Anti-Israel student protesters at the University of California Irvine chanted “Long live the Intifada” as they disrupted a screening of the Israeli film Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front on Wednesday night. The disruption forced campus police to escort mostly female Jewish students who felt threatened by the protest safely out of the room in which the movie was being shown.
According to the Orange County Register, about 50 protesters were shouting profane slogans at Israel and the UC Irvine Police.
The film is about Israeli soldiers who put their lives on the line on a daily basis to protect their homeland from the constant threats and violence its citizens face.
The film viewing was reportedly part of Israel Peace Week at UCI. It was taking place just days after pro-Palestinian students at the school and UCI’s Muslim Student Union organized and participated in their annual “anti-Zionism week”.
California College Republicans Southern Region’s vice chair and Chairman Emeritus of the College Republicans at UCI Robert Petrosyan told Breitbart News that the screening “was a relatively low-key event and that the anti-Israel protesters decided to go and overwhelm them by chanting hateful slogans.” Petrosyan said the President of Students Supporting Israel, Katrin Gendov, told him that the dozen students in her group “had to turn the volume all the way up to full blast just so they could continue hearing the movie.”
According to the Observer, one protester with the mob shouted “If we’re not allowed in, you’re not allowed in!” Some of their chants included “Intifada, Intifada—Long live the Intifada!” and “F**k Israel!”
“My personal view is that every group has a right to protest and exercise free speech, but the way these students were behaving was not to exercise free speech but to suppress the free speech of the pro-Israel students and to stop people from being able to hear their movie,” Petrosyan told Breitbart News. He added, “Blocking the doors to the room — that is a safety hazard.”
Meanwhile, the OC Register notes that in a Facebook post, UCI’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) wrote a message praising the protesters’ actions:
Today we successfully demonstrated against the presence of (Israeli) soldiers on campus. We condemn the Israeli “Defense” Forces, better defined as Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), because they enforce Zionist settler colonialism and military occupation of Palestinian land by the Israeli nation-state…
UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman reportedly sent out a message on Thursday saying the incident “crossed the line of civility” and explained that the administration is “investigating whether disciplinary or legal actions are appropriate.”
While this university will protect freedom of speech, that right is not absolute … threats, harassment, incitement and defamatory speech are not protected. We must shelter everyone’s right to speak freely – without fear or intimidation – and allow events to proceed without disruption and potential danger.
Last year, Breitbart News broke a national news story about members of UC Irvine’s student government voting in favor of banning the American flag from their building’s lobby because it “triggered” hurt feelings among illegal aliens.
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