A group of IDF reservists had to be escorted out of a Students Supporting Israel speaking event by police following a large protest by pro-Palestinian students at the University of California, Irvine, last week.
The army veterans were visiting the campus as part of Project Gideon – an initiative of Reservists on Duty, an anti-BDS group in Israel in collaboration with the Lone Soldier Center – which enlists American IDF reservists to fight against BDS on university and college campuses across North America.
The five-member delegation – Jewish, Christian and Muslim IDF and National Service veterans representing different sectors and perspectives of Israel society – was on campus to counter Apartheid Week events there.
Leor Golan, who headed the group, told The Jerusalem Post that at the speaking event held Wednesday evening, some 50 pro-Palestinian activists attended, disrupting and yelling.
“They were provoking with whole speeches about how bad Israel is and finishing with an antagonizing question and cheering and yelling and interrupting,” he said.
“They were warned a few times by university officials that they were interrupting and not playing nice, to the point where they got kicked out, but then they waited outside after we finished,” he added. “We went out [of the room] and the cops escorted us out for protection, because they were really getting in our faces and there was a lot of tension and fights almost broke out.”
In a video obtained by the Post, the lone soldiers (that is, they live in Israel without close family that can help them) are seen being escorted out of the event holding an Israeli flag and surrounded by pro-Palestinian activists holding signs and shouting.