A group of pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted an event featuring Israeli speakers at UC Irvine (UCI) on May 3 and failed to shut it down.
The UCI College Republicans were hosting UCI’s Students Supporting Israel and the Israeli Reservists on Duty to combat the anti-Israel smears during Apartheid Week. Midway through the event, a group of pro-Palestinian protesters broke into chants that lasted several minutes.
“IDF, what do you say? How many kids have you killed today?” the protesters chanted repeatedly. They proceeded to repeatedly chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” and “All the walls have got to go, from Palestine to Mexico!”
The protesters were eventually forced to leave by police officers as they chanted “Free free Palestine!”
While the protesters were chanting, the featured speakers stood silently while holding an Israeli flag. One of the speakers held a sign that stated, “Do you want to talk or do you want to shout?”
Kaya Dolin, the volunteers coordinator for Reservists on Duty, told Ynet News that they had to be escorted off campus with “a large police force” after the event was over.
“We were there speaking to the American students, who were exposed to this carnival of hatred all week long,” Dolin said. “There was need for 20 police officers, who surrounded us, to do the most basic thing in the western world—exercise the freedom of expression.”
UCI-SSI wrote on their Facebook page after the event, “We made sure that our perspective was not silenced.”
“We would like to thank College Republicans for hosting us and our brave, incredible, and amazing IDF veterans for their tireless efforts to promote dialogue, peace, and truth,” UCI SSI wrote.
Reservists on Duty Executive Director Amit Deri told Ynet, “We will continue showing up at any place where the carnival of hatred celebrates without an appropriate response.”
“We will continue to help the Jewish and pro-Israeli students make their voices heard and tell the truth,” Deri declared. “We expect the university to investigate and find out who were the ones to disrupt the event, bring them to justice, and allow freedom of expression for all.”
This was not the first time this has happened at UCI. In May 2017, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) protesters disrupted and shut down an event on campus where Reservists on Duty was speaking at. SJP was sanctioned by UCI for doing so.
A brief clip from the event can be seen below:
The full event can be seen below: