Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dershowitz Welcomed by Protests at Rutgers University

(from 2 weeks ago)

A group of protesters gathered on May 8 in front of the Rutgers University auditorium where Alan Dershowitz was scheduled to speak. He was invited to Rutgers to deliver the key note for the celebration of Israel's 60th anniversary. The protesters, many of whom were involved in Rutgers Against the War/ Campus Antiwar Network, held signs such as "Jews Against the Occupation", "Settlements = Ethnic Cleansing", and "End Israeli Apartheid". Several of the attendees took literature, but many were hostile. After one Jewish protester tried to hand literature to an attendee, the attendee threatened to spit in his face. Likewise, one of the Palestinian protesters encountered racist comments; a woman referred to Palestinians as "those damn Arabs."

The highlight of the night was when Dershowitz came out to speak to the protesters. He approached with the police watching and said "Its good you are bringing up the Nakbah because I am going to mention it in my speech. The Nakbah is a self inflicted wound!" Dershowitz then refused to respond to incredulous replies. When asked about his statements supporting torture he offered, "I dont support torture. I believe the government should get a warrant first." He then started to walk away. One of the protesters replied, "Should they get a permit before they bomb Palestinian villages?"

Though many of the attendees were old enough to remember the establishment of the state of Israel, they could not ignore the growing size of university-based protests against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the involvement of an increasing number of supportive American Jews.

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