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Approximately thirty students and members of the community disrupted an event titled “Israel 101” at DePaul University sponsored by national pro-Israel group StandWithUs — whose members have physically attacked solidarity activists. Video shows the protesters fact-checking the propaganda presentation using the “human mic” tactic popularized by the occupy movement. The room is left nearly empty after the protesters empty the space en masse.
The same number of persons staged a silent walk-out during an event hosted by the Medill school of journalism at Northwestern University featuring Gil Hoffman, columnist with the right-wing The Jerusalem Post and an Israeli army reservist, sponsored by media intimidation group CAMERA and the Zionist Organization of America.
A full press release about the DePaul and Northwestern actions is below.
The battle for the campus
While Zionist groups are divided over how to disrupt the growing Palestine solidarity movement on US campuses, there is a general consensus that campus solidarity organizing is threatening the status quo of unquestioned and unlimited US support of Israel.
Student activists are bravely standing up despite the threat of censorship and prosecution. This risk was made vividly evident with the persecution of the Irvine 11 students who were convicted of criminal charges for disrupting — using only their voices — a speech by the Israeli ambassador to the US.
By standing up, students in Chicago last night directly challenged those who are trying to silence criticism of Israel on US campuses and stem the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement more generally.
Earlier this year, The Electronic Intifada exposed the role of StandWithUs and the Israeli government in a lawsuit targeting Olympia Food Co-op, whose board last year voted to take Israeli products off of their shelves.
There have been several walkouts protesting Israeli propaganda events across the US — a protest at the University of Michigan last year started a wave of similar actions — leaving Israel’s unashamed spokespersons stammering before empty rooms. Despite the impressive funding and resources of groups like StandWithUs, these empty rooms show that their lies are not exactly resonating with young Americans.
The youth wing of Jewish Voice for Peace disrupted a Birthright Israel event featuring a venture capitalist earlier this week. The activists used the human mic tactic and occupy movement slogans and showed the power of connecting Palestine with domestic struggles for justice.