According to video obtained by the Haym Salomon Center, approximately a dozen anti-Israel protestors stormed Clark Hall Thursday night on the University of Virginia campus, attempting to shut down an event featuring Reservists on Duty (ROD), an education group of Israel Defense Forces reservists.
Hosted by the Brody Jewish Center – Hillel at UVA, the group’s Facebook page described the event as intended “to share their personal stories and answer tough questions from the university community. The idea behind the panel was to humanize the conflict, learn about Israeli society, and allow for honest conversation.”
The panel of IDF reservists, two men and two women, had barely begun their introductory remarks when the disruption broke out.
“We were so excited to get this panel started,” explained ROD volunteer Asher Stern. “There were people in the crowd that wanted to learn, and some who already held dissenting opinions. But they were there to listen and dialogue.”
Clearly not interested in a conversation were the protestors. With megaphones, signs and flags, the anti-Israel activists stormed the room, chanting slogans such as “long live the intifada.”
“I focus on their support for intifada because I know what intifada means — terror and death to anyone who doesn’t support them. This was really shocking to me, hearing somebody publicly support terror in this way,” said Stern. “We tried to get a word in and invited them to stay and talk, put down the megaphones, show us their faces and actually talk to us.”
ROD volunteer Uriya Rosenman told the Haym Salomon Center that this was “an emotional experience”:
A group of 10 to 15 people I’ve never met storm the room, screaming at me the most horrible stuff I’ve ever heard in my life. This brought up a lot of emotions that made me want to defend myself. But at the same time, I thought of these 30 to 40 students in front of me — looking at me and wanting to hear my story. I knew that the most important thing for me to do was to stay focused on telling my story, to educate the people who came to hear us.