Efe Ercelik, a UMass student, has been in the news for the wrong reasons throughout the last few days following an alleged incident with a Jewish We will discuss details of that in this write-up.
Who is Efe Ercelik?
Efe Ercelik is a student at the University of Massachusetts who is now facing charges for allegedly hitting another student at a demonstration.
The incident, according to reports, took place on a Friday night at the end of a vigil organized by UMass Hillel, who were calling for the release of the 240 hostages held captive in Gaza by Hamas. The event included symbolic Shabbat tables with empty seats representing each hostage kidnapped during the Oct. 7 attack in Israel.
According to the reports, Ercelik approached a Jewish student in what they described as an aggressive manner and then taunted him by calling him a little bitch boy before going on to tell him to go home. Efe also reportedly referred to him as a Zionist, according to a statement of facts by law enforcement.
The report continued that Efe Ercelik later physically punched the student when things got intense and also shoved and kicked his stomach area before ripping a small Israeli flag that the Jewish student had been holding, the statement of facts reads. Before the police arrived at the scene, Ercelik took out a knife and stabbed the flag, spitting, ripping, and throwing it in the trash as well. Efe Ercelik has since been arraigned at the Eastern Hampshire District Court on Monday for what they described as punching a Jewish student, according to the court.
Has Efe Ercelik been granted bail?
Efe Ercelik was freed on $250 bail with instructions to stay away from the two victims who were specifically referenced in the report and to stay off the UMass Amherst campus completely. He is, however, expected to reappear in court on January 16.
Israel and the Hamas War: How did it start?
On October 7, 2023, Palestinian militant groups, mainly Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, along with other groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, launched a major attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip with a rocket barrage and vehicle-transported attacks across the border on Israeli communities.
Following the Hamas attack on Israel, the protest group identified as Kaplan Force had cancelled its planned protest against the Israeli judicial reform scheduled for October 7, instead extending support to the IDF amidst the crisis. Other protest groups, like Forum 555 and Brothers in Arms, also urged reservists to serve if called up.
Some construction sites in Jerusalem prohibited Israeli Arabs from entering, including senior managers, stating that only Jews and foreign workers were permitted.
The conflict actually originated with the election of the Islamist political party Hamas in 2005 and 2006 in the Gaza Strip and escalated with the split of the Palestinian Authority Palestinian government into the Fatah government in the West Bank and the Hamas government in Gaza and the violent ousting of Fatah after Fatah lost the election to Hamas.
Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, and the joint Egyptian-Israeli blockade of Gaza have exacerbated the conflict. The international community considers attacks on civilians and civilian structures that do not discriminate between civilians and military targets illegal under international law.
Also, according to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, Israel remains an occupying power under international law.