Sher: It’s also difficult to pinpoint motives. Perhaps officials themselves were intimidated or, perhaps, they were simply hostile to students like Jessica and their causes. But, the central point is that the officials were fully aware of the threats posed by the SJP, MSA and their followers and they failed to respond adequately as they were legally obligated to do.
FP: Your thoughts on the growing Muslim extremism on campuses putting Jewish students in danger?
Sher: Clearly, this is a very serious problem as there has been a growing number of incidents on campuses, not just within the University of California system but throughout the country, where groups like the SJP and MSA have intimidated and harassed students and faculty members. Moreover, this campaign appears to be highly organized and thoroughly planned.
It is also very troubling that the on-campus activities of the SJP and MSA against Jessica and other students - and the university’s failure to confront them – present a disturbing echo of the darkest period in history: the incitement, intimidation, harassment and violence carried out under the Nazi regime and those of its allies in Europe against Jewish students and scholars in the leading universities of those countries during the turbulent years leading up to and including the Holocaust.
I can tell you that there is a genuine fear by Jessica and other students of Jewish ancestry on campuses throughout the University of California system that the tragic lessons of history have not yet been learned by these defendants. They fear that the University of California campuses are no longer places of hope and dignity, of academic and personal freedom, or of peaceful life and personal safety.
FP: What do you hope this lawsuit will help achieve?
Sher: First, we are demanding damages for Jessica injuries she suffered, physical and otherwise, due to defendant’s failure to honor its legal obligations. And, we would all like to see a sea change in the attitudes and actions on the part of the university and officials. As it now stands, students such as Jessica have been deprived of their constitutional rights and their ability to live and learn in a campus environment free of intimidation, threats and bullying.
FP: The thought of the roles reversed here, and with Berkeley having the same disposition toward the events, is simply unfathomable. What I mean is this: I can’t even imagine (1) Jewish students physically attacking Muslim students on a campus and (2) that if this hypothetically happened, that Berkeley would respond in the same way. First, if Muslim students sensed they were in danger from Jewish students, I am sure Berkeley would have made security arrangements – to say the least. And if Jewish students attacked a Muslim student, while the entire country’s media would be up in arms, Berkeley would be engaged in all kinds of disciplinary action. What are your thoughts on this observation?
Sher: You’ve hit the nail on the head. There is no question that if the shoe was on the other foot, immediate and decisive action would be taken by the powers that be. It’s time that we demand an end to the hypocrisy and double standards which have gone on far too long and which will be exposed in this lawsuit. The silent majority should remain silent no longer!
FP: Neal Sher, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview and thank you for coming to the defense of those who are no longer safe from violence on our campuses.
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