U of Chicago SJP’s Oren protest makes newspaper’s front page

The caption is straightforward enough. “Student and community protestors gather[ed] outside International House, where Israeli ambassador Michael Oren spoke Monday afternoon about a global response to Iran’s nuclear program, settlements in the West Bank, and his country’s standing abroad.”

After one particular campus administrator attempted to cage protestors behind something to the equivalent of a plastic Fisher Price playpen and after at least two other administrators unsuccessfully tried to keep protestors from utilizing public sidewalks, it comes as quite a surprise to see this photograph on the front page of the University’s newspaper.

The best part of it all is that the posters, at least the two on the right, are easily readable and pretty much sum up the point of the protest.

For the sake of completeness, the three posters say (from right to left): “The U.S. has given Israel 47 million pieces of ammo since 2008, enough to kill every Palestinian in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem ten times over”; “SJP says no to all of Oren’s lies”; and “This may not be your issue but it’s your money”.

The text itself, however, fails to articulate the message behind the protest. Rather than being asked about the protest itself, the reporter chose to ask whether the protest participants were challenging Israel’s right to exist and if we favored a one-state or a two-state solution. We informed her that the protest dealt with a more pressing issue: day-to-day human rights. (A Letter to the Editor has been submitted to the campus newspaper urging reporters to refrain from leading every question into a subtle charge of anti-Semitism.)

To read about what happened during the protest, click here. To read about how Oren’s platform violates the University of Chicago’s standards for rigorous inquiry, click here.

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