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Protestors clash outside home of Jewish University of Colorado Regent

Protestors clash outside home of Jewish University of Colorado Regent
Protestors clash outside home of Jewish University of Colorado Regent 03:20

Pro-Palestine and pro-Israel protestors spent a hot Father's Day demonstrating outside the Denver-area home of University of Colorado Regent Ilana Spiegel.

This is the second protest outside of a CU regent's home, but this time protestors were outside the Englewood home of Spiegel, who is Jewish. The first one occurred on June 2 at Board of Regents Chair Callie Rennison's home in Superior.

"To be attacked personally for serving in a certain capacity and to have your privacy, to have your family threatened, that's taking it to a level that is beyond disturbing," said Jewish community member Steve Levine.

"This is very personal for us. I live three houses (away); Ilana is our close friend," said Jewish neighbor Rich Sokol. "To come to a quiet residential, peaceful neighborhood on Sunday afternoon on Father's Day to harass Jewish people, that's not legitimate, that's not okay."

Neighbors and supporters of Israel believe the demonstration is antisemitic, and an invasion of privacy.

"There's no question that she's being attacked based on her Judaism," said Levine.

"SDS has nothing but love for the Jewish community. We always like to chant 'Judaism yes, Zionism no,'" said Khalid Hamu, University of Colorado Denver student and media liaison for Denver Students for a Democratic Society.

Pro-Palestinian protestors from Students for a Democratic Society say they're protesting Israel's actions in Gaza and asking the CU Board of Regents to disclose their investment profiles with and divest from ties to Israel.

"No business as usual under a genocide. The Board of Regents at the University of Colorado have shown no willingness to meet with student protestors or even consider anything that they're saying, so we wanna say like, shame on them while there's a genocide going on," said Hamu.

Pro-Israel counter-protestors showed up in far greater numbers.

"They're singing 'Am Israel Chai,' may the people of Israel live! It's a message of hope, it's a message that we are not alone, it's a message that even in the face of fear, we can stand up and find our voice and be together and pray for a better tomorrow," said Rabbi Sarah Shulman with Hebrew Educational Alliance.

But pro-Palestinian demonstrators stood their ground, even as some counter-protesters tried to drown out the students' voices during Hamu's interview with CBS News Colorado.

"The student movement is standing up to injustice at levels that we haven't seen since the Vietnam War and apartheid South Africa. I think the students are really understanding that they can have an effect on the system and that they can see change... Then you have a lot older crowd of less diverse people who are trying to really clamp down on peaceful protestors so I think the facts kinda speak for themselves," said Hamu.

Arapahoe County Sheriff's deputies stood by to monitor the demonstration. A vehicle with its plates covered sped by the protest honking, and deputies pulled the driver over. According to the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, the driver was cooperative and they let him go. They say while tensions were high, the protest remained peaceful.

"I think that there is always common ground; we are all human and yet I think there's an incredible divide," said Shulman.

Spiegel shared the following statement regarding the protest at her home:

"I am grateful to law enforcement for protecting me and my family and for people who shared what it means to be Jewish: peace, joy, and building a world of love. 

Targeting me and my family, American Jews and descendants of Holocaust survivors at my personal home is un-American. It was and is blatant, brazen and dangerous antisemitism, which we as Americans cannot tolerate. 

The Board of Regents has not ignored the demands of protestors. We said: "No regent is offering any policy changes in response to the demands." In my opinion, that is saying NO. The decades-old Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement they are part of aims to dismantle the Jewish state and end the right to Jewish self-determination. It forbids people-to-people exchanges, dialogue opportunities, or interactions between those with opposing viewpoints. It is antithetical to the ideals of higher education as a marketplace of ideas."

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