Signs reading “Stop Israeli Terrorism” and “No Occupation = No Rockets” could be seen outside Garrison Hall on Monday as about two dozen protesters showed up to voice their disapproval of an on-campus talk bypro-Israeli speaker Noam Bedein.
Pace Davis, co-chair of the Palestine Solidarity Committee, the organization that held the protest, said that this was another episode in a trend of framing responsive actions of Palestinians as unprovoked violence.
“These presentations garner uncritical support of Israel,” Davis said. “We want to draw attention to the narrative of the suffering in Gaza and other Palestinian territories; suffering that is often ignored.”
Bedein, an Israeli native, served for three years in the Israeli Defense Forces as a sergeant for an artillery scout unit along the Lebanese border and later as an emissary for The Jewish Agency in Boston. After returning to Israel, Bedein started the Sderot Media Center, where he provides briefings in Sderot and the Western Negev for foreign diplomats, government officials and student groups.
“The world doesn’t know the story,” said Zach Garber, president of Texans for Israel, who sponsored Bedein’s talk. “You never hear what people in Israel have to deal with. We want to raise awareness of the tragedies that take place in the city of Sderot that borders Gaza. People have died and the economy is horrible.”
Before the event, members of the pro-Israeli group handed out fliers countering the sentiments of the protesters.
Allen Otto | Daily Texan Staff
Physics sophomore Ramsei Doany discusses the Israel-Palestine border at a talk about the situation in Garrison Hall on Monday evening.
“We don’t talk to incite anything,” Garber said. “We just want to open up dialogue about what is happening in the Middle East.”
Every year, the pro-Palestine group protests the Israel Block Party, a fair held in the spring on the South Mall that celebrates Israeli culture and accomplishments.
“We need to look at Israel’s role. We have to see [Palestinian violence] as a product of their occupation,” said Dickie Fischer, co-chair of the pro-Palestine group.
Noah Jaffe, a history and government senior, said he was not pleased with the presence of the protesters because he said they were most focused with causing a scene before the lecture.
“They very rarely want to have a dialogue,” he said. “They just wave incendiary signs outside.”