Pro-Israel Berkeley Students Stage Counter-Demonstration to Blame Incitement for Palestinian Malaise
At an anti-Israel demonstration at the University of California, Berkeley on Thursday, a group called “Tikvah: Students For Israel” staged a counter-protest by stressing the responsibility of Palestinian leadership, The Algemeiner has learned.
The demonstration, organized by the Berkeley chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), was billed as a “Die-in, March, and Speakout.” According to Berkeley’s student newspaper, approximately 50 protesters lay across a public intersection in downtown Berkeley for about three minutes, while SJP leaders shouted slogans and called for the University of California to divest from Israel-related businesses.
Kumars Salehi, a campus graduate student and member of SJP, told the student newspaper that demonstrators dressed in red to represent the blood of Palestinians. “We’re trying to show solidarity [with the Palestinian people],” he said, “and make it visible in a theatrical way.”
One slogan was: “Not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes.”
As the demonstrators took their “die-in” positions in the street, several members of Tikvah unfurled a three-part banner reading, “Victims of Palestinian Incitement.”
“They didn’t want to acknowledge the root of the problem,” Tikvah posted afterward on its Facebook page, “so we did,” indicating that the organization considers Palestinian leadership to be primarily responsible for Palestinian suffering — and not Israel, as the demonstrators were claiming.
The student newspaper’s coverage of the event did not mention the Tikvah response.
Student leaders of Berkeley’s SJP did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
The “die-in” was the concluding event in SJP’s “Palestine Awareness Week.” A few days earlier, Tikvah students also orchestrated a counter-demonstration to SJP’s “mock wall and checkpoint” display on the Berkeley campus, as reported by The Algemeiner.