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U. Delaware investigates possible hate crime after pro-Israel display repeatedly vandalized

A display at the University of Delaware of approximately 900 small Israeli flags was completely trashed the night of April 8, leading school officials to investigate possible hate crime charges and assign officers to guard the re-installed display.

The display was vandalized three times in a 24-hour span, according to a report Tuesday in the Newark Post. The student paper The Review, which did not get a report up about the incidents until early Wednesday evening, noted the vandals had since been “identified and reported” to Community Standards & Conflict Resolution.

UD Police Dept. crime logs show the first incident occurred at just before 4:00 pm Monday, with the second about 12 hours later. The third was reported to the UD Community Standards & Conflict Resolution.

The College Fix visited The Green on Wednesday around midday and spoke with Tal Assor of the student group Mishelanu (Hebrew for “one of us”) and a representative UD’s Turning Point USA chapter who asked to remain anonymous.

The students said all 900 flags were uprooted from the Green on Monday night and tossed into the trash. Signs (pictured below) accompanying the flags also were taken down. Members of Mishelanu and Turning Point replanted all the flags and signs on Tuesday.

The Post report states that campus police presence would be increased after the incident; Assor, the TPUSA rep., and The Fix at the time noted only a single officer in view, and was across the street of a major traffic thoroughfare.

A bit later, The Fix asked that officer about the school’s investigation and if there currently are any suspects; he said the investigation was ongoing and there are no suspects as yet.


In an UD email about the incidents provided by to The Fix by the TPUSA representative, Vice President for Student Life José-Luis Riera and Vice President for Institutional Equity Fatimah Conley said those found responsible would be “held accountable for their actions with significant repercussions as guided by University policies and codes of conduct.”

MORE: The past week at Penn: antisemitic projections on campus buildings, theft of Israeli flag

“Please remember that, as a campus community, the University of Delaware values civility, respect and the free expression of ideas. These incidents run counter to our shared values and commitment to student belonging and freedom of expression,” they added.

According to the Post, Riera and Conley had written to students last week regarding the Israel-Hamas war saying they understand “the deep sense of burden that some are carrying in the face of profound loss, war, division and injustices throughout the world and our country,” but warned that “any criminal behavior, acts of violence or discriminatory activities will not be tolerated.”

Late Wednesday afternoon, the TPUSA representative contacted The Fix to report that further vandalism had occurred a short time after the interview.

According to the student, some passersby took down the signs around the flags and “laid them on the ground” whereupon Mishelanu and TPUSA put the signs back up (see UD Police report here).

Another (alleged) student “threw a keffiyeh on a tree nearby” and eventually came back to retrieve it. Yet another “walked by the posters, stared at them, took out a sharpie and wrote ‘14,000 kids dead, Free Palestine, Free Gaza’ on one of the[m].”

In addition, small Palestinian flags were placed in windows of Sharp Lab, which faces The Green.

The UD Police again were called in and the groups associated with the display were told the flags were “one of their top priorities and it is currently the thing they are receiving the most calls about.”

UD Police did not respond to a College Fix request for comment about the suspects in the case.

MORE: Tulane pro-Palestine protest turns violent after attempted Israeli flag-burning

IMAGES: The College Fix

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.