Israeli Apartheid Week began on Sunday. But some pro-Israel protesters at the University of California, Berkeley got started a day early, pepper spraying some folks on Saturday. Not to be outdone, a group of anti-Israel students mic-checked a speaker at the University of New Mexico on Thursday (see above video).
On Thursday, protesters interrupted a talk by Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian American who founded something called Arabs for Israel. According to the student who posted the video above, the lecture “was attend by some UNM students who exercised their right to freedom of speech by vocally protesting the against the opinions put forward.” The students drowned out the lecture by shouting that Darwish supports Israeli apartheid (not unusual, given the season) and even Israeli “genocide” of the Palestinians. (Seriously?)
Then “a number of audience members proceeded to get out of their seats and use force against the students. One of the students was hit in the face, another had her hair pulled, and many were pushed and shoved. One of the students caught much of these events on film before another audience member forcibly pushed down her camera.”
It’s pretty unclear from the video exactly what’s going on, but it definitely wasn’t pretty. The YouTube user who posted the video, Dizzyana, continues, saying “it is a shock” — a shock, I say! — “that a non-violent action was met with such aggression.”
Not that the old Jews (I’m just assuming here, obviously) in the room made anything less than a spectacle of themselves in their reactions, but I’m not sure what the protesters expected. Come into a room full of religious people and start shouting offensive things at them and it’s pretty clear that the whole point is to have a confrontation.
Meanwhile, in Berkeley, The Daily Californian reports, some anti-Israel protesters and some pro-Israel counter-protesters got into a bit of a scuffle that eventually escalated to pepper spray levels. The pro-Israel folks were the ones wielding the pepper spray, but they only sprayed “three people not involved with either side of the protest [who] tried to mediate the situation.” Because of that, writes The Daily Cal, the police aren’t considering it a hate crime.