YouTuber waves ISIS, US flags at UC Berkeley to garner student reactions

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Ami Horowitz/Courtesy

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On Thursday, filmmaker Ami Horowitz, who runs a YouTube channel known for “Ami on the Street” segments, released a video documenting the reactions of people at UC Berkeley as he waved the flags of the United States and of ISIS.

In the video, Horowitz first waves a U.S. flag on Sproul Plaza and then an ISIS flag at the base of the Campanile. Horowitz loudly makes pro-America statements while waving the U.S. flag and then pro-ISIS, anti-Western statements while waving the ISIS flag.

According to Horowitz, he and his crew filmed the video in early November in response to an attack in New York, which the suspect alleged to have done for ISIS. This video comes three years after a similar video Horowitz released in November 2014, in which Horowitz went to UC Berkeley and waved the flags of Israel and ISIS.

Both videos were intended to document and compare the reactions of passersby.

“There is a percentage of the population that is hostile to American ideals. Not all of them feel that way, but some of the population does, and they spoke up in the video,” Horowitz said. “There are people who are not supporters of ISIS necessarily, but they see ISIS as standing up against Western imperialism.”

Most of the students in the video disregarded Horowitz, although a few expressed disagreement when Horowitz made pro-America statements. A few students also supported his anti-Western statements.

When asked of their opinions about the videos, students in the Upper Sproul Plaza area seemed unaware of the videos and their content.

Horowitz said he has received feedback from UC Berkeley students critiquing him for waving the U.S. flag on Sproul Plaza but choosing to wave the ISIS flag near the base of the Campanile. Horowitz added that although many people saw him waving the flags at various spots on campus, he saw that few people reacted.

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof declined to comment on the video, calling the video a “stunt that was apparently performed for the benefit of Russia’s international television network” in an email.

Ella Jensen is the lead student life reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ellajensen_dc.