Jewish Student 'Punched' by Pro-Palestinian Student at Temple University; Update–Suspect in Attack Against Jewish Temple University Student Revealed

Jewish Student 'Punched' by Pro-Palestinian Student at Temple University; Update–Suspect in Attack Against Jewish Temple University Student Revealed

Update:

Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity contributor Daniel Mael is reporting the identity of the alleged suspect in the assault against a Temple University Jewish student is Abdel Aziz R. Jalil.

“Jalil has been identified as the alleged attacker by a source with knowledge of the situation and confirmed by Josh Josephs and Alex Winokur, who witnessed the assault,” Mael wrote in TruthRevolt.

A review of Jalil’s own Facebook page and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Temple Twitter feed and Facebook page shows his support for SJP’s mission as well as participating with the group at various demonstrations. This raises questions that SJP Temple’s original statement may have been inaccurate or misleading. They claimed that Jalil, who was identified as simply “B” in their release, was “not an SJP member” and at the organizations table because he is “a friend to some of the members of the club.”

Attempts to contact SJP Temple has met hurdles as the groups email address is not working. A Facebook message has been sent and this article will be updated when a response is received.

Update:

Mr. Jalil’s Facebook page was taken down shortly after his named was publicly revealed in association with this story.  

Philadelphia – “Temple Fest” is marketed as your “first taste of Temple” to students as they settle in for the upcoming academic year. But for one student checking out campus organizations and activities, his first taste was an act of anti-Semitism–a punch to the head, alleged anti-Semitic slurs and a trip to the hospital.

First reported by Franklin Center for Government & Integrity contributor Daniel Mael on Truthrevolt.org, Daniel Vessal was “punched in the face by a violent member of the anti-Israel organization SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine). “

Vessal claims he approached the SJP table to “see what angle they were coming from,” and began a dialogue. He told his fellow students working the booth, “You shouldn’t be protesting Israel; if anything, protest the terrorists.”

“This one girl sitting at the end of the table was just laughing and laughing at me,” Vessal explained,  “and people at the table were calling me a ‘baby killer.'” He responded that when they were done laughing, “maybe we could have a genuinely peaceful conversation.”

He continued, “And then this kid just rocks me in the face as hard as he can. My glasses flew off. After a two-second blur I had no clue what had happened. I couldn’t believe this kid actually hit me.”

Eyewitnesses Josh Josephs and Alex Winokur told Mael:

“Daniel went up to talk with them and have an educated conversation and try to rationalize their opinions,” said Josephs. “The conversation shortly escalated to the Palestine group being very arrogant and irrational. The people behind the table starting attacking Daniel, calling him a ‘Zionist, racist, baby killer.'”

When Temple University security appeared on the scene, Vessal began explaining what occurred. According to multiple witnesses, the SJP students were shouting at him, “Zionist pig!” Witnesses also told Mael they heard the SJP students yelling “Kike” at Vessal as he lay on the ground.

In a 1200 word statement released Thursday morning by Temple Students for Justice in Palestine, the organization refers to the assault against Vessal as “slapped” and claims, “No anti-Semitic slurs were utilized because they are antithetical to SJP’s opposition to all forms of structural racism, including anti-Semitism.”

SJP Temple President Rose Daraz said Vessal, “didn’t try to have a conversation at all, he just walked past our table saying he couldn’t believe it exists. He then proceeded to say that we support terrorism and [made] other racist anti-Palestinian statements.”

The statement does not identify the admitted assailant, referring to him only as “B” and denying that he is a member of SJP. The assailant also said, “I’m sorry for what I did,” and denied that the attack was motivated by anti-Semitism.

According to Vessal, campus police did not detain his assailant. He was merely removed from the scene and sent home.

“I don’t understand why after an assault he just got sent home,” said Vessel.

The head of student activities at Temple sought to close the SJP table immediately after the incident. He was rebuked by campus police who believe the matter was closed with the assailant no longer on campus.

Vessal received medical attention at Temple University Hospital. According to a medical report obtained by the Franklin Center, he suffered “mandibular pain, cervical sprain and a closed head injury.”

No longer feeling it is safe on campus for Jewish students, Vessal has covered the Israeli flag that was displayed in his residence window.

The University released a statement Wednesday evening that read in part:

“Temple University is investigating a report of an attack against a student late Wednesday afternoon.  The attack is alleged to have included physical violence and anti-Semitic statements and religious slurs,” wrote Ray Betzner, Temple University spokesman. “Temple University unequivocally condemns the disparagement or assault of any person based on religion or nationality. The university will not tolerate violence of any kind directed against members of the Temple community.”

In addition, “university officials Wednesday night reached out to leaders of the Temple Jewish and pro-Palestinian communities to discuss the incident and a best path for moving forward.”

SJP rebutted the university stating, “Officials have not reached out to SJP members about the incident after reports were taken on the scene.”

Vessal will be meeting with campus police detectives on Thursday and is considering legal action.


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