ADL still waiting to hear from U.C. Berkeley chancellor

Following the recent pro-Hamas rally at the U.C. Berkeley campus, the Central Pacific Region of the Anti-Defamation League sent a letter to university chancellor Chang-Lin Tien, imploring him to condemn anti-Semitism on campus.

The ADL is still waiting for a response.

"It's our sincere hope we can meet to discuss this and prevail on him to provide stronger leadership when these things happen on the Berkeley campus," said Barbara Bergen, ADL regional director.

"I understand the problems a university administration has regarding free expression, diversity and discourse. But the Muslim Unity Group rally went beyond that," she added.

"My only regret is that the letter didn't go out sooner."

The March 8 rally — just four days after Hamas' most recent terror bombing in Israel — was consistent with the organization's tactics at demonstrations, Bergen said.

During the protest, more than 50 protesters gathered at Sproul Plaza, where they held a mock trial of "crimes by Zion." As onlookers raised their fists in support of Hamas, demonstrators clad in combat fatigues stomped on the Israeli flag.

"It was vile, and I believe the intention was to make Jewish students fearful," Bergman said. "This was hardly civil discourse under anyone's definition."

She added, "We expect leaders of institutions of higher learning to make comments so students know this behavior is morally reprehensible."

On Monday, a spokesman from the chancellor's office said Tien had no further comment on the issue other than a letter he issued March 21 to the Jewish student community.

In that letter, he condemned "the killing or injury of innocent people — in Israel and throughout the world," and he expressed support for free speech and a Jewish "sense of belonging" on campus.

In addition, Tien offered to moderate a discussion on campus about multicultural conflict.

Bergen commended these statements in her letter to Tien, but she added that Tien had not gone far enough.

"We urge you to seek more forceful and public remedies for dealing with an incident that has ruptured the Cal community and shocked people of good will whether Jewish, Muslim, Christian or otherwise," she wrote.

In addition, Bergen stressed that mere discussion about cultural differences on campus "is totally inappropriate for this situation.

"The Muslim Unity Group isn't going to work with other students," she said. "They intend to terrorize. So to make an innocuous statement about the groups conferring is ridiculous."