February 10, 2021
Photo: Killivalavan Solai
An Israeli flag draped over a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) student’s balcony was egged on February 8.
WCIA reported that the student, Jeremy Zelner, heard something hit one of his apartment windows at 1:00 A.M., and he found that 10-20 eggs had been thrown at the flag.
“This was a hateful and Anti-Semitic act aimed at Jews,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “This is disgusting and unacceptable. There is no room for hate crimes in the United States against anyone, regardless of skin color, opinions, religion etc.”
Zelner also told WCIA that he hopes the incident garners a lot of attention and that the flag will stay on the balcony. “We’re very in tune with the conflict, we understand what’s going on. We are people that are very welcoming to the conversation about it. And so, you know, I am very proud of being a Jewish person. I’m very proud of my friends who are Jewish as well. And we have conversations, we talk about it. And, you know, it’s important to have those conversations.”
Erez Cohen, executive director of UIUC Hillel, told WCIA that the incident was “clearly targeting someone for their national origin or for their ancestral identity… it’s a form of discrimination that we should not have on our campus or in our town. There is no room for hateful vandalism anywhere, especially in a town that really tries to be as diverse and as welcoming as possible.”
Jewish groups condemned the egging.
“StandWithUs strongly condemns this hateful attack against Jewish students based on their identity and connection to Israel,” StandWithUs CEO and co-founder Roz Rothstein said in a statement. “No student should feel that they need to hide their Israeli flag due to fear of discrimination. We call on UIUC’s administration to take all necessary steps to respond to this act of hate and prevent similar discrimination going forward. We are proud of Jewish and pro-Israel students who are standing up for their community in the face of this unacceptable incident.”
Liora Rez, director of the Stop Antisemitism.org watchdog, also said in a statement to the Journal, “We are horrified to see yet another antisemitic incident occurs at UIUC. What will it take for the school administration to step up and do something significant to finally stop the ongoing antisemitism happening on their campus?”
Jack Saltzberg, president and founder of The Israel Group, similarly said in a statement to the Journal, “I’m sorry to burst the bubble of those who think there’s a separation between Israel and Jews. There isn’t. An attack on an Israeli flag is an attack on all Jews. It’s only camouflaged better than most hate crimes are.”
A university spokesperson told the Journal that the vice chancellor of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will be issuing a statement addressing the matter.
In November, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights announced that they would be investigating a complaint that the university hasn’t properly handled anti-Semitic incidents on campus. Prior to that, the university had issued a statement acknowledging that “for many Jewish students, Zionism is an integral part of their identity;” the university also announced that they will be establishing an Advisory Council on Jewish and Campus Life, implementing educational programming on anti-Semitism and re-evaluating their procedures for handling instances of anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination on campus as part of their efforts to combat anti-Semitism on campus.
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