December 6, 2023

Native Information

The coed allegedly confronted somebody with an Israeli flag and shouted, “You assume you’re so powerful waving a flag, Zionist s—bag, let’s see how powerful you might be once I’m out right here!”

An aerial view of the UMass Amherst campus in April 2020. Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe, File

A College of Massachusetts Amherst scholar is going through prices after allegedly attacking a Jewish scholar and spitting on an Israeli flag following an on-campus demonstration Friday.

The alleged assault occurred simply after UMass Hillel held an occasion calling for the discharge of Israeli hostages taken throughout Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault on Israel. UMass Hillel mentioned in an announcement that because the gathering was ending, a scholar walked by means of the group “aggressively giving folks the center finger.” 

“After the occasion had concluded and occasion safety had left, the identical scholar returned to the positioning of the occasion and punched a Jewish scholar holding an Israeli flag, then took the flag and spit on it,” UMass Hillel mentioned.

UMass police investigated and arrested the scholar Friday evening, college officers mentioned in an e-mail to the group. 

“What this scholar is accused of is reprehensible, unlawful, and unacceptable,” Interim Vice Chancellor for Scholar Affairs and Campus Life Shelly Perdomo-Ahmed and Chief of Police Tyrone Parham mentioned within the e-mail. “Allow us to be clear, these have been the actions of a person who didn’t converse for nor act on behalf of a bunch or anybody apart from themselves.”

Neither UMass Hillel nor college officers named the scholar charged within the alleged assault, recognized in courtroom data as Efe Ercelik. 

Ercelik pleaded not responsible Monday to 2 counts of assault and battery with a harmful weapon; larceny; vandalism; assault and battery; assault and battery with intent to intimidate; and disorderly conduct. has reached out to his legal professional for remark. 

What allegedly occurred at UMass Amherst?

In response to an announcement of information filed Monday in Jap Hampshire District Courtroom, Ercelik’s alleged sufferer — a Jewish scholar — informed police {that a} man “approached him in an aggressive method” towards the top of the occasion, known as him names, and punched him within the face, adopted by a shove and a kick to the abdomen.

One witness who was with the Jewish scholar reportedly informed police that Ercelik noticed the scholar waving a small Israeli flag he’d gotten from the occasion and got here charging out of a constructing, shouting, “You assume you’re so powerful waving a flag, Zionist s—bag, let’s see how powerful you might be once I’m out right here! I’ll get you; you’ll see what happends [sic]!” 

One other witness who was with the group informed police that Ercelik mentioned, “You aren’t allowed to eat pork, so why are you strolling round like fats f—ing pigs” as he confronted them, in keeping with the assertion of information.

One of many witnesses informed police that Ercelik shoved and struck them as they tried to interrupt up the battle, in keeping with the courtroom doc.

Ercelik allegedly ripped the Israeli flag from the Jewish scholar’s arms and commenced destroying it. In response to the assertion of information, the scholar later informed officers he noticed Ercelik stab the flag with what seemed to be a chef’s knife, spit on the flag, and rip up the remnants earlier than throwing them in a trash can. 

The coed didn’t have any marks or bruises following the alleged assault and declined medical consideration, police wrote within the courtroom doc.

Ercelik was launched on bail and ordered to steer clear of campus, in keeping with college officers.

“The coed shall be topic to the authorized penalties of their actions in addition to the Scholar Code of Conduct,” Perdomo-Ahmed and Parham mentioned.

They added: “Antisemitism, Islamophobia, or any type of bigotry don’t have any place in our group, and we’re dedicated to making sure that our group’s engagement with opposing viewpoints is maintained in a respectful method.”

Whereas Perdomo-Ahmed and Parham mentioned there have been “no indications of any credible threats to the UMass group,” they urged college students to report any security considerations to campus police at 413-545-3111, or 911 in an emergency.

‘The disturbing actuality for Jewish college students on campus’

UMass Hillel mentioned it should present further sources for college students “in want of private and communal assist, and companion with all voices of care, civility, and cause on this troublesome time.”

“We all know this incident is disturbing to many people, significantly throughout a time when tensions, emotion and concern are heightened on our campus,” the group’s assertion learn. “However we should not let essentially the most excessive voices and actions create undue worry or dominate the campus local weather.”

The alleged assault at UMass comes as school campuses grapple with heightened rigidity and campus activism surrounding the continuing Israel-Hamas battle. 

Rabbi Jonah Steinberg, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League New England, known as on UMass to create a job pressure or advisory council to deal with Jewish life on campus and to incorporate antisemitism in its variety, fairness, and inclusion programming and new scholar orientation, amongst different steps. 

Friday’s arrest is “the newest proof level that Jewish college students are below assault,” Steinberg mentioned in a statement posted to the social media platform X. “That this occurred on the Jewish Sabbath, instantly following a peaceable gathering held by [UMass Hillel] calling for the return of the almost 300 hostages held by Hamas, is an instance of the disturbing actuality for Jewish college students on campus proper now.”