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Student protesters broke the law, should be ‘punished’

Susanne (Sanne) K. DeWitt
Friday May 31, 2002

Dear Councilman Worthington:  


I am very dismayed that you have re-submitted your resolution asking that UCB drop charges against the protesters who disrupted classes and took over a building on the UC Berkeley campus in April. The protesters were arrested because the UC administration believed that they broke the law. Whether or not they are prosecuted and punished will be determined in court.  

Jewish students at UCB have been having a very difficult time. They have been threatened, cursed, and derided. The Jewish students have been told that they lack all humanity because they believe in Israel's right to exist. They have been told that they are “European colonialists” who ought to “go back to Europe.” 

I was present at a demonstration in which the anti-Israel (pro-Palestinian) demonstrators had a mock trial of Israel's Prime Minister Sharon, who was found “guilty” even though he had no counsel at the mock trial. Pro-Palestinian students screamed epithets at the Jewish students. I witnessed it.  

On April 9th, the anti-Israel (pro-Palestinian) protesters held a demonstration in which they broke campus laws, made hateful statements to UCB Jewish students, disrupted classes and took over a building. Not all of the protesters were students and many were off campus trouble makers who use the UCB campus as a political venue for their hate filled anti-Jewish propaganda.  

You have submitted a request for support for the April 9th protesters and recommended that the City Council request Chancellor Berdahl to not take away students' opportunity for education and drop the suspensions for the April 9th protest. You also recommended that the District Attorney drop the charges for participating in the demonstration and protest rally.  

How can you justify protecting these hate mongers from the consequences of their actions? By dropping charges against them you are saying that it is OK for people to break laws during anti-Israel and anti-Jewish demonstration and get away with it. This encourages anti-Semites to 

take any illegal action against Jews without prosecution.  


I was born in Germany and I experienced at first hand the consequences of police inaction against people who committed crimes against Jews. 

On Kristallnacht, in November 1938, mobs demonstrated against Jewish businesses and Synagogues and the authorities failed to stop themand prosecute them. This had followed several years of a deliberate policy of allowing civilians to persecute Jews. In 1933 there was a boycott of Jewish businesses and harassment of Jewish businesses and institutions and organizations. The governments did nothing to stop this behavior. Little by little the populace became bolder and bolder in its harassment of the Jews. By the time that the Nazis started arresting 

Jews (I was arrested myself on Kristallnacht in Munich at the Jewish Old Aged Home where my father was the physician) there was no outcry.  

I see this same process starting here. Demonstrators harass Jews on campus and openly break laws yet you introduce a resolution to the City 

Council asking the Chancellor to drop charges against these hooligans. I cannot understand how you can say that criminal conduct should go 

unpunished when that it is precisely what you are doing. The fact that the criminal conduct was committed by anti-Israel demonstrators 

suggests that you would allow these anti-Israel demonstrators to have carte blanche in persecuting Jews.  

If you have a sense of history and decency, please drop this resolution.  


Susanne (Sanne) K. DeWitt