Monday, May 23, 2016

Campus Reform Interview (UC Irvine Disruption)

Hat tip Campus Reform

Below is an interview done by Campus Reform with one of the Jewish students involved in last Wednesday's disruption of a pro-Israel film screening at UC Irvine.

"The real issue was not the fact of the protest itself, but rather the aggressive manner in which it was carried out, Kopley asserted, saying, “They're allowed to protest, but they're not allowed to intimidate us or corner us into a room. There's a line that they crossed. I haven't been this terrified in years.”

I have said this once, but it bears repeating. Given this young woman's account and the other accounts that have been reported, I am taken aback by the (second) statement issued a few days ago by Orange County Hillel and the Jewish Federation of Orange County, which described a rather run-of-the-mill protest that was properly handled  by the campus police. Here it is:

Clarifying Misstatements About Anti-Israel Incident at UCI
There are several critical inaccuracies in the Campus Reform account of what happened at UC Irvine on the evening of Wednesday, May 18 when a group of protestors demonstrated outside an event sponsored by the student organization Students Supporting Israel (SSI). 
The Students Supporting Israel event was not, as the Campus Reform article implies, shut down. According to eyewitnesses, including local Hillel professionals, the Jewish students were not in any way forced to retreat. When the police arrived, they ensured the SSI program could continue. One officer remained in the classroom with the students until the film was over and they concluded their program. 
The protestors were allowed to remain outside of the building.
When the SSI students were ready to leave, the officers moved the protestors to an area sufficiently distant from the exit, so that neither group was visible to one another. The police then escorted the SSI students to their cars and an Assistant Vice Chancellor stayed to assist the students. 
Hillel is working with the university police and administration to ensure this incident is appropriately resolved. 
Here is their original statement on the incident:

JFFS/Hillel Statement on Anti-Israel Incident at UCI
Last night, the Students Supporting Israel (SSI) chapter at UC Irvine held a screening of "Beneath the Helmet" with the support of Hillel. The event was protested by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and other students, who made aggressive and threatening remarks to participants and physically intimidated and threatened one student attempting to enter the event. 
Hillel and JFFS Rose Project professionals who were present worked immediately to ensure Jewish students were able to continue participating in the event safely. When that was no longer possible, they contacted university police and Student Life officials. While the protest was allowed to continue, the university took steps to ensure the SSI students' safety. 
Hillel and Rose Project continue to work with the university administration to investigate the incident. We encourage the administration to hold accountable the protestors who threatened our students. We continue our work to ensure that Jewish and pro-Israel students are able to engage in programming in a safe environment.  
Our students are not intimidated. Today's Artists for Israel event on the main thoroughfare is going forward as scheduled, with Hillel adding further protections to ensure student safety. We are also providing support for students who need to talk about Wednesday's incident. 
We appreciate your continued support, as Hillel and Rose Project work to ensure students are free to express their support for Israel on campus, and all students are protected against threats and intimidation. 

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