On Wednesday night, however, Students Supporting Israel at UCI sponsored an appearance by five Israel Defense Forces reservists. They are appearing on behalf of Reservists on Duty, a group of Israeli reservists appearing on college campuses making the case for Israel and the actions of its military.
The evening began well at 6 pm. There was only an audience of about 20 people. Each reservist spoke for a few minutes explaining their personal experiences. These were young people in their 20s. Two were American-born females, one was an American-born male, one was a Lebanese Christian who had immigrated with his family from Lebanon due to persecution. He also identified himself as gay. The other was a Bedouin Muslim.
At 7:30 about 30 young pro-Palestinians entered the room. It was then I turned on my video-camera because I knew what was coming. They were invited by the speakers to ask questions. After a couple of questions, the demonstrations began to break out. There was a university official present who tried to keep the event orderly, but it was no use. At one point (2:58 mark 2nd clip 0285), I got the turn for a question. I said that I would repeat my comment before the protesters entered. I stated that I was a teacher at UCI for 18 years who had observed the anti-Israel events for ten years. I repeated what I had said earlier that as a US Army vet, I respected the Israeli soldiers and that I doubted that any of the Palestinian protesters would ever serve their country in uniform. I then turned the question to the protesters as to whether they would be willing to serve their county in uniform. At that point the room exploded. One young girl in a keffiya became hysterical and shouted at me repeatedly and then the protesters broke into their usual chants. One young lady who I have seen previously leading chants led the crowd in the standard chants while also shouting "F-you" at the Israelis. Finally, as campus police were finally being called, they filed out.
They weren't done, however. The Israeli reservists and the audience that came to hear them were escorted out by campus police as the crowd followed them with their dopey chants. I left a few minutes earlier and walked through them with my camera still rolling. I then went back and followed them to the outdoor entrance. The aforementioned university official blocked the door leading outside where the Israelis and Jews had exited as the protesters continued their chants as can be seen in the video. At that point, I shut down the camera and left.
In short, it was another example of how the pro-Palestinian side is unable to dialogue and discuss these issues. Two of the people who threw questions at the Israelis got up and walked out as the questions were being answered. In my view, the campus police should have been on hand at the start of the event as with any event that is centered on this issue. It is simply too volatile on the Palestinian side.
Here is the video I took.