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Oren. Will continue to visit US campuses Photo: AP
Oren. Will continue to visit US campuses Photo: AP

Arab students punished for disrupting Oren speech

(Video) University of California, Irvine suspends Muslim organization's campus activity for a year after its members disrupt Israeli ambassador's address, orders them to engage in community service

Yitzhak Benhorin
Published: 06.15.10, 22:42 / Israel News

WASHINGTON – Muslim students who disrupted an address by Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren at the University of California will have to pay the price. The university's management at Irvine has decided to suspend the Muslim organization's campus activity for a year.


During the February 8 event, which was sponsored by pro-Israel students, an organized group of about 100 students of the Muslim Student Union (MSU) aggressively disrupted the Israeli envoy's speech and was eventually removed from the auditorium. Eleven students were detained by the police in order to allow Oren to complete his address.



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Oren's speech disrupted in February

The UCI management on Tuesday published the decision made by the students' discipline committee, which found guilty of violating the university's policy. A probe carried out by the committee revealed that the speech disruption was preplanned, coordinated and promoted by the MSU.


The Muslim group's activity has been suspended for a year, as of the coming school year which begins on September 1. The organization members are also required to engage in 50 hours of community service.


Irvine has the highest number of Arab residents in the US after Dearborn, Michigan. The university is considered hostile towards Israel, prompting Ambassador Oren to address its students and present Israel's stand.


Israeli Consul-General in Los Angeles Jacob Dayan told Ynet following the decision, "We repeatedly encounter a great amount of hostility on the part of Muslim students. Every year they organize an event called 'the Israel apartheid week' and present lecturers who say Israel has no right to exist. The atmosphere there is not easy, but we decided to hold a dialogue with the students and voice our opinion."


Dayan added, "We welcome the fact that the university allows freedom of speech and plan to continue coming to campus and voicing our stand, as we do in all other campuses in the US."


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