Photo: Reuters
Checkpoint (archives)
Photo: Reuters

US students set up 'checkpoint' on campus

Students at San Jose State University disguised as soldiers, Palestinians at

SAN FRANCISCO - On Israel's Independence Day this year, Max Grossman, an Art and Design lecturer at San Jose State University in California, came upon a giant wall built on campus by a student organization called Students forChange.


The wall was intended to symbolize Israel's security fence in the West Bank. A checkpoint was set up near the wall where fifty students posed as either Kaffiyeh-clad Palestinians or armed Israeli soldiers.


"I was in shock when I saw it," Grossman said. "I am 40, I studied at Berkeley and Columbia, places where numerous public protests regularly take place, but I never saw anything like this. They pretended to question and abuse detainees."


Students disguised as soldiers handcuffed, blindfolded and sometimes pretended to execute supposedly Palestinian civilians with their plastic rifles.


"It was like seeing a play," said Andrew Schwartz, a student at the university. He said students playing soldiers shouted "Shut up or I'll shoot you," "You won't see your family today," and "Don't speak."


Schwartz added that some female students disguised as pregnant Palestinian women were "shot" by students acting as soldiers, for disobeying orders at the improvised checkpoint.


"Free Palestine" and "End Israel's apartheid" were among the slogans that could be read on the wall. Some students called on the US to end its financial support of Israel.


Jewish students staged a counter protest wearing shirts reading: "If I were a suicide bomber, you would be dead."


Grossman tried to have a conversation with a couple of students disguised as soldiers but to no avail.


"They announced that they did not have to speak to me. They did not want have a dialogue, since they had a political agenda," Grossman said.


After the protest, Jewish students pushed for new campus regulations making itmore difficult for students to hold such protests.


פרסום ראשון: 05.25.07, 07:13
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