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Police shield Jewish professor as raucous pro-Palestinian protest ‘escalated into violence’

‘Protestors obstructed entrances, called for ‘intifada,’ clashed with law enforcement’

A guest lecture by a Jewish professor on Monday at San Jose State University turned physical when police were forced to contain a rowdy crowd of protesters and protect the scholar as he exited the building, pictures and video posted on social media show.

Cal State Long Beach history Professor Jeffrey Blutinger gave a talk at SJSU billed as “exploring next steps toward peace in the Middle East” and titled “Constructing a Just Solution: Where Israelis and Palestinians Go From Here.”

According to a memo sent Tuesday by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, the event “was moved to a different location, but within 20 minutes of the lecture starting, the protests grew too large [and Bluntinger] had to stop speaking and leave via police escort for safety concerns.”

The Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco and Contra Costa counties posted on X a couple of pictures and videos of a protest spawned by the lecture, including a 12-second video taken inside a hallway in which police can be seen yelling “back up” to protesters and using their arms and bodies to impede demonstrators’ progress as some shoving and a bit of chaos ensues.

Another picture shows Blutinger leaving the building flanked by at least three officers.

“Earlier today at @SJSU, a planned protest against guest speaker Prof. Jeffrey Blutinger’s talk on achieving peace in the Middle East through a two-state solution escalated into violence. Protestors obstructed entrances, called for ‘intifada,’ and clashed with law enforcement,” the council stated in a post on X.

“Their message? To show that ‘Zionists are not welcome here.’ To ensure the safety of Prof. Blutinger, an armed escort was necessary for his departure. The intimidation tactics employed against a Jewish speaker are deeply troubling. We urge @SJSU to take action to ensure the safety of our Jewish community on campus.”

A screenshot of protesters’ organization materials stated: “Come early, bring signs and kufeyyas. Show SJSU that Zionists are not welcome here. SJSU has invited to speak on Palestine in the midst of a genocide.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, the mainstream Mercury News regional newspaper and the student newspaper The Spartan Daily had yet to report on the melee.

SJSU’s Jewish Studies Program had hosted the event. Blutinger is director of the Jewish studies program at California State Long Beach.

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IMAGE: X screenshot

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.