“he’s part of the system of oppression that we’re trying to bring down”
Reporter Michael C. Duke was covering “Israeli Apartheid Week” at the University of Houston and his stunning account is below.
He writes at the Jewish-Herald Voice:
Jewish Reporter Harassed While Covering Demonstration At University Of Houston
As I approached a group of students who were erecting the final panel of a 30-foot-long display wall on the campus of University of Houston, I assumed my experience of reporting on this year’s installment of “Israeli Apartheid Week” would be similar to years past. Although organizers haven’t been happy to have a member of the Jewish press taking photos and collecting interviews during their event, they still haven’t outright tried to prevent me from doing my job.
This year, however, was different.
“If this man approaches you to speak to you, do not speak to him – he’s part of the people we are attempting to, he’s part of the system of oppression that we’re trying to bring down,” shouted one of the demonstration’s organizers after interrupting an interview I was conducting with a UH student, who said he was from Lebanon and had taken notice of the demonstration as he passed through Butler Plaza, the school’s main quad.
The student who interrupted my interview was wearing a red T-shirt, advertising the hashtag #Coogs4Palestine. I recognized him from previous anti-Israel events at UH, hosted by the campus’ chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. That student worked in tandem with another student, who was taller and wearing a dark T-shirt, to physically block me from reporting on this year’s Israeli Apartheid Week demonstration on March 20.
Their tactic was crude. After demanding that I not photograph the students who were harassing me, the taller of the pair then stood directly in front of my camera in an attempt to block the scene. Meanwhile, the student in the red T-shirt threatened to call campus security. I encouraged him to do so, and he walked away to consult with some colleagues at a nearby table.
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