The coed-run Palestine Solidarity Committee gathered on the steps of McCombs to protest in opposition to Palestinian mistreatment by Israeli forces, chanting instantly in entrance of the Israel Block Occasion on Wednesday.
The Israel Block Occasion is a yearly occasion placed on by Texas Hillel, UT’s Jewish scholar middle, and is the nation’s largest pro-Israel school occasion, in keeping with their web site.
Round 70 college students and neighborhood members protested throughout from the occasion positioned on Speedway Mall, opposing human rights violations in opposition to Palestinians by Israel. PSC additionally protested the occasion final yr.
“We at all times put together lots for this occasion, this large protest,” mentioned one of many scholar organizers, who requested to stay nameless as a consequence of security causes. “We plan a weeklong sequence of occasions referred to as Israel Apartheid Week.”
Israel Apartheid Week consists of a sequence of cultural occasions supposed to maintain Palestinian tradition alive and dismantle oppression, in keeping with PSC.
“(It’s to) preserve our tradition alive and to show college students round us to Palestinian artwork, Palestinian cultural historical past to point out the world that we’re nonetheless right here,” mentioned the organizer.
In response to Human Rights Watch, a global group investigating human rights abuses globally, Israel is an apartheid state during which Palestinians are sometimes forcibly displaced in disputed territories by Israeli officers.
Texas Hillel declined to touch upon each the Block Occasion and the opposing protest.
One participant, Michael Katz, mentioned though he’s not a scholar, he needed to point out help. He held an indication that mentioned, “I’m Jewish, and I help the rights of Palestinians.”
Though PSC is student-run, they usually host occasions to unfold consciousness of Palestinian liberation to the final Austin space.
“Individuals would say, ‘With all of the human rights violations on the planet, why are you centered on this one? Do you hate your self or one thing?’” Katz mentioned. “No, I don’t hate myself. I don’t hate the Jewish faith.”
Katz mentioned he believes individuals who help Palestinian human rights are unfairly referred to as antisemitic, given the non secular historical past of Israel.
“I really feel like I’ve to be right here and say no, that it’s not antisemitic to help the correct of Palestinians to return,” Katz mentioned.
UTPD was current for the student-led protest on Speedway, however mentioned they had been there to observe as they do yearly.
“There’s probably not an expiration date on our protests,” the organizer mentioned. “It’s not one thing that we’re quitting. Palestine just isn’t one thing that we (will) ever cease representing.”