Successful walkout on Israeli war propaganda event at UW-Milwaukee

Students and community members at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee staged a successful walkout yesterday during a talk by author Ron Leshem whose work promotes anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim sentiment.

Leshem, an Israeli author and media producer who assisted with the development of controversial show Homeland, was invited to speak about his experience in the television industry. The event was held at the university’s Golda Meir Library and was sponsored by the Milwaukee Jewish Federation and hosted by Hillel Milwaukee. Leshem’s work, which includes the film Beaufort, aims largely to draw sympathy to Israeli occupation soldiers.

According to multiple sources, officers with the Milwaukee Police Department were dispatched to the event in anticipation of the walkout.

Leshem’s talk centered on his vision of using film and media to depict the Israeli experience to large audiences.

When Leshem showed a video clip of Beaufort, which mainly consisted of an Israeli showing his scars, thirty audience members stood up, removed their jackets, and exposed signs that were taped to their shirts. The signs read “Occupation is not Education” and “Boycott Israel”.

Among the demonstrators were members of Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at both the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Marquette University, as well as members of Friends of Palestine and the Palestine Solidarity Coalition. Local alumni and community supporters also participated in the action, including an Air Force veteran.

When the protesters stated their opposition to the occupation and the way Leshem was capitalizing on the suffering of Palestinians and Lebanese, audience members who remained seated began to jeer them and verbally insult them in English, Hebrew, and Spanish, according to a source at the scene.

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There are 14 comments

  1. David Wavey

    It’s so hard to understand how anyone thinks that occupation, theft and oppression of others is just ok. I don’t get it. The hurt soldiers were busy occupying somebody else’s land. Would we fret so about German soldiers injured by partisans in occupied France or Poland or Holland? Hardly. What makes these thieves any different? Israel has relied on people NOT UNDERSTANDING that it is involved, by policy, in racism, expansionism and theft. These people have visited on Palestinians, an entirely innocent people, dispossession, imprisonment, torture, child imprisonment, endless oppression and murder. And all this decade after decade. The crime is so vast that it challenges the very worst of human oppressions such as African slavery. Are Israelis never to be held liable for these crimes? Will Israel escape international courts of law forever? Will it defy UN Resolutions by the bushel thanks to the US veto only, nothing else at all. Let’s back these bastards to the wall and force them out of the West Bank and to pay reparations. Let’s import democracy to Israel, so anyone in the state can be a citizen WITHOUT QUALIFICATION.

    1. Barry B.

      I’d would love very much to see you debate people who think it acceptable to militarily occupy and colonise the land your family has lived on for centuries. Put yourself in the shoes of one of the thousands of Palestinian families who have been driven by force from their homes in order that a Jewish only neighborhood be established.
      Would you think this appropriate for an “academic discussion and debate”?

    2. Reflective Thinking

      just like you don’t negotiate over human rights there’s nothing to be open-minded about in regards to a side that is arguing against human rights…they either come around to the side of justice or they don’t and if they don’t, you don’t need them…just because there are multiple sides to an issue doesn’t mean all have equal legitimacy….I assume your comment was sarcastic…otherwise it doesn’t make much sense to me….forgive me if I misunderstood

      1. Batman

        you understood it.. I was just wondering who gave you the right to decide what is just and what not? is their a monopoly on human rights?

      2. Reflective Thinking

        I don’t decide what is right and what is not and it’s stupid for you to think so. Who decides that it’s wrong for you or me to shoot dead a person unprovoked? Do I decide that? Do you decide that? No. Yet I think we could agree it’s still wrong. Are you going to deny that there exist basic human rights which should not be violated? I assume you’re an American. I’m sure you can come up with a list of things that your government could potentially do to you that would violate your basic human rights. Like I don’t know…maybe demolishing your house with an armored bulldozer while you’re still inside it….shooting at you while you’re trying to fish or farm your land…hindering access to quality medical care….making you pay taxes without giving you basic services like sewage and electricity….these are just some of the violations which an occupying power visits upon its occupied population…I could go on and on and on It’s not rocket science. Don’t play the “who decides” card? It’s vastly overplayed and doesn’t mean squat when one really thinks about it and doesn’t just reflexively begin to type oppositional words on his keyboard just for the sake of typing oppositional words on his keyboard….which you’ve done twice so far. Here’s a tip. Don’t ask stupid questions that you already know how stupid they are….because most of the time people aren’t going to be kind enough to answer them. anyway I suggest you check out Israel’s 1950 Law of Return, Absentee Property Law (1950), Citizenship Law (1952), World Zionist Organization-Jewish Agency “Status” Law (1952), the Jewish National Fund Law (1953), and Basic Law: Israel Lands (1960). I suggest you check out the definitions of apartheid, occupation, and colonialism as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Then apply them to Israel and see what you come up with. I suggest you look up the definition of ethnic cleansing. I suggest you look up the concept of population transfer and its instrumental role in Zionist political thought. I suggest you look up the 1949 Geneva Conventions specifically the Fourth convention banning collective punishment. I suggest you research how Israel systematically terrorizes, imprisons, and tortures Palestinian Children as part of its military occupation, I suggest you research international human rights law. I suggest you research Plan Dalet. I suggest you research the Prawer Plan. I suggest you research Israel’s 1965 Planning and Building Law. I suggest you look up UN resolutions 194, 181, and 242. In short, what I suggest is that you take the initiative to learn before making smart and arrogant comments. After all this research, if you still come to the same conclusions that I assume you have already come to by virtue of your blind support for Israel to do whatever the hell it wants, human and civil rights be damned, well then you sir are hopeless.

  2. theo megalopolis III

    When I was in university, a club I belonged to brought lawyer Doug Christie to speak on campus about freedom of speech issues-Christie defended Ernst Zundel who was later expelled from Canada for denying the holocaust. The first two rows of the audience were either Jewish or Jewish sympathizers who distrupted Christie’s talk until he simply gave up and decided to talk to people backstage. Showed me that booing and jeering and yelling remarks is quite acceptable in getting your point across. Of course if theres a hint of anti-Semitism in those comments then this doesn’t apply!

    1. ontogram

      There was someone expelled from Canada for denying the Holocaust? Is this possible? Do people get expelled for denying the Rape of Nanking, Stalin’s starvation of the Kulaks, the genocide of Native Americans? Why just the Holocaust? This alone is reason enough to be anti-Jewish, that they could pull this off, enforcing history! That alone without respect to whatever makes people anti-semitic in the first place.

  3. David Christie

    “Oy Vey How dare you college punks criticise The Chosen Ones and Israel? It just makes me want to cover my ears and scream Holocaust, Holocaust HOLOCAUST !!”

  4. TruEcho

    I commend these activists on their work. A peaceful way to protest and a great way to stir up some interest in the Palestinian cause. It is a shame that Israeli groups get so much funding – it hardly gives Palestinian groups a chance to speak out. Organizations like University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ use alternative ways to raise awareness (like this walk-out), showing that heart, creativity and intelligence will get you farther than money. Movements like these inspire me to believe that the Palestinians are closer than ever towards justice. Thank you, SJP, for your perseverance and hard work. You are beacons of light in a world that is often cloudy with deception, greed and hatred. Congratulations on your success!

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