One week ago, on Tuesday, November 3rd the Anti-War Committee lead a protest against a war crimes apologist, Moshe Halbertal, who was the featured speaker at the U of M Law School for a talk entitled “Protecting Civilians: Moral Challenges of Asymmetric Warfare.”
In response to our protest, the UMN Law School launched a campaign of public condemnation. Their professors have used their prestigious positions at the University to denounce us in the media. Coverage in Fight Back News, the UpTake, Palestine in America, and even the Minnesota Daily, gave voice to our perspective; on the other hand, Haaretz, the Washington Post, and the Star Tribune all published one-sided reports that criticized the protest, failing to explain what motivated us.
Palestinian voices are routinely silenced, especially on university campuses across the country, by an epidemic of repression. Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights have documented some 300 cases of repression of Palestinian rights advocates in 2014-2015; 85% were on college campuses. The response to our protest exemplifies this reality. The Law School chose to answer our protest with police force. Students of color, especially those perceived as Arab or Muslim, were targeted with particular force by police, even when they were not disruptive. Now we have public calls by tenured faculty to discipline any students involved – students at the U and members of Students for Justice in Palestine on campus face disciplinary action and possible expulsion. For what? For challenging a representative of the Israeli occupation on their campus.
Please stand with us and with student members of our activist community by contacting the Dean of the University Law School, David Wippman (612-625-4841, firstname.lastname@example.org). Urge him to put an end to the policy of hosting Zionist pro-war speakers; call on him to drop the charges against the three arrested, and end the public call for disciplining students who attended the protest; and challenge him on his praise of the police conduct, which included the shameful use of physical force, particularly against students of color.
Also, we need your help challenging one-sided media that has only given space to official Law School voices, and so far, failed to publish our rebuttals. Civil disobedience is an important tactic for breaking into mainstream media with anti-war and pro-Palestinian perspectives. We have published our responses to the Washington Post and Star Tribune respectively on our own website, here and here. Please amplify our efforts by submitting your own letters to the editor at the Star Tribune and the Minnesota Daily.
Click here for the Anti-War Committee’s statement regarding the protest and our actions. Please use it not only to defend us, but also to help bring Palestinian voices into the center of community discussions about their own liberation.
The Anti-War Committee