Photo: Screen shot of PSC-UT video shows Israeli Studies professor attempting to physically intimidate students.
On Nov. 13 an event was hosted at University of Texas-Austin by Israel Studies Professor Ami Pedazhur. Titled “The Origin of a Species: The Birth of the Israeli Defense Forces’ Military Culture,” there was no doubt that the event was intended to glorify the Israeli military while turning a blind eye to the suffering Palestinians have endured from the state of Israel.
A small group of student protesters from the Palestinian Solidarity Committee, led by Mohammed Nabulsi, attempted to make their own introduction to the event. As they were exercising their right to free speech, they were physically intimidated by Pedazhur and a Zionist graduate student.
In the video posted by the PSC of UT Austin, a man can be seen pressing himself against Mohammed Nabulsi, slapping Nabulsi’s hands down as he tries to read his speech, and later tearing a Palestinian flag from protesters’ hands on multiple occasions. Meanwhile Pedazhur claps loudly in the background and attempts to yell over Nabulsi, at one point saying “You are students, you know nothing.”
In a post made by Pedazhur on his personal and departmental website following the event, he attempted to portray himself as a victim and further discredit the student protesters. Ludicrously, Pedazhur stated: “They seem to know nothing about the history and politics of Israel and Palestine,” and attempted to portray Nabulsi and the other protesters as “terrorists” by asking the reader to “join me in an attempt to confront the radicalization process on campuses” and stating that “After spending two decades of learning how people turn to terrorism, I fear that what I witnessed on Friday should raise many red flags.” These statements posted on an official university site have led to threats and intimidation against members of the PSC.
What should cause concern is that a faculty member and his graduate student attempted to physically intimidate a group of students engaged in non-violent protest.
A legal fund has been set up in support of the activists.