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Israeli flag vandalized at California university

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(JTA) — An Israeli flag belonging to a Jewish student group was defaced with the word “terrorists” at the University of California, Riverside.

The word was scrawled in pencil near the center of the flag, which was displayed on a hallway bulletin board outside the campus Hillel office, the Los Angeles Times reported. Campus police are investigating the vandalism, which was discovered Tuesday.

“The defacement of any nation’s flag with pejorative characterizations of its people is an insult to every nation and its people," the university’s chancellor, Timothy White, said in a statement. "Such behavior diminishes us all, and we have zero tolerance for it.”

The vandalism follows a campus appearance on March 1 by two Israeli soldiers that drew pro-Palestinian protesters. According to Riverside’s Press-Enterprise, protesters walked out of the event and interrupted the question-and-answer session. The soldiers had come to discuss their army experience.

The campus Hillel director, Adina Hemley, told The Press-Enterprise that it was “a bit of a strange coincidence” that the defacement was discovered days after the event.

Hadil Bashir, the president of the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, condemned the vandalism.

“I think the first thing that came to people’s minds was it’s SJP, due to the friction between Hillel,” she told The Press-Enterprise. “I just want to make it clear, we condemn the act, and we hope the perpetrators are found and are given their deserved punishment."

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