Saturday, April 28, 2012

Israeli Soldiers Speak at UC Irvine

Above video created by the protesters (Kinda inspires you, doesn't it?)

On the evening of March 1, two young Israelis, Ranya Fadel and Ran Bar-Yoshafat, who have served in the Israel Defense Force (IDF), continued their US tour of college campuses. Earlier in the week, these two ex-soldiers  spoke at the University of California at Davis and UC Berkeley. Their presentation at UC Davis was disrupted by a handful of pro-Palestinian activists, while their appearance at UC Berkeley was without incident.

On March 1, I attended their presentation at UC Irvine. Surprisingly, given what had happened at UC Davis, no campus police were present. Fortunately, they were not needed.

The appearance at  UC Irvine was sponsored by the UCI College Republicans. Approximately 50 people showed up including over 20 members of the Muslim Student Union and their sympathizers, many of whom were wearing red t-shirts with signs stating that “IDF  has committed war crimes“. While there was no disruption, but the anti-Israel contingent stood up after a few minutes and walked out unwilling to hear what the Israelis had to say.

The two Israelis continued their presentations describing their experiences as IDF soldiers, experiencing first-hand what it is like to be on the front lines of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They stated that they took no pleasure in interrupting their lives to serve in the military, but that they considered it their duty to protect their country.

Ran told of his experience studying in Italy and meeting Lebanese students, who initially refused to have anything to do with him but eventually became friends with him, engaged him in discussions about the conflict, and eventually accepted him as a friend, one even becoming a supporter of Israel. He, of course, could not be identified.

Ranya, a Druze female, told of having served on check points and having detected and intercepted a female suicide bomber.

At a certain point, three of the anti-Israel students came into the room and participated civilly in the question and answer session. They asked questions about the settlers in the West Bank, the Israeli control over naval and air space in relation to Gaza, and what would be a just settlement. There was an honest back and forth on these questions-as there should be.

During the Q and A, I identified myself as a part-time teacher at UCI and asked if they were the same persons who had spoken earlier this week at UC Davis. When they replied in the affirmative, I apologized for the rude treatment they had received at Davis and told them that I was ashamed that this had happened at a UC campus. I also told them that, in my opinion, those who had disrupted them had probably never served their country in uniform and probably never would even think of doing so.

It is unfortunate that most of the opponents of the Israeli point of view are unwilling to even listen to two young Israelis who have experienced the conflict first-hand These two speakers did not speak out of hate and expressed their own personal desires for a peaceful solution. Yet, the overwhelming majority of the anti-Israeli forces chose not to listen.  It seems that the UCI Muslim Student Union has only learned half of the painful lesson from the disruption of the speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren in 2010. While they did not disrupt, they chose to walk out instead of engaging in honest dialogue. Perhaps they realize that they cannot win the debate.


Anonymous said...

Those students are being attention whores and you are giving them attention.

This type of protest is acceptable. They get their "point" across and don't prevent others from hearing the speakers.

I don't disagree with what you are said. At the same time, you are giving them the attention they so desire.

I would have liked to hear what the speakers had to say. Is there a list posted somewhere on the Internet of planned speakers at UC Irvine?

Did someone record the presentation and post it on the Internet?

Gary Fouse said...

As for the list of planned speakers at UCI, sometimes the university web page will announce something or the organization sponsoring them will.

I believe their is a video of the presentation somewhere. Off the top of my head, I don't know who filmed it other than the sponsoring

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Except for the petulant temper tantrum at UC Davis, it sounds like things are moving in the right direction. Protest is becoming pointed, but non-disruptive, and there is even some dialog. After honestly recounting these facts, for some reason, Gary went back to the same old spiel in his closing paragraph.

Anyone who has confidence in the integrity of their own point of view should be prepared to hear another. That's one reason I come around here. I infer it is one reason Gary hasn't shut me out. If what someone says causes you to reconsider your beliefs, then you should reconsider them. If you have never faced a challenge, then your position is untested, therefore unreliable.

Gary Fouse said...

"If what someone says causes you to reconsider your beliefs, then you should reconsider them. If you have never faced a challenge, then your position is untested, therefore unreliable."

Tell that to the students who walked out.

Findalis said...

@ Anonymous

Not "attention" whores, just whores and the sons of whores.

@ Siarlys

If these bastards were really interested in "Human Rights" they would be screaming about the 10,000 men, women and children Assad of Syria has murdered.

But they are more interested in killing Jews than any so-called Human Rights.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Why Gary, I thought I was telling it to the students who walked out.

They all read your blog, don't they? You wouldn't post all this just to preach to the choir?

Findalis, I would like to offer a reasoned response to what you say, but you are much too incoherent to identify either your meaning, or how it relates to what ANY of us have said so far, in order to frame an intelligent commentary.

Miggie said...

I am always amazed with the singular obsession these students (and most Muslims) have with Israel. With all the conflicts, poverty, underdevelopment, bloodshed, and violence going on in the Muslim countries and the countries with any significant Muslim population, the ONLY thing they EVER protest is Israel. (Sorry, the US gets its share of protests too.)

The number dead in Syria alone now is more than all the Muslims killed in all the Arab/Israeli Wars combined.

It makes no sense. They don't care about Muslim "oppression." What they care about is bringing down Israel.... the ONE vibrant, flourishing, democracy in the Middle East. They must think that if only they could only live in those houses and work in those buildings and hospitals and universities, they would do just as well as the Israelis. The Israelis did not steal those buildings and hospitals and universities, they built them, despite the Muslims. When the Israelis unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and left behind greenhouses and other buildings, the Muslims completely destroyed them within hours.

The Israeli success must stick in their collective craws and further humiliate their already fragile sense of self worth.

Who misses a class just so he can go and walk out of a talk by someone? Who risks their college education and getting arrested just so they can interrupt a speech by an ambassador on campus? Jealous psychopaths, that's who.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

It's simple Miggie: fixing poverty in Arab countries would be hard work. Denouncing Israel is cheap and easy. It is quite similar to every Republican Party campaign in the past thirty years, except substitute "liberalism" for "Israel." In both instances, demonizing an enemy pays greater dividends than offering a program that might actually benefit the people.