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PREDICTABLE VIOLENCE: A TIMELINE OF INCIDENTS AT THE UCLA PRO-PALESTINE ENCAMPMENT

May 15, 2024 by SEAN BECKNER-CARMITCHEL | KATE BURNS

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At the University of California Los Angeles, pro-Israel counter-protesters consistently disrupted and then attacked a Gaza solidarity encampment during the week of April 25th through May 1st. Some of those counter-protesters and their attacks have ties with violent hate groups. Another was a Los Angeles City Council candidate. One key figure is married to Jerry Seinfeld. Who are these people?

LCRW has erected a timeline which also identifies key figures to show how conflicts began and continued to escalate. First, a few shouting at the camp and scuffles at the outskirts. Then, a few dozen having a rally outside the camp; counter-protesters spat on National Lawyer’s Guild legal observers and a flag of a pro-Jewish terrorist group was flown. Then, the AntiDefamation League’s president spoke at a large rally. A group of a few dozen stalked the outskirts of the encampment while at the rally, sexually harassing a woman and then attempting an assault on the encampment. Then, nearly a hundred people sustained assaults while attackers screamed racial epithets for hours.

Violence towards pro-Palestinian demonstrators and the press escalated nearly every day. This timeline shows that for nearly a week, rhetoric and violence increased in a predictable manner. Despite this, LA Mayor Karen Bass said the attacks “came out of nowhere.” Multiple reports have shown that UCLA and City Officials repeatedly dropped the ball to plan for a potential attack on campus protesters for days despite being requested to do so.

While the encampments nationwide’s demands have been varied, the protests have been nearly exclusively non-violent requests for colleges to divest funding and expenditures in Israel.

Israel continues a war it claims is against Hamas in response to attacks on October 7th last year but has been largely focused on civilians living in Gaza. Nearly 5% of the population in Gaza was killed or seriously injured as of this writing. Even Israel has admitted that more than half of those they’ve killed have been civilians. The Gaza Health Ministry states that more than 34,000 people were killed as of May 4th.

DAY ONE: APRIL 25

On April 25th, students at UCLA launched their encampment in between Royce and Haines Hall. Tents began to go up later that day. The first day brought about a dozen counter-protesters to the encampment. Counter-protesters shouted and a few times aggressively tried to push their way into the encampment, but were mostly blocked by human chains. Shoving between sides began when a man with a graying beard appears to have attempted to touch the groin of a pro-Palestinian demonstrator while another shoved an Israeli flag in their face. Video of the incident is viewable here around the one-hour mark.

Lani Mekeel, a current Wisconsin resident, told the LA Times that she was visiting LA and is a former Los Angeles resident. She told the Times in an interview that “she’d heard about violence against Jewish students, and referenced a video of a girl who was attacked.” Mekeel, a Native American, arrived with a sign reading: “Hamas supporters are not welcome on Native land.” During the scuffle, she’d be blocked from entering the encampment- a man put his back to her and pushed. Video of the exchange would later go viral, receiving more than 4 million views on Twitter and countless more on Telegram and Instagram. Many of the comments on the videos would receive comments threatening the camp or accusing them of being “pro-Hamas.”

University police mostly stayed out of the confrontations, but at times private security there were seen getting in between particularly heated arguments. In addition to the makeshift barricade protesters began to erect, the University put up a metal barricade around the encampment.

A man identified by online sleuths as Nouri Mehdizadeh carried a sign and walked through the camp. When a woman attempted to remove his sign, he shoved her into a tent. He’d spend the next few days antagonizing the camp; at least once threatening the crowd with a knife.

Matin Mehdizadeh would be seen attempting to get into the encampment in an attempt at a counter-protest alongside Nouri. He’d be rejected and pushed out as well. LCRW was unable to confirm if the two are related.

Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP) hosted a Passover Seder in the camp, while new encampment members were welcomed to check in, get involved in various “art build & art making” projects and visit the encampment’s “people’s library”.

DAY TWO, APRIL 26

A significantly larger and more aggressive group of pro-Israel demonstrators arrived throughout the day. More aggressive moves towards the protest encampment followed. The pro-Israel group was more organized, included a neo-Nazi and had numerous other ties to local far-right movements. The majority of the crowd danced and occasionally yelled anti-Palestinian or anti-Islamic chants.

A group of young-looking men walked the outskirts of an encampment harassing people. At multiple points during the day they ripped posters off of barricades. One member of the group spat on a National Lawyer’s Guild legal observer then claimed to be infected with COVID-19. Another asked to see the penises of LGBTQ people in the camp.

At least one person, Yahoud Oren Younessian, brought the flag of the terror group Jewish Defense League and would also bring it to another counter-protest on Sunday. He arrived with a license plate saying “IDF1FAN,” and dual wielded flags: the Israeli Defense Force and the Israeli flag.

Photo of Younessian at the event from his social media.

Younessian is a real estate broker who regularly espouses views associated with the far right: On one of his Facebook pages, he calls himself a “Proud Father, Zionist and Patriotic American. Hater of political correctness, leftism and idiots.” His twitter includes a retweet of right-wing comedian Rob Schneider asking people to sign a petition to put a bill which would force schools to out transgender children to their parents. Social media accounts suggest that he’s been using JDL imagery since at least 2018 but when asked by LCRW claimed that he uses it because he “like[s] the symbolism of the fist”.

One pro-Israel student, Eli Tsives, danced next to a JDL flag and laughed when a speaker implied that all of the Gaza Solidarity protesters were on welfare. Hours later, he’d later grab internet fame by making videos attempting to get through entrances to the encampment then being turned away. The video received over 2.8 million views. Many would point to this video online, claiming that the encampment was “blocking Jews from getting to class.” Days after that, he’d loudly demand he go through protesters attempting to block him from entering a lecture hall nearby. As he yelled that the area was a “border wall,” other students can be seen in the frame of the video walking through without incident. He’d return to the encampment several times over the next few days, bringing a canister of bear mace.

After counter-demonstrators brought a bushel of bananas to the camp, several within the camp asked them to remove them because a protester was heavily allergic. Afterwards, eating bananas became something of a meme amongst Los Angeles pro-Israel social media accounts. For days afterward, counter-demonstrators would make a point to bring or eat bananas near the encampment.

Narek Palyan at an anti-trans rally. Photo Credit: Vishal Singh

Narek Palyan attended. Palyan has been commonly associated with members of the Proud Boys and the anti-LGBTQ Leave Our Kids Alone movement. He has on numerous occasions used neo-Nazi imagery on social media as well as insinuating calls for the extermination of a litany of groups including a pro-Transr Glendale parent group, members of the Glendale City Council and Jewish people in general. He’d later go on to watch the attack on the UCLA encampment, and converse with several assailants.

Manuk Grigorian, a leader within the SoCal “Leave Our Kids Alone” (LOKA) arrived that day as well according to The Guardian. Grigorian has made a name for himself appearing on the likes of Fox news and often invokes centuries old anti-LGBTQ language by calling those he doesn’t agree with a “groomer.” Grigoryan has been working closely with Palyan over the past year, particularly in anti-Trans activism in Glendale via LOKA. The Guardian also reported he’d arrive shortly before the large scale assault on the encampment.

Campus security would stay outside the barricades throughout the day. At several points they’d position bicycles in between shouting matches.

DAY THREE & four, april 27-28

A GoFundMe was started by a “Nathan Mo,” for a pro-Israel demonstration at the encampment on Sunday, April 28th. This appears to be Nathan Moghavem, a real estate developer in Beverly Hills. The GoFundMe would go on to raise $97,000 as of this writing. Many of those funds were raised after the counter-protest occurred. Moghavem did not return requests for clarity on how those funds would be used. GoFundMe would not return requests for comment on whether or not the policies of its term of use were broken at the Sunday counter-protest or Tuesday attacks.

The fundraiser’s page would later claim that donors would be made anonymous. Jessica Seinfeld, wife of Jerry Seinfeld and cookbook author, donated $5,000. The organizer eventually got around to making all donors anonymous and would ask people to donate anonymously days later.

Eventually, the GoFundMe would list the organizer as “The Bear Jews of Truth.” That instagram page posted many videos and photos deriding the encampment protests. The page also posted a video containing masked demonstrators cheering law enforcement’s sweep of the encampment.

Another GoFundMe, from a “Dani M,” claims to raise money for “Loud Video Displays of Oct 7 Truths on Campus.” It’s currently requesting donations and raised more than $50,000 as of writing. It advertises Bear Jews of Truth (TBJT) as a collaborator. TBJT have since claimed responsibility for erecting a screen and USC, where an AI voice is being used to project their message “Attention anti-semites, we are not leaving”

A widely circulated flyer asked counter-demonstrators to “stand in support of Jewish students,” on April 28th. Its sponsors were well-funded Jewish organizations like Club Z, JFEDLA and the Israeli American Council as partners. In small text, it says “*this will be a peaceful gathering.” despite multiple breakouts of violence from the pro-Israel crowd that day. The JDL slogan “never again is now!” would be displayed on the flyer.
Sam Yebri, a failed city council candidate in 2022, was one of those leading the call. The post lists the United Jewish Coalition and “The Persian Jewess,” a pro-Israel influencer. As of writing, it has more than 700 likes. His instagram posts over the past few weeks, many accusing campus encampments of being “pro-Hamas,” had several comments encouraging violence which have been deleted. One comment still up read “ship them Gaza one way they won’t need the return flight.” Another said “Dude what happens if you PUSH THROUGH??? ITS NOT LIKE THERES ANY POLICE!!!!!!”

DAY four & ive, APRIL 28-29

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Hundreds of counter-protesters descended upon UCLA’s Dickson Court on April 28th. Attendees included families bringing children and blowing bubbles. It would also bring pro-Trump demonstrators, as well as people bringing padded gloves and swinging punches at pro-Palestinian demonstrators. 
Pro-Israell protesters erected Moghavem’s promise of a very large tv screen and audio setup which faced the encampment. While that day it would be used to broadcast the speakers, it would later be used to play scenes from the October 7th attacks by Hamas. Sounds of gunshots and screams could be heard on campus grounds hundreds of feet away. A student told LCRW that it could even be heard within classrooms nearby during finals week.

Man wears Israeli flag to cover up a shirt with fascist imagery, headbutted reporter.
Photo Credit: Sean Beckner-Carmitchel

A few dozen pro-Palestinian demonstrators would march into the counter-protesters’ area. While there, they were pushed and shoved away. One man, wearing an American flag gaiter, was particularly aggressive and attempted to start fights repeatedly. After noticing that one of the authors of this piece was filming him, he demanded the author delete the footage and violently attempted to steal the author’s phone.

The Israeli-American Council (IAC) and their executive director, Elan Carr joined The Anti Defamation Legue (ADL) and its CEO Jonathan Greenblatt to headline the pro-israel rally at UCLA’s Dickson Court.

“Look at this scene” Greenblatt declared to the pro-Israel crowd, “They wear Masks, we wear our hearts on our sleeve, they hide behind signs, we wave our flags proudly. Because they know that in the end, they’re evil and their fascism will not win and we know, Am Yisrael Chai”  

After Greenblatt took to the stage, scuffles and fights broke out, one specifically caught on camera as the US national anthem was being performed on stage and continuing through the Israeli national anthem.

Eventually, pro-Palestinian demonstrators left the area of Dickson Court and went to the street on the outskirts of where counter-demonstrators had staked their claim. Many of the pro-Israel protesters followed, and continued exchanging taunts. Several times, the pro-Israeli crowd began to push themselves into the pro-Palestinian area. Multiple times, the pro-Israeli crowd made large pushes into the pro-Palestinian crowd in attempts to steal large signs. One man jumped on the shoulders of people into the crowd and launched his fists into the pro-Palestinian crowd.

A pro-Israel demonstrator would continue the theme of mentions of sexual violence on the campus throughout the week, telling pro-Palestinian demonstrators that “I hope they rape you.”

At one point, several demonstrators from both sides showed signs of being pepper sprayed. LCRW wasn’t able to verify how this occurred.

Renato Ackermann was present filming Sunday. Ackermann, according to his LinkedIn, is an LAFD CERT coordinator. He also participated in a demonstration in support of far-right former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, making false and conspiratorial claims

Ackermann often posts selfies at events for JFEDLA, Los Angeles Fire Department and the FBI. He also has posted anti-Palestinian memes throughout the last few months. Much of Ackermann’s current employment status couldn’t be verified at press time. He claims to be a graduate of both the FBI and LAPD academies, but this could not be verified. Ackermann is a member of Magen Am, an armed security service which provides security in Los Angeles and works closely with LAPD.

David Kaminsky was by identified by online sleuths as the man hurling racist slurs and spitting on pro-Palestinian protesters as he entered the ADL/IAC sponsored event. Kaminsky, a professional Boxer and owner of Kaminsky boxing gym has since deleted his personal Instagram page. As of writing his business page is still active, however the comments have been deactivated.

The lack of response from the ADL/AIC in the aftermath allowed the counter-protesters to feel more emboldened, and easily could have been a factor in the larger and more violent groups descending on the campus in the days that followed. The ADL did not respond to a request for comment regarding the presence of the JDL flag, which the ADL previously filed a profile of under “extremism, terrorism & bigotry.”
Also in attendance were local “Beverly Hills Freedom Rally,” mainstays Shiva Bagheri, Jairo Rodriguez, Travis Whitcher, Anthony Contreras and Mike Ancheta. During pushing matches, Rodriguez could be seen pushing pro-Palestinian protesters from behind. Whitcher mostly stuck to playing his hits – screaming in a high-pitched rant about how everyone nearby with a camera is part of an antifascist conspiracy to film him while he looks directly into their cameras.

Damn, that’s a pretty big sword tbh
Photo Credit: Sean Beckner-Carmitchel

While pro-Palestinian protesters went on a march, one man arrived brandishing a large sword designed to emulate the biblical Sword of Solomon. Police would detain him nearly immediately.

A group of people spent much of the following hours lingering around the west wall of UCLA’s encampment, many masked. Several would repeatedly attempt to shove their way into the encampment. Many would spend a portion of the day threatening people walking past. Some of it would include slurs against women and LGBTQ people. That group included Nouri Mehdizadeh. Nouri Mehdizadeh was also filmed assisting with the setup of the large video screens on the counter-protester side of things.

Mike Ancheta, well-known for making threats against press and leftist demonstrators, would challenge one of the authors of this piece to mutual combat, which was declined.

Rony Yehuda carried a Chabad-Lubavitch flag while wearing a mask. Yehuda continued to scream repeatedly on the steps leading up to the encampment. He’d be identified by Harim Uzziel in an instagram post calling him “my homie.” Uzziel, whose real name appears to be Vargas, was an organizer for the oft-dangerous Beverly Hills Freedom Rallies of 2020. Yehuda is also a rapper who goes under the name “Judah Fire.”

DAY five & six, APRIL 29-30

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Several counter-demonstrators arrived at the west wall of the UCLA encampment attempting to breach it by force. Both held bags with unknown contents. One of those counter-demonstrators was detained briefly and another fled the scene. Nouri Mehdizadeh was filmed in an altercation at the same wall.

A group, at first about 10 but which grew throughout the night, began walking around the college and playing loud sounds via megaphone. The loud sounds included babies crying, sirens and a rendition of “Meni Mamtera.” The repetitive children’s song has become something of a meme in Israel due to unverified reports of it being used to torture Hamas prisoners taken by Israel, as well as its singer voicing calls to burn villages throughout Gaza. Some in the crowd covered their faces and responded in a hostile manner to people filming them.

The group would gradually grow, and would sexually harass at least one woman that shouted “free Palestine,” at them for nearly a full minute straight.

Once the crowd swelled to about 50 people, they made their way to a side gate of the encampment. Running up to the barricade, a group succeeded in ripping a wooden palette from the entrance to the encampment. Several ripped items away from the pro-Palestinian demonstrators who had mobilized to the front of the encampment. Several could be heard openly discussing that their plan was to incite chaos and violence near the encampment and force police to shut down the encampment.

Eventually, the encampment protesters would begin moving the barricade towards the counter-demonstrators. Some of the counter-protesters would run away, but most would remain and the mood became self-congratulatory. LCRW reporters saw some pro-Israel demonstrators exchanging contact information.

Harassment by the pro-israel mob of those photographing and documenting the event was rampant. One protester, who wore a purple sweatshirt and was covering his face, batted an author of this piece’s phone away from his hands and used an anti-gay slur multiple times during the confrontation with the encampment. Another blew a sharp whistle directly into an author of this piece’s ear. Others spent minutes shining flashing lights into Daily Bruin reporters’ faces.

It took 26 minutes from the time that counter-demonstrators kicked over the first metal barricade to the time that University of California police would arrive. Afterwards, a smaller group of the same counter-protesters would move back to an area of Dickson Court and continue to make loud noises and occasional threats. Several could be heard saying that they would be back.

DAY SIX & seven, april 30-may 1

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Earlier in the day on April 30th, Nouri Mehdizadeh would be photographed with a message on his phone that read “enjoy tonight.”

As the sun began to set over UCLA, a crowd of pro-Israel counter protestors would continue to grow into a mob. Witnesses told LCRW that several of the attackers were wearing American flags like capes and appeared to be discussing plans for the night while drinking at nearby Luskin Hall. The witnesses described them draping the American flags on their backs in a similar manner to the attackers later that night. The Gaza Solidarity camp continued with their regular programing, but as the night progressed they would be forced to defend themselves from hundreds who’d arrived to attack them.

Around 10pm the energy shifted and pro-Israel demonstrators became emboldened; air raid sirens and the Israeli national anthem blared into the encampment. One man screamed “where is your master?” to someone inside the encampment.

Shortly after, William Gude, better known as “Film the Police LA,” uploaded a video to Twitter/X of the group surrounding the encampment. Temporary fences separating the mob from the students were still intact and a security firm hired by the university was standing between the groups. Over a sound amplifier operated by the pro-Israel group a crying baby wailed loudly throughout the area. In a Twitter/X post, Gude called it “torturous”.

Around 11pm pro-Israel demonstrators escalated. They began to pull away fencing surrounding the encampment. Some were armed with metal poles, planks of wood, bear mace, knives and tennis rackets. In Gude’s livestream, one counter protesters can be heard saying “we’re ending this today motherfuckers.” Once through the fence, they began their attack on the encampment itself. Pro-Israel protesters began to rip pieces away from the camp’s protective wooden barricade.

There were hundreds of incidents of violence over a period of hours; nearly all of them were committed by the mob.

More loud sounds were played with clips from Youtube shock comedian Filthy Frank, “Paranoid,” by Black Sabbath and the film Good Morning Vietnam. A selection from “Stop Snitchin” by YG which features a racial epithet for black people was played. Meni Mamtera would make a return on repeat.

Security guards on the ground retreated, leaving the students to fend for themselves. Pro-Israel demonstrators shot fireworks into the camp several times; at least one landed and detonated on the ground inside the camp. Every time a firework was launched screams could be heard echoing from the camp. At least two were shot from a mortar by a man who appears to be Matin Mehdizadeh.

Narek Palyan watched from the sidelines, appearing to be pleased with the mayhem unfolding.

As the violence increased, so did the racial slurs. The mob could be heard shouting “Get the fuck out of our county”, “go back home you fucking terrorists” while also chanting “USA, USA.” Some in the crowd screamed ‘Second nakba!” Nakba, the Arabic word for “catastrophe”, refers to the 1948 mass displacement and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians during what’s commonly also known as the “Arab-Israeli war”. Younessian was caught on camera screaming a racial epithet for black people towards the camp.

Liel Asharian was involved in numerous assaults during the night, and was also identified by online sleuths. He’d claim to the New York Times that he arrived to have a conversation with the encampment  and was pepper sprayed and called racial slurs for Jewish people. LCRW was unable to find any evidence of that claim. Wielding a tennis racket, he committed and attempted several assaults. He threw a traffic cone into a crowd. He’d throw multiple large objects directly at people within the encampment. It’s unclear how or why Asharian would bring a tennis racket that night.

A lone pro-Palestinian protester was surrounded by the violent group as he stood in front of the camp’s wall. 

“Pussy ass bitch, pussy NPC, no place in this world, fuck you!’ and “why are you out here by yourself,” members of the crowd shouted before they clubbed him and threw traffic cones at him. 

Another pro-Israel demonstrator grabbed him by the shirt and hair, then dragged him to the ground. The pro-Palestine protester was then beaten by several men using rods, wooden planks, kicks and fists. Someone can be heard screaming “stop, stop.”

At various points the group turned their attention to journalists and photographers. In one video a group surrounds Jack Ross, an LA Public Press reporter and began asking them if they have “been to Gaza.” Another said, “we should send him there.” As the interaction continued, another member of the mob can be seen with a cell phone asking “Why are you even here, just another dummy, right? Another stupid guy, no fucking brain, right?” another called the reporter a “terrorist.” 

One man who claimed he’s a law student at UCLA stated in Gude’s live stream that he , was photographing and had his phone knocked out of his hands then was punched in the mouth.

Mehdizadeh would be seen at multiple moments throughout the night as part of the mob. LCRW could not verify he’d seen legal or academic repercussions for any of his actions throughout the day or any leading up to it.

Rony Yehuda would once again bring the flag of Chabad-Lubavitch, with multiple pro-Israel accounts identifying him as being there. Much of the night, he encouraged the crowd, shouting into a black megaphone,“never again is now.”

A young-looking pro-Israel participant wearing a white mask and a sweatsuit would stalk the green for hours, hitting several people with blunt objects. LCRW saw him leaving in front of police officers without being questioned despite several of those assaults happening in their view. He has yet to be identified.

Tom Bibiyan, the founder of Bibyan entertainment, would later go on social media to brag about an incident where he participated in storming and attacking the encampment, saying on his Instagram page “the moment we rushed the terrorist encampment last night at UCLA to take it apart.” A man appearing to be Bibian is heard uttering racial slurs as he attacks. Throwing a bottle at a gray-haired woman in front of the gate was so egregious, even the pro-Israel mob which had been assaulting people for hours at that point voiced concern.

Bibiyan has been a gadfly at Southern California political events throughout the years. Formerly a Green Party activist, he was stabbed in 2016 by a neo-Nazi at an Anaheim rally and blamed the racist atmosphere that Donald Trump was often associated with at the time. By 2019, Bibiyan was posting pro-Trump memes and using the Q-Anon hashtag #wwg1wga. He’s also posted a significant amount of anti-trans, anti-rape victim and pro-Marilyn Manson items on social media. A year ago, he briefly attempted to make news by claiming on podcasts that he was a Manson accuser’s ex boyfriend and that she was fabricating evidence against him. Bibiyan provided very little evidence for either claim.

Bibiyan doubled down on his involvement, posting a now-deleted Michael Jordan meme to his social media captioned ”fuck them kids” and then posting a racial epithet on Twitter..

Even after California Highway Patrol and LAPD officers arrived, violence continued. Both law enforcement agencies hung back at one end of Dickson Court observing some of the most egregious acts of the entire night. A metal barricade was launched by the pro-Israel mob onto a man. One pro-Palestine demonstrator was left bloodied on the face after several attacked with sticks and planks. Younessian threw objects at a woman that appeared to be in her 50s.

The violence would go on for hours, and according to social media and personal accounts, leave a devastating impact on the psyche of students throughout the campus. Police would take hours to arrive, later claiming that this attack was unforeseeable. 
Even after law enforcement cleared the area in front of the encampment. Dolores Quintana, Santa Monica Mirror reporter, posted pictures of injuries sustained by an attack consisting of blows and bear spray. Matin Mehdizadeh appears to be one of those attackers. In the post, Quintana implies the same group may have been responsible for the attacks on Daily Bruin reporters. LCRW heard a scream in the same direction as the mob went in after the attack on Quintana. It appeared to be at the same time Daily Bruin reporters stated they were attacked.

AFTERWARDS

The LA times reported that ”On the morning before a mob attacked a pro-Palestinian student encampment at UCLA, campus Police Chief John Thomas assured university leadership that he could mobilize law enforcement “in minutes” — a miscalculation from the three hours it took to actually bring in enough officers to quell the violence, according to three sources.” 

As of writing, none of the April 30th participants have been arrested or academically disciplined. All on-campus classes would be canceled or brought online for days in the aftermath.

On May 1st and into the early hours of the next morning over 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators would be arrested by police clearing the camp. At least one participant in the attacks cheered from Dickson Court.

Days after that, UCLA announced that Rick Braziel, former Sacramento police chief, would serve in a new role overseeing public safety at the university. Braziel previously assisted in government reviews of several controversial law enforcement responses including the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas riots/protests in Ferguson, Missouri; and the shootout with former police officer Christopher Dorner in Los Angeles, California. 

Controversy would continue after 44 people were arrested (including an author of this piece) in a parking lot.

In the week following the event there has been a large effort by major news outlets and pro-Israel social media accounts to spin the violence as a two sided event and to underplay the attacks. TV host  Phil McGraw, better known as “Dr. Phil,” spent time at UCLA’s campus the day after the attack. Dr Phil’s focus was largely on voices against the encampment, the “takedown of UCLA camp,” and complaining that no one from the Gaza encampment would speak to him. 

In the segment released Friday the 10th of May, Dr. Phil can be seen interviewing a selected group of Jewish students about their experience on Campus during the time of the encampment. Eli Tsves, mentioned earlier in this piece as an instigator carrying bear mace, making viral videos of him not being allowed into the encampment and dancing around the JDL flag, was interviewed. Dr. Phil didn’t mention the JDL flag.

Dean Golan Cohen was also interviewed in the piece, claiming he had been the victim of dehumanization and that he has to “explain why we have the right to live, and why we even have the right to even exist, and people on the other side are chanting death to you.” Cohen was identified as a student at University of California- Riverside, nearly 70 miles away. He also identified himself as an IDF reservist in the Dr. Phil piece.

On the first day of the encampment, Cohen arrived with a group telling encampment protestors “go back inside, you touch one of us and im going to fucking beat you.” Cohen then went on to say “you step out and say ‘oh why they are touching us’, go back like you did in Gaza, you stepped out and then youre crying why you are losing, go back, go back, go fucking back.”

On Friday the 10th of may, the ADL referred to the violence carried out by the pro-israeli mob on the 30th in minimalist tones. They stated they’ve  tracked an increase of phrases “depicting Zionists as violent, subhuman or mob-like”. The ADL noted an increase of related phrases used on Twitter/X of over “1,600% from [the day of the violent assault].” In the thread they link an article from the LA times stating “the spike appears to be in part to a violent confrontation on April 30 at the UCLA campus between Anti-Israel encampment protestors and counter-protestors that included physical attacks.”

Eric Levai contributed to this report.

KATE BURNS

Christofascism and Extremism researcher living in Southern California. Originally from so-called Australia-Taungurung proud.

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