leave of absence for the remainder of the semester. Later, University of California, Davis kept a professor on staff after she appeared to call for violence against Jewish journalists and their children following the Hamas atrocities.

Another professor, Columbia University’s Joseph Massad, said in an op-ed published in Electronic Intifada that Hamas’ invasion was “awesome.” He described the terrorists who para-glided into a music festival in Israel to rape and murder the young people there as “the air force of the Palestinian resistance.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Top IDF Brass Blindsided by UNRWA Fallout

View of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90.

i24 NewsSenior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) command was caught off guard by the speed with which the allegations implicating UNRWA staffers in the October 7 atrocities became public knowledge, according to a New York Times report published Saturday.

When, on January 18, UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini sat down with senior Israeli diplomat Amir Weissbrod in Tel Aviv for a routine meeting, the UN official was supplied with intelligence about the agency employees’ involvement in the massacre.

While the intelligence was provided by the IDF, the military establishment didn’t expect the explosive information to leak into the public domain. It emerged that Lazzarini relayed the allegations to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and began firing employees, eventually reporting the developments to U.S. officials.

Unnamed IDF officials cited in the NYT report were concerned that the allegations had been disseminated without Israel having devised a proper strategy for the fallout.

European countries, from the UK to Germany, as well as the United States, Canada and Australia all froze funding to UNRWA amid reviews in the aid agency and its employees.

While some have pushed for a complete shutdown of the agency, including U.S. lawmakers and Israeli ministers, others — including unnamed senior IDF officials — have said that it was inadvisable to do so during the war when UNRWA was providing needed humanitarian aid.

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Hamas Turns Down Hostage Deal, Demands Israel Release More Terrorists

Families of hostages and supporters protest to call for the release of hostages kidnapped on the deadly October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

i24 NewsHamas on Sunday said it rejected the proposed hostage deal formulated in Paris, demanding that Israel release more Palestinian terrorists locked up in Israeli jails, according to a Saudi outlet.

There are 136 hostages held in Gaza by Hamas and other Palestinian jihadists, abducted during the October 7 incursion and massacre.

The statement comes hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated Israel had “red lines” which could not be crossed.

Thus, the leader said, Israel will not end the war until all its goals are met, namely “the eradication of Hamas, the rescue of all our hostages, and ensuring that Gaza will never again pose a threat to Israel.”

“We will not agree to every deal, and not at any price,” he said, adding reports in the local media whereby Israel agreed to freeing large numbers of terrorists were not true.

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Dennis Ross Is Blaming Israel Again

Former Clinton adviser and US Mideast envoy Dennis Ross. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.orgFormer U.S. Middle East envoy Dennis Ross just can’t stop blaming Israel.

Speaking via Zoom for the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism & Policy on Jan. 31, Ross offered some expected, perfunctory criticism of Hamas, Iran and Hezbollah. But again and again, he managed to bring in one-sided and unfair criticism of Israel.

Referring to Israel’s counter-terrorism actions in Judea and Samaria, Ross said: “West Bank violence [by Arabs] is not disconnected from Israel’s policies in the West Bank.”

That’s just absurd. The terrorists are not responding to Israeli policies. They were murdering Jews long before there were any settlements or so-called occupied territories. They oppose Israel’s existence, not its borders. It’s these terrorists who are the aggressors, and Israelis must respond to them.

Regarding Gaza, Ross said: “The Israelis haven’t done everything they could to spare civilians in Gaza.” Is he kidding? The Israelis have refrained from striking terrorist targets where there are civilians. They have personally warned civilians to evacuate, again and again, through leaflets and phone calls and public announcements. They have risked the lives of their own soldiers by going house to house, instead of just bombing from the air. What else can they possibly do?

Ross also commented on the recent ruling by the International Court of Justice—the ruling that failed to condemn Hamas and demanded that Israel give more aid to Palestinians in Gaza. He said the ruling was “not irresponsible” and that it was provoked by “extreme statements by Israeli politicians.” That’s simply nonsense. The statement that the court cited most prominently was made by Israel’s left-leaning president, Isaac Herzog, who said that many ordinary Gazans supported the Hamas massacre, which was a perfectly reasonable statement of fact.

The practice of saying a few perfunctory crucial words about terrorists and then “balancing” it with criticism of Israel is typical of the grotesque “even-handedness” that Ross and his colleagues pushed during his many years at the U.S. State Department.

That approach was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. There can be no “balance” between good and evil. Israel and the Palestinian Authority are not on the same moral level. Israel is America’s loyal, reliable, democratic ally. The P.A. is a terror-sponsoring, hate-mongering dictatorship.

In recent months, Ross has been saying that Israel should allow the Hamas leadership to leave Gaza in exchange for the release of the remaining hostages. He points to Israel’s decision in 1982, under U.S. pressure, to allow PLO chief Yasser Arafat and thousands of PLO terrorists to leave besieged Beirut.

But Ross never mentions what happened after Arafat left. He didn’t retire. He set up PLO terrorist headquarters in Tunisia, and then 20 additional years of terrorism followed—suicide bombings, intifadas, mass shootings, stabbings. Ross’s new plan would have the same result.

This is the same Dennis Ross who has acknowledged—on the op-ed page of The Washington Post in 2014—that he pressured Israel to allow Hamas to import concrete. Ross wrote that the Israelis opposed his demand because they feared that Hamas would use the cement to build terror tunnels. Ross insisted the concrete would be used to build houses, and because of his pressure, the Israelis gave in. We all know the result.

In his Zoom talk this week, Ross had the chutzpah to mention that Hamas used imported cement to build tunnels instead of homes, though never mentioned that he was the one who helped them to get that cement into Gaza in the first place.

Ross is frequently quoted in The New York Times and invited to appear on television shows and webinars. He’s treated as if his past involvement in Mideast diplomacy makes him an expert on how to make peace today. Yet every one of those diplomatic efforts failed. He has never facilitated real peace because he continues to pretend that both sides are to blame for the absence of peace.

The Jewish world is full of talented speakers, thinkers and writers. Surely, our institutions should be able to find more thoughtful lecturers than those same tired, old critics of Israel with their familiar and disastrous proposals.

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