First, large crowds of gathering protesters forced Immigration and Customs Enforcement to call off their own speaking event. Then, the same crowd of students and community members occupied a room where agents of the bloodthirsty Israeli Defense Force were booked to speak, forcing a last-minute change of venue.
“From Palestine to Mexico, all the Walls Have Got to Go!” was the chant on everyone’s lips at Arizona State University the night of Nov. 13.
ASU clubs Students for Socialism and Students for Justice in Palestine coordinated the mobilization against ICE and the IDF, two racist instruments of state terror planning to speak on the same evening in a pro-apartheid marathon.
Confronted with a growing number of protesters, ICE canceled their on-campus appearance at the very last minute. Protesters then marched to the room where the IDF was to be hosted chanting, “IDF and ICE, same sh-t twice!” They flooded the room and hallways. Inside the room, protesters hung up a Palestinian flag and occupied the venue for about an hour.
The organizers of the pro-apartheid IDF event were forced to switch rooms. Protesters made their way to the new venue and continued to proudly disrupt the IDF, risking arrest by hostile police. The IDF and supporters of the pro-apartheid Israeli government exited the event under shouts of “Free, free Palestine!”
During the anti-apartheid movement against the regime in South Africa, no representative of the South African government was allowed to speak without being shouted down by protesters. This was so pervasive that the South African apartheid regime tried to keep all their appearances secret. They didn’t dare appear on any college campuses. This was an important part of the movement to isolate the apartheid regime all over the world.
Similarly, there has been a big push by activists at ASU recently for the university to support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement, a Palestinian-led movement to boycott the Israeli apartheid regime, which includes an academic boycott.
As a university near the U.S.-Mexico border, the similarities between the terror inflicted on Palestinians by the IDF and that inflicted on Latin American migrants by U.S. border police is clear to the ASU community.
Arizonan and Israeli law enforcement agencies participate in joint training, technology transfer and weapons exchanges and sales. The same companies that profit off the Palestinian genocide also profit off the mass incarceration and deportation of Latin American migrants.
Racist supporters of ICE and the IDF were utterly outnumbered and outmaneuvered by the demonstrators, extinguishing the myth of ASU as a uniformly apolitical or reactionary campus. ASU students and Tempe community members are justice-minded and willing to take bold action!