Campus Palestinian, Israeli groups demonstrate on International Day of Action

Joshua Jordan/Staff

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Soaked Palestinian and Israeli flags contrasted with the gray, cloudy sky as campus group members filled Sproul Plaza voicing their opposing viewpoints on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the third annual International Day of Action on Thursday.  

The International Day of Action on University Campuses for Palestine — which was held by Students for Justice in Palestine, or SJP, and Bears for Palestine — is an event that advocates for Palestinian self-determination and promotes overall awareness of the conflict.

“We want to keep this in the forefront of people’s consciousness,” said UC Berkeley graduate student and SJP member Kumars Salehi.

Salehi said the protest aims to pressure the UC Board of Regents to divest from companies that support Israeli occupation of Palestine. He added that various student groups have already shown support for divestment, referencing resolutions passed throughout the UC system, such as one in 2013 in which the ASUC Senate voted in favor of divestment — a decision that the Judicial Council later determined violated ASUC bylaws.

The event is part of a larger movement supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, activities. Part of this strategy entails boycotting involvement with Israeli universities or academics, such as not offering study abroad programs in Israel or joint research and conference opportunities with Israeli institutions, among other efforts.

A series of speakers spoke at the event in support of Palestine, such as campus lecturer Hatem Bazian, District 2 City Council candidate Cheryl Davila and San Francisco State University professor Rabab Abdulhadi.

“We’re not talking about only the abstract notion of just sitting and debating,” Abdulhadi said during the protest. “We are here in order for us to mentor and provide the critical knowledge in order for us to produce a different world.”

Though students holding either Palestinian flags or Israeli flags were sprinkled across the plaza throughout the event, the two sides were largely segregated. SJP and Bears for Palestine mainly set up camp near Sproul Hall, while dozens of members of Bears for Israel and Tikvah: Students for Israel silently stood across the way near the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union holding posters.

The timing of the pro-Israel rally was not coincidental, according to Bears for Israel President Josh Woznica. Bears for Israel and Tikvah collaborated on the rally in order to show a united front in support of their academic freedom and their opposition toward BDS.

Woznica said by calling for a boycott against Israeli universities and professors, their academic freedom was disregarded. Regardless, Woznica emphasized that the intention of the rally was not to be inflammatory or argue against Palestinian protesters but to show passersby an alternative viewpoint.

Our goal isn’t to be accusatory or combative or aggressive or anything,” Woznica said. “We’re just here to stand silently to show that there is another perspective … that there is a different truth.”

Brenna Smith is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @bsmith_1853.

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  • When you say “The real goal of BDS,” can you supply a source that is not linked to the Israeli government. BDS is explicit in its demands of ending the occupation, stopping apartheid and the right of return.

  • garyfouse

    In honor of the event, let’s play the Palestinian National Anthem (of which I am the composer).

  • SamXie

    I reject the notion that any organization that supports the fascist Palestinian regimes is “Leftist”. If SJP supports governments that murder their LGBT population, oppress minorities and marginalize women, SJP is not “Leftist”

    • garyfouse

      Hatem Bazian once called for an intifada in the US when speaking before a college crowd. No Thanks, Mr Bazian. We don’t want your intifada with all the violence, hate and murder which it entails. Take you intifada and go back to the Middle East (and take Rabab Abdulhadi with you).

      We don’t need you, we don’t want you and the sooner you and your followers are gone, the better off we will all be.

    • garyfouse

      Point well taken but why is it sjp enjoys so much support from the left? They sure don’t get it from the right in the US.

  • ShadrachSmith

    The Pals stabbed a few Jews, just to add realism.

  • SamXie

    BDS has been failing to achieve peace since 2001. Maybe its time for something different. How about direct negotiations?

  • It’s interesting, or maybe not, that the comments from Dan Spitzer and Browstudent try to denounce SJP and BDS supporters as being lefties and terrorists. Back in the day those who supported Israel might often have considered themselves lefty, non-violent, civil rights defenders. Not now. Those expending great resources pedalling “a different truth,” as the Bears for Israel puts it, are those trying to defend Israel’s ongoing violations of international law and regular slaughter and extra-judicial killing of Palestinians. They are also trying to determine what courses can be taught at Berkeley (successfully suspending one course on Israel’s settler colonialism) and launching campaigns to target faculty and students who support Palestinian human rights, with the most horrendous campaigns of hate (just see
    Support BDS till Palestinians enjoy equality.

    • Brownstudent

      Do you deny that SJP and their BDS-supporting friends often engage in violence, hatred, thuggery, and other forms of terrorism to silence those people who disagree with them? Or are you just trying to sidetrack the conversation with boring Palsbara talking points, whining and sloganeering?

    • williambilek

      “Israel’s ongoing violations of international law ”
      You are certainly entitled to your opinion.
      Please support that opinion by factually listing any international law that Israel has been adjudicated to have violated ,by any competent court.

      • garyfouse

        Ask BDSlist what the US would do if Cuba were launching missiles into Miami. We would respond militarily, would we not? And yes, some innocent Cuban civilians would be killed as collateral damage. That’s the way things work in the real world outside the ivy halls of UCB.

    • Roy L

      You sound like a child

      Long live the Nakba

      • Arafat

        Google “gays” and “Palestinians” to see how gay people are treated by the people who are calling for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. The first search result is titled, “Palestinian gays flee to Israel”

        Google “Palestinian” and “honor killings” to see how women are treated by the people who are calling for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel.

        If you are a femalel student (or alumna) who is thinking about going to “Palestine” to help protest against the Evil Zionists, I suggest that you first read “Female Palestinian Peace Activists Suffer Sexual Harassment, Rape From Palestinians” (just Google on the title). You might want to reconsider.

        As a final note, look up Israel’s and the Palestinians’ relative political and civil rights ratings at Israel’s are close to the best possible while those under both Hamas and Fatah are almost the worst possible.

        Now, please explain to me again who is guilty of crimes, apartheid policies (e.g. dhimmis or second-class citizens in countries under militant Islamic rule), and so on. I have not even touched on the Palestinians’ long litany of mindless terroristic violence including the Munich Massacre, the massacre of the Fogel family including young children in their beds, and so on.

        • Roy L

          All true!
          Thanks for sharing

      • You say I sound like a child. I would suggest these flood of comments sound like the comments on most discussions about BDS around the internet (just google them) which sound as if they are produced by Israel’s sophisticated online “black ops,” often paid for by the Israeli government and often even produced in social media labs within Israeli universities, to give the impression there is greater support and resistance to the just call for Palestinian human rights BDS is making.

        • Roy L

          You even responded like a child by trying to divert attention

          And not only are you child-like, you engage on fanatical conspiracy theories

        • garyfouse

          Not my comments. Mine come from a decade of personally observing what happens at UCI and other campuses. I have seen and heard the Jew hatred.

    • lspanker

      those trying to defend Israel’s ongoing violations of international law and regular slaughter and extra-judicial killing of Palestinians.

      Who’s getting killed, and why? The Palestinians use schools, mosques, hospitals and apartment buildings to conduct military operations against the Israelis, expressly for the purpose of ENDANGERING their own people. Why do cowards like you refuse to address that point?

      launching campaigns to target faculty and students who support Palestinian human rights, with the most horrendous campaigns of hate

      NO “campaign of hate” is more horrendous than dressing up children as suicide bombers and telling them that Allah will welcome them to Paraside if they die while killing Jews. You whine and cry like a baby while conveniently leaving out critical details of what’s really going on in the Palestinian territories.

    • williambilek

      Still waiting for your response. I guess it won’t be forthcoming. Quelle surprise!

  • Brownstudent

    SJP is a terrorist organization. It’s not any different from hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church. It’s worse than WBC actually, because no member of WBC has ever assaulted someone for disagreeing with their beliefs, while SJP’s brownshirts have done so time and time again, including at UC Berkeley.

    I’m glad that this time at least they were able to keep their fists and fury in check. But SJP should be monitored by local police every time they appear on a new campus. Because where pro-Palestinian activism goes, violence and hatred inevitably follow.

  • Dan Spitzer

    It’s always amusing to see SJP and their lefty followers pissing into the wind with their mouths agape for the fallout. The regents have rejected BDS vs the Middle East’s sole non-mysognist democracy as have state legislators nationwide. SJP et al can impotently make their regular call for BDS, but it gets the Palestinians nowhere.

    The pro-Palestinian minion has for years had but two responses, neither gaining them anything of consequence other than childlike attention: to infantile-like throw a tantrum such as yesterday on Sproul calling for support for a terrorist intifada with its advocacy of killling innocents or, par usual, making much ado about nothing.

    Via their incessant support for violence, what have the Palestinians gained since Israel’s independence in 1948? To quote Shakespeare, “Lots of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

    • calfaculty

      They have gained violent occupation and Israeli terrorism.

      • Dan Spitzer

        If, true to your screen name, you really are a member of the Cal faculty, how did someone so ignorant garner a position? Of course, this holds for Hate’m Bazian and other members of his department along with various ethnic studies case examples of ignorance.

        Those who are honest should note that the terrorism is stemming from Hamas (the Palestinians’ most favored political party) and the allegedly “moderate” Fatah of Abbas, whose leaders commemorate those who kill Israeli citizens-childeren and the elderly alike. Fatah has been paying stipends to these butchers. And of course, Palestinian textbooks read by students from the equivalent of our first to fifth grades strongly advocate that their young readers grow up to be martyr murderers of those infidel Israelis. Those weaned on the notion to become Shaheedi murderers of Jews are the terrorists Mr. “Calfaculty”–not the democratic Israels.

        Want sexist terrorism? Look at how Palestinians treat their women, be it honor murder or trial for rape of those women who have been subjected to assault. As for gays, male or female, jail, beatings or out and out murder have been the fate of Palestinian homosexuals. Those who can flee to the nearest place they will be safe–democratic Israel…

      • lspanker

        Ever since the Israelis gave Gaza over to the Palestinians, the Pallies have reciprocated with escalating violence, not only against the Israelis but each other. Nobody who really understands what’s going on their is buying into your patent nonsense, so why don’t you give it a rest?