The local chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of California Irvine has been sanctioned with disciplinary probation for two academic years for disrupting a pro-Israel event earlier this year.
The punishment comes after years of SJP targeting pro-Israel and Jewish organizations without consequence.
During the May 10, 2017, event, as five Israel Defense Force (IDF) reservists spoke to students on campus, approximately several dozen pro-Palestinian students from SJP entered the room and began disrupting the talk, chanting slogans like, “Israel, Israel what you say? How many people did you kill today?”, “Free Palestine,” and “Hey, hey! Ho, Ho! These occupiers have got to go!”
Before exiting the room, one of the female activists present shouted, “You people are colonizers and occupiers. You should not be allowed on this fucking campus. You’ve been stealing our land since 1948.” She then shouted what sounded like, “F**k you! Israel, Israel die!” and signaled, with a nod of her head, to another female activist to lead the group to exit.
According to a press release from the school, the UC Irvine Office of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct decided SJP’s disruption was in violation of university policy, and placed the anti-Israel group on a two-year probation starting on August 22, 2017. The school arrived at its conclusion after interviewing witnesses, reviewing video footage of the event, and analyzing other information relating to the incident. It decided that SJP’s conduct was not “in accordance with the due process procedures found in the UCI Code of Student Conduct (https://aisc.uci.edu/policies/pacaos/code-of-student-conduct-handbook.pdf).”
The two-year probation will end on June 16, 2019, and SJP filed an appeal on August 31, 2017; the appeal process could take several weeks.
If SJP violates university policy further, the school says the group could be suspended or have its status as a campus organization revoked.
“UCI welcomes all opinions and encourages a free exchange of ideas – in fact, we defend free speech as one of our bedrock principles as a public university,” UCI wrote. “Yet, we must protect everyone’s right to express themselves without disruption.”
The May pro-Israel event was held jointly by Students Supporting Israel and the Israel-based Reservists on Duty, and also involved Stand With Us, the Louis D. Brandeis Center, Hillel International, Amcha Initiative, the Zionist Organization of America, Hasbara Fellowships, and the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).
“It is important that students see and understand what SJP really is, a group aimed at silencing the other side on a regular basis,” Reservists on Duty CEO Amit Deri told the Jerusalem Post. “The character of their activities threatens the principle of free speech in America.”
Last year, SJP disrupted a UC Irvine screening of the Israeli film Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front by shouting, “Long live the Intifada,” “F**k the police,” “F**k Israel,” “Displacing people since ’48, there’s nothing here to celebrate,” and “All white people need to die.” That forced campus police to escort mostly female Jewish students, who felt threatened by the protest, safely out of the room where the movie was being screened.
Two months later, Breitbart News reported that the Orange County District Attorney’s office was investigating the violent protest.