Pro-Palestine protesters disrupted a College Republicans event at the University of California, Irvine Thursday, using a megaphone to drown out five members of the Israeli Defense Forces.
Roughly one hour into the event, a group of about 10 anti-Zionists entered the room, causing the IDF soldiers to pause their speech until the protesters had taken their seats.
“Where were we?” asked one of the IDF soldiers. “I believe you were talking about how you murder kids,” responded one of the protesters who had just entered the room, and immediately the chants began: “IDF what do you say, how many kids have you killed today?,” “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “All the walls have got to go, from Palestine to Mexico.”
Campus police began to eject the disruptors one by one, but they simply gathered right outside the room’s doors, chanting “Long live the Intifada” until the event was over.
Unable to be heard over the chanting, the IDF soldiers held up a sign that said, “Do you want to talk or do you want to shout?”
The College Republicans say they invited the IDF soldiers to provide an alternative perspective to the “Anti-Zionist Week” that takes place annually at UC Irvine, which features a wall officially dubbed the “Anti-Zionist Wall,” but which has been nicknamed the “Wall of Hate” by some students.
The wall, which is erected by Students for Justice in Palestine along with the Muslim Student Union, details the alleged “crimes of Israel” against Palestine, but cites no sources.
“The College Republicans at UCI invited prior members of the Israeli Defense Force to offer their perspective on the Israel-Palestine conflict. During the meeting, instead of offering questions, several individuals supporting leftist ideas of the destruction of Israel stood with a megaphone and began to chant over the panel,” UCI College Republicans President Kimo Gandall told Campus Reform. “We thoroughly condemn this blatantly illegal practice of disrupting a peaceful assembly. Such a practice prevents the civil facilitation of discourse, something that seems all too common on university campuses.”
The IDF soldiers, meanwhile, said that they support both Palestinians and Israelis, and want peace between the two sides, explaining that they decided to speak at UC Irvine because they believe the students erecting the wall are not pro-Palestine, but anti-Zionist, and they wanted to correct the untruths being purported as facts.
“Every year they try to shut us down,” noted Students Supporting Israel President Kevin Brum, referencing a violent 2016 incident and a 2017 incident where pro-Israel events were shut down by Muslim and Palestinian student groups at UC Irvine.
“Every year they chant for Intifada—terrorism and death to Israeli and Jewish civilians—and every year the administration and the police bow and pay homage to Students for Justice in Palestine while blaming us for having the audacity to be Jewish and/or Pro-Israel on a college campus,” Brum continued. “They say they care about student safety yet they protect the group calling for terrorism. The message they send is clear: support Hamas and enjoy full protection and support, but support Israel and that crosses the line.”
Administrators who were present at the event told Campus Reform it is unlikely that UCI will take disciplinary action against the protesters because no arrests were made and the protesters did not identify themselves as students or members of a recognized student group.
UPDATE: UCI provided the following statement to Campus Reform confirming that it does not plan to investigate the protesters:
“We do not plan to investigate, based on the information we have at this time. To our knowledge, the protestors were not UCI students, so there will not be a student conduct review. They also cooperated with our police officers and complied with their request to leave the meeting.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Ariana_Rowlands
First published at Campus Reform
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