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MN protests the Israeli Defense Force at the U of MN

By Meredith Aby

Opposition to attempt at glorifying war crimes against Palestinians

U of M protest against Israeli Occupation Forces.

Minneapolis, MN – Dozens of protesters gathered in front of Folwell Hall at the University of Minnesota, October, 18, to protest Student Supporting Israel’s event that hosted former Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers. The MN Anti-War Committee (AWC) organized the protest

A statement from the AWC explained, “The event titled ‘My Truth: Battlefield Ethics’ is an attempt to glorify and justify war crimes committed against Palestinians. We are protesting today to call attention to the IDF’s policy of targeting Palestinian civilians at the border with snipers, their use of collective punishment, and their arresting and imprisonment of children.”

The speakers, Naftali Gross and Aviad Yisraeli, are both American-born Jews who became Israeli citizens and who served in the IDF. The Facebook event advertised that they would discuss the moral dilemmas of their service of protecting Israel, and that Gross served in Protective Edge and that Yisraeli was involved in military operations in Gaza.

Attendees of the event had to walk through the protest which was at Folwell Hall’s main entrance and next to a busy U of M bus stop. The protesters confronted the speakers about the role of the IDF in Palestine. The former IDF soldiers accused the protesters of being paid to protest the IDF and tried to divide them from the Muslim community by claiming that all Muslims are homophobic.

Kent Mori, a member of the AWC, confronted the speakers as they tried to antagonize the crowd, “We have seen these tactics by Zionists before. They claim that there isn’t a true grassroots movement of support for Palestine and there is. They claim that queers are seen as the enemy by Palestinians and by Muslims in particular. We know that Arab and Muslim people see the IDF as the real enemy.”

Only 20 people attended the IDF event; the protest against the event was seen by hundreds. The protesters left feeling good about challenging Israeli apartheid and the U.S. support of the IDF at the University of Minnesota.

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