Fight Erupts at Israel Liberation Week ConcertConcert Outside Eshleman Hall Leads to Violent Conflict Between Jewish and Palestinian Students
Friday, November 14, 2008
Category: News > City > Crime
An article published on www.dailycal.org late Thursday evening contained serious factual inaccuracies and I apologize to our readers, especially those affected by the errors, on behalf of The Daily Californian staff.
The article, which was replaced by the accurate version below by 3 a.m. Friday after the errors became known to the editors, stated that ASUC Senator John Moghtader and concert performer Yehuda De sa were handcuffed and cited for battery by UC police. They were not.
In response to the inaccuracy, the Daily Cal immediately posted a corrected version and cancelled the print run of the newspaper containing the incorrect version. The article that ran in Friday's newspaper did not contain these errors.
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Tensions between Palestinian and Jewish students on campus ran high Thursday night after a fight broke out on an Eshleman Hall balcony overlooking a concert promoting Israel Liberation Week.
At about 5:45 p.m., as rap artists performed on Lower Sproul Plaza, three Palestinian students hung up two Palestinian flags on the building's second floor balcony, witnesses said. The students said they were responding to the anti-Palestinian lyrics they heard.
Upon seeing the flags, ASUC Senator John Moghtader, former senator Gabe Weiner and Yeduda De sa, the concert's opening act, went up to the balcony in an attempt to remove the flags. All three men are Jewish.
At that point, a fight broke out, police said. Witnesses added that the fight prompted up to half a dozen members of the audience to run up to the second floor. Police said two students and one non-student were cited for battery. Weiner was one of those students.
"I went up to the second floor because the message they were sending was an abomination to our national rights," Weiner said.
Senior Husam Zakharia, who was hit in the face during the altercation, said the rap lyrics he heard spurred him to hang up the Palestinian flag.
"We're going to go up and we're going to put up our Palestinian flag in silent protest-exercising our freedom of speech to say we're here and we exist," he said, adding that he was surprised by the violent reaction.
A number of UCPD officers and Dean of Students Jonathan Poullard spent at least two hours interviewing students and witnesses, attempting to piece together the series of events.
According to police, the fight was related to incidents of vandalism earlier this semester. In September, a bus stop sign outside Eshleman Hall promoting Israel was vandalized. That vandalism was followed by pro-Israel graffiti in a classroom in Dwinelle Hall, increasing tension among Israeli and Palestinian advocacy groups on campus.
As the altercation on Thursday night took place, Eshleman Hall's second floor was full of ASUC officials including President Roxanne Winston.
Many senators who saw the fight expressed shock that such an incident could happen among students, most notably former and current ASUC senators.
"I'm very strong now in my sentiments in that there should be immediate disciplinary action," said ASUC Senator Kifah Shah. "If it culminates to violence where three members of SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine) are hit ... then that's just ridiculous."
Will Kane is the city news editor. Vincent Quan is the university news editor. Contact them at [email protected]
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