Christian Arab Jonathan Elkhoury, Muslim Bedouin Mohammad Kaabiya, Muslim Arab Dema Tayah, and Druze Arab Ram Asad spoke to an audience of several hundred as they represented the “Reservists on Duty” (RoD) organization at an event hosted by the Israeli American Council. RoD was established in 2015 by Israeli combat soldiers and veterans to counter the message of left-wing organizations such as “Breaking the Silence,” a largely European-funded left-wing Israeli veterans’ group that spreads accusations of war crimes by Israeli soldiers.
“Some of the things that are [falsely] said about us is that Israel is being an apartheid state … And we are here to share our stories,” Elkhoury said. He explained that he and his colleagues are particularly interested in reaching college campuses.
In May 2017, they faced such virulent protest at University of California Irvine, where their speaking event was disrupted by pro-Palestinian activists, that they had to be escorted off campus by police. (As a result, the UC Irvine chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine was sanctioned with probation for two years.)