UC Berkeley lecturer denies Oct. 7 massacre, as school faces lawsuit for rampant antisemitism

Following a lawsuit by the Louis D. Brandeis Center against UC Berkeley for unbridled antisemitism, the lecturer claimed the IDF killed its own citizens.

By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner

A lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley has come under fire for claiming that accounts of Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7 — in which Palestinian terrorists murdered over 1,200, mostly civilians — were false.

“The notion that this was a massacre of Jews is a fabricated narrative,” Brooke Lober of UC Berkeley’s Gender and Women Studies Department said on Monday night during a meeting of the city council of Oakland, California. “Many of those killed on Oct. 7, including children, were killed by the [Israel Defense Forces].”

The Oct. 7 onslaught was the deadliest single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.

The Oakland City Council was considering a resolution to call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. During a public comment period about the measure, several residents beyond Lober gave remarks defending Hamas and blaming Israel for last month’s attacks.

Lober’s comments, flagged by the watchdog group StopAntisemitism, came one day before the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, a leading Jewish civil rights group, filed a lawsuit against UC Berkeley alleging that the university has failed to deter and respond to surging antisemitic hatred on campus.

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“This goes beyond wrong-headed political views. It raises questions of academic and professional competence,” Brandeis Center co-founder and chairman Kenneth Marcus told The Algemeiner on Thursday. “It is difficult to imagine any academic standards under which a person capable of uttering such statements could be judged as anything other than unqualified.”

The Brandeis Center’s complaint provided several examples of antisemitic harassment and exclusion at UC Berkeley. These included, among other instances, a bylaw banning Zionists speakers that 23 Berkeley Law groups adopted in Sept. 2021; campus groups Women of Berkeley Law and the Queer Caucus requiring support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel to join its ranks; and the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law, and Justice banning Zionists from submitting articles and speaking at its events.

According to the complaint, the campus environment has worsened since Hamas’ Oct. 7 onslaught across southern Israel, in which the Palestinian terror group not only murdered over 1,200 people but also took more than 240 others as hostages to Gaza.

“This suit targets the longstanding, unchecked spread of antisemitism at the University of California Berkeley, which, following the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, has erupted in on-campus displays of hatred, harassment, and physical violence against Jews,” said the complaint filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday. “Court intervention is now needed to protect students and faculty and to end this antisemitic discrimination and harassment, which violates university policy, federal civil rights law, and the US Constitution.”

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The suit alleged as well that hate mail and death threats have been sent to Jewish students, that Jewish students have opted not to attend class because walking through campus risked encountering angry pro-Palestinian supporters, and that an anti-Israel demonstrator bashed a Jewish student draped in an Israeli flag over the head with a metal water bottle.

A UC Berkeley spokesperson denied the Brandeis Center’s allegations, saying that the school has “long been committed to confronting antisemitism, and to supporting the needs and interests of its Jewish students, faculty, and staff.”

Lober is not the first college professor to make inflammatory statements about Israel and the Jewish people since the Oct. 7 massacre. Last month, for example, Cornell University history professor Russell Rickford called Hamas’ terror onslaught “exhilarating” and “energizing” at a pro-Palestinian rally. He has since taken a leave of absence for the remainder of the semester. Later, the University of California, Davis kept a professor on staff after she appeared to call for violence against Jewish journalists and their children following the Hamas atrocities.

Another professor, Columbia University’s Joseph Massad, said in an op-ed published in Electronic Intifada that Hamas’ invasion was “awesome.” He described the terrorists who para-glided into a music festival in Israel to rape and murder the young people there as “the air force of the Palestinian resistance.

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