Police escort required for Israeli speakers after US college protest

In a fresh incident of anti-Zionist activity at The University of California, Irvine, the US college notorious for its hostile atmosphere towards the Jewish state, Israeli speakers at an event were escorted off campus by police for their safety, after anti-Israel protestors disrupted the proceedings.

The event was a conversation being conducted by the Israeli organization Reservists on Duty who were invited by two UC Irvine student groups, Republicans on Campus and Students Supporting Israel, to provide support and assistance for pro-Israel students during “Anti-Zionism Week” at the university.

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Some 40 minutes into the event, attended by 20 to 30 students, a handful of anti-Israel protestors entered the classroom, complete with Palestinian flags, keffiyehs, and using a loudspeaker to chant various slogans.

“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “IDF, what do you say, how many kids have you killed today,” were just two of the protestors’ repertoire.

A large police presence had been placed outside the event due to the fierce anti-Israel sentiment and the hostility of various groups to such events, and several police officers entered the classroom and, after several minutes, cleared the protestors out without resistance.

The protestors remained outside of the classroom and continued to chant and disrupt the event, using a loudspeaker so as to make it difficult for the discussion to continue inside.

Once it was over, the five speakers from Reservists on Duty together with the heads of Students Supporting Israel and Republicans on Campus were given a police escort for their protection.

The disruption to the discussion was not the only hostile protest towards the Reservists on Duty organization and pro-Israel students during the course of UC Irvine’s Anti-Zionism Week.

Kayla Dolin, the project manager of Reservists on Duty, told The Jerusalem Post that one anti-Israel protestor had called her “a Christ killer” and that she should “get out of America.”

Dolin also said that among chants sung by anti-Israel protestors was “Long live the intifada,” which she described as being a clear call for violence. Protestor at UC Irvine calls IDF reservist “Christ killer” during demonstration (Credit: Reservists on Duty)

“This campaign is very clearly about intimidation, hate and being anti-something, they are anti-Israel, antisemitic activists who have the full support of the university administration,” said Dolin.

Last May, UC Irvine student activists from the Students for Justice in Palestine disrupted an event held by Reservists on Duty and were subsequently put on probation for violating university policy.

It is believed that the activists who disrupted this year’s event were not from Students for Justice in Palestine, in order to prevent further sanctions being issued against that group.

“We expect from the administrations of all campuses in America to allow free speech for everyone, equally, and even to encourage students not to be afraid of saying what they want,” said Reservists on Duty executive director Amit Deri.

“We will continue to support and empower the pro-Israel community on college campuses and beyond.”