Letter to the Editor

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Editorial Really Misjudged Recent Campus Conflict

I am writing in response to the Senior Editorial Board's "Resolve, Don't Repeat" (March 12), an article that shocked and offended me as a woman, a Jew and, most importantly, a Berkeley undergrad.

Though I do completely agree that the conflict between Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Tikvah: Students for Israel has stunted serious dialogue about th ongoing conflict in the Middle East, the editorial's characterization of the recent incident on Sproul Plaza as "blatantly and unnecessarily overblown" is disgusting and honestly, quite scary.

Whether a person was allegedly attacked by a knife or shopping cart is irrelevant-a female expressing her beliefs in a peaceful way was allegedly attacked by another student on this campus in an attempt to silence her and terrorize others who share her beliefs. That cannot be excused in any way, shape or form. When a student is allegedly attacked on Sproul and the Daily Cal does anything other than condemn violence on this campus, I can say without doubt that I no longer feel safe in my university.

I'm disappointed that these incidences have been characterized as the fault of "troublemakers". This mitigates the responsibility of SJP and Tivkah leadership, members and the UC Berkeley community at large.

As a Jewish student who is not a member of Tikvah, I have felt personally attacked by SJP's leadership and its members solely on the basis of my religious and political views. I am sure that there are members of SJP who feel that Tikvah has crossed the line at one point or another and I would never challenge the validity of their feelings. What I am trying to get at is that both Tikvah and SJP are groups that have the right and the obligation to share their point of view, but their leadership and members do not have the right to act violently or use vitriolic hate speech.

I think that it is time for people who are deeply affected by this troubling issue to stand up and say that the method of discourse on this campus must change and we will not support individuals or organizations that belittle, intimidate, or insult any member of the Cal community. Cal students must respect one another, and if we can't, we don't deserve to wear blue and gold with pride.

Stephanie Cohen

UC Berkeley student


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