Students Sue UCLA For Allowing ‘Jew Exclusion Zone’ During Violent Pro-Palestinian Encampment


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Kate Anderson Contributor
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Jewish students filed a lawsuit against the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the regents of the University of California system Wednesday over the administration’s alleged lack of effort to shut down a pro-Palestinian encampment that created a “Jew Exclusion Zone.”

In April, students protesting the school’s ties to Israel created an encampment on campus that lasted for weeks and resulted in multiple violent incidents and dozens of arrests. Three Jewish students argued in the lawsuit that university officials allowed the campus protesters to force Jewish students out of classrooms, the main library and certain outdoor areas on campus unless they publicly declared their support for the protesters’ anti-Israel views. (RELATED: Pro-Palestinian Protesters Barricaded Inside College President’s Office — But Their Occupation Was Short-Lived)

“With the knowledge and acquiescence of UCLA officials, the activists enforced what was effectively a ‘Jew Exclusion Zone,’ segregating Jewish students and preventing them from accessing the heart of campus, including classroom buildings and the main undergraduate library,” the lawsuit reads. “In many cases, the activists set up barriers and locked arms together, preventing those who refused to disavow Israel from passing through.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MAY 23: Pro-Palestinian protestors gather with a sign reading ‘UAW Rank & File Workers For Palestine’ after police cleared a new encampment of pro-Palestinian protestors on the UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) campus on May 23, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. The protest coincided with today’s congressional hearing on campus protests where UCLA Chancellor Gene Block testified. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The lawsuit alleges that not only did the university tolerate the encampment’s targeting and exclusion of Jews, but it also protected the protesters by encouraging security to “discourage unapproved students from attempting to cross through the areas blocked by the activists.” Protesters were reportedly allowed to chant phrases like “death to the Jews” and “from the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free,” a slogan used by the terrorist group Hamas.

“If masked agitators had excluded any other marginalized group at UCLA, Governor Newsom rightly would have sent in the National Guard immediately,” Mark Rienzi, president and CEO of Becket, which is one of the law firms representing the students, said in a press release. “But UCLA instead caved to the antisemitic activists and allowed its Jewish students to be segregated from the heart of their own campus.”

In May, the university suspended its Police Chief John Thomas for failing to prevent a brawl between protesters and counter-protesters that resulted in multiple people being injured. UCLA has drawn severe criticism over its handling of the protest, resulting in Chancellor Gene Block testifying before Congress that same regarding the violent clashes between protesters and police during the encampment.

Lawmakers were surprised to learn during the hearing that UCLA, Rutgers University and Northwestern University, which all had encampments broken up by police, had suspended only four students overall and expelled none despite the violence.

Mary Osako, UCLA vice chancellor for strategic communications, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the university was aware of the lawsuit.

“We are aware of the lawsuit that has been filed, which to our knowledge, has not yet been served,” Osako said. “We will review and respond in due course. UCLA remains committed to supporting the safety and wellbeing of the entire Bruin community.”

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