I confess I felt an initial thrill at the reports and videos of Jews displaying their prayer fringes while brawling on the University of California, Los Angeles, campus with the occupants of what is referred to as a “pro-Palestinian encampment.” A Jewish girl had been beaten and hospitalized, and it wasn’t the first anti-Jewish battery of the spring of campus discontent. Now, finally, after weeks of cowering in dorms all over America or whining to college administrators about how unsafe they felt, the Jews were fighting back.

But thrills are not trustworthy guides to decent and humane politics—to the interests of the Jews or the health of the republic. The immediate welfare of Jews, no doubt primary in the minds of the vigilantes, was not promoted by this kerfuffle. Already on Tuesday, the university had told the demonstrators to shove off. The Los Angeles Police Department was not far off. In the meantime, encampments can be circumvented. People can travel in groups and defend themselves, if attacked. The necessity of such measures is an indignity, though a tolerable one.

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