Two student groups at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), ambushed a movie screening held by Students Supporting Israel (SSI).

Republican National Committee member Shawn Steel, who was on campus for a Campus Reform meeting, posted this video on Facebook:

Campus Reform posted their own video on YouTube:

The protesters belonged to the Muslim Student Union and the Students for Justice in Palestine. Apparently, the presence of two former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers sent them over the edge and feared for their safety.

Yes, the group actually believed that the two former IDF soldiers “threatened our coalition of Arab, black, undocumented, trans, and the greater activist community.”

But their protest left those in the event fearing for their life as the demonstrators blocked the exits and would not let people leave. People frantically called campus police for help, who “had to escort Jewish students away from the scene.”

Kevin Brum, SSI’s vice president, said the police only escorted them away because the protesters had a right to be there.

The Jewish Federation & Family services and Hillel at UIC said the protesters “physically intimidated and threatened on student attempting to enter the event.” The incident will not deter the groups from moving forward with more events:

Hillel and Rose Project continue to work with the university administration to investigate the incident. We encourage the administration to hold accountable the protestors who threatened our students. We continue our work to ensure that Jewish and pro-Israel students are able to engage in programming in a safe environment.

Our students are not intimidated. Today’s Artists for Israel event on the main thoroughfare is going forward as scheduled, with Hillel adding further protections to ensure student safety. We are also providing support for students who need to talk about Wednesday’s incident.

We appreciate your continued support, as Hillel and Rose Project work to ensure students are free to express their support for Israel on campus, and all students are protected against threats and intimidation.

UCI released this statement:

“Last night, an incident occurred on campus that we believe crossed the line of civility, prompting me to re-emphasize our position on free speech, safety, and mutual respect.

“The incident centered on a film-viewing event sponsored by Students Supporting Israel. A group of protesters reportedly disrupted the event, blocking exit paths. Participants feared for their safety, calling on our police for assistance.

“While this university will protect freedom of speech, that right is not absolute. As I mentioned in a campus message at the beginning of the academic year, threats, harassment, incitement, and defamatory speech are not protected. We must shelter everyone’s right to speak freely—without fear or intimidation—and allow events to proceed without disruption and potential danger.

“We are thoroughly analyzing all reports and information regarding this incident and investigating whether disciplinary or legal actions are appropriate.

“The month of May is filled with cultural celebrations and remembrances that highlight the diversity of this brilliant campus. Please respect your colleagues’ right to recognize their heritage and express opinions in a safe environment.”

Chancellor Howard Gillman condemned the Muslim protest:

“A group of protesters reportedly disrupted the event, blocking exit paths. Participants feared for their safety, calling on our police force for assistance,” Gillman continued. “While this university will protect freedom of speech, that right is not absolute. As I mentioned in a campus message at the beginning of the academic year (freespeech.uci.edu), threats, harassment, incitement and defamatory speech are not protected. We must shelter everyone’s right to speak freely – without fear or intimidation – and allow events to proceed without disruption and potential danger.”

In March, the University of California regents adopted a document from January, which included an amendment that added “anti-Zionism” as a form discrimination. But these decisions did not stop anti-Israel groups and students from protesting or even pushing for BDS on campus. Legal Insurrection has documented the numerous disruptions from SJP on campus:

With all the violence, is it time for campuses to ban SJP?