Stanford students unhappy with Israel-Gaza discourse on campus

Stanford University is supposed to be a safe place for discourse. But students say when it comes to Israel and Gaza, it's anything but.

"It was horrid. I mean it's cruel. It's vicious what's going on here on campus," says Odelia Lorch, a junior who is Jewish.

There were anti-Israel banners on campus and chalk messages too.
Jewish students countered them by putting up photos of Israeli captives.

"We were like this is helping, a little bit of uplifting," Lorch says.

There was also the Stanford lecturer, placed on leave by the university this week after reports he separated Israeli and Jewish students from the rest of a class.

"That is an experience that should not happen to anyone. No one should be identified as part of some group and made to be treated differently in front of peers," says Rabbi Jessica Kirschner, of Hillel Stanford.

University officials issued a statement saying, "Stanford stands unequivocally against hatred..." adding that "thoughtful reasoned discussion of current issues is central to the life of the university."

But students who have spoken out in support of the Palestinians say that's not what they're seeing.

"The disappointing thing is seeing a lot of people trying to intimidate or scare or just make people really uncomfortable especially on the Palestinian side," says Hamza El Boudali, a graduate student who helped author a pro-Palestinian opinion piece for the school newspaper.

Hamza El Boudali says there have been threatening phone calls and messages and that many of his friends fear that speaking out will affect their future.

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"They're putting it on a list, and they're going to say we send this out to employers so you don't get hired," El Boudali says.

Jewish students say they're afraid too. Police are parked in front of the campus Hillel this week.

"People are carrying around pepper spray they're making sure they're equipped. People are scared to leave. I was in my room until i came to this interview. So I'm afraid," says Lorch.

There is a candlelight vigil on campus tonight in support of the Palestinians. A candlelight vigil for Israel was held earlier in the week.