Austin: Protesters Disrupt Zionist Meeting on UT Campus

By Josefina Morales

On September 30, activists and supporters of the local chapter of Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) held an action on the University of Texas campus, disrupting a pro-Israel meeting on the topic of “Israeli intelligence” led by speaker Itai Shapira.

Itai Shapira worked for the Israeli Defense Intelligence in a variety of high-profile positions over the course of his life, bolstering the work of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) who carry out the Zionist military occupation of Palestine. According to one PSC organizer, his work strengthens the collective hold of imperialist regimes on the people they subjugate, and “provides a space for war criminals to gather and learn from each other.”

Approaching the tent of attendees, who were guarded by bicycle police, the group of activists chanted, “Israel, Israel, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!” The activists held signs with anti-imperialist slogans, Palestinian flags, and a banner that read “War criminals off campus.” The activists maintained their noise disruption throughout the meeting using chants and percussion instruments. At times, the protesters would leave after threats from event organizers and police, only to return and continue the disruption.

During a break between the noise disruptions, a PSC member read the names of three Palestinians who were murdered by IDF soldiers just that morning: Alaa Nasser Mohammed Zayyoud, Israa Khuzaima and Mohammad Abu Ammar. He continued, saying that soldiers who carry out these murders are “puppets for the military that are branded by Conservatism and ‘innovation,’ as we see behind us,” as he gestured to the event tent.

“One week ago today, the [US House of Representatives] approved one billion dollars for this so-called ‘innovation’,” the PSC member said, referring to funding for Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ missile defense system. “We clearly see an oppressor, and we clearly see the oppressed,” he said.

“Formal business partnerships and binational agreements between Texas schools and the Israeli occupation date back over half a century,” an organizer of the action told Tribune. “It becomes impossible to separate the basic functions of the university from ethnic cleansing- and with such a vested interest in the occupation, it is not hard at all to imagine why UT would hold such an event.”

After the event, one attendee told Tribune, “We can’t believe that the US will grant self-determination to Palestinians, because they [US imperialists] are Israel’s number one supporters […].”

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