Disruption as a tactic moves to the forefront of campus war on Israel.
The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement always has used disruption and intimidation on campus as a tactic to initimidate Israeli and pro-Israel speakers and students on campus. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is a leader in this regard, but hardly alone.
There have been two developments in the past year or two.
First, using the intellectual pretext of “intersectionality,” anti-Israel coalitions are build based upon (i) explicitly racial criteria of opposing “white settler colonialism,” and (ii) co-opting unrelated social justice causes, such as Black Lives Matter and even rape crisis groups.
Second, as reflected in our reporting and a recent study, disruption has become the preferred tactic, as divestment and other such efforts prove futile even when passed by student governments. Just today, for example, a boycott resolution which had passed the McGill University student assembly was voted down in an all-campus vote, Anti-Israel Boycott Resolution goes down in flames at McGill University.
We have reported on several such recent disruptions, including at University of Minnesota Law School, UT-Austin, Kings College (London), U. Windsor and an LGBTQ Shabbat Event in Chicago. Even events that are not disrupted are protested, such as the appearance of actor Michael Douglas and human rights hero Natan Sharansky at Brown University
The purpose of the disruption is to make it uncomfortable to express pro-Israel feelings in public on campus. And on many campuses, such as Vassar and Oberlin, pro-Israel students are silenced for fear of being singled out. Pro-BDS faculty put their thumbs on the scale by co-sponsoring blatantly anti-Israel events.
Now we have another example of the disruption tactic.
At the University of South Florida, a lecture by two Israeli army reservists was disrupted by protesters. (Since most Israeli Jews serve in the army, most 20-something Israeli Jews are “reservists” after active service ends).
Ynet News reports:
A group of BDS supporters disrupted a lecture by two Israeli students at the University of South Florida earlier this week….
The Israeli students, Shir and Yitzhak, gave a lecture to American students on behalf of StandWithUs, an organization working for Israeli hasbara (public relations) abroad, in order to “present the humane side of the IDF.”
During the lecture on Wednesday, some 25 supporters of the boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel entered the lecture hall waving Palestinian flags and banners, interrupted the lecturers, and shouted at them.
“As part of the organization’s (StandWithUs) program, IDF reservists go abroad and tell their personal stories,” said Shir, a student of Political Science and Communications at Tel Aviv University, who served in Military Intelligence.
“When we got to the University of South Florida, we encountered serious disturbances. Two minutes after I started talking, the Palestinian activists got up and left, and then came in again, and left again. They tried to interrupt us in whatever way they could. They came in with Palestinian flags and banners. They had no interest in having a dialogue with us.”
Yitzhak, a civil engineering student at the Technion, added: “They had no interest in listening to us. They didn’t stop going out and coming back in, in an effort to interrupt, and when one person got up during the Q&A and started with ‘I respect you,’ one of the activists called out ‘How dare you say this?’ and shouted at us, telling us we’re murderers and child killers. Police forces that were there had to take him out….
Shir added that “When we left and walked to the cars, they waited for us outside. A group of people holding banners and flags and shouting at us: ‘Murderers, immoral, terrorists, how do you sleep at night?’ Police had to escort us to the car.”
WATCH: BDS supporters disrupt pro-Israel lecture at Florida universityhttp://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4771409,00.html
Posted by Ynetnews on Saturday, February 27, 2016
There was another disruption almost simultaneously at Florida International University, where anti-Israel protesters stated a walk-out on a speech by Israeli U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon:
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, gave a talk to students at Florida International University (FIU) yesterday (Friday).
A group of pro-Palestinian activists walked out in protest while Danon was speaking about the situation in Gaza. “Hamas in Gaza is planning for the next conflict with Israel, building attack tunnels and purchasing weapons technology and rockets,” he said. At this time, the students left the room while wearing keffiyehs and raising a fist in protest.
While less of a disruption than at U. South Florida, the point of the BDS protesters is to make sure there is some sort of disruption when Israelis appear on campus.
This trend towards campus intimidation and lecture disruption started by targeting Israel, but it doesn’t end there. It never does.