And of course, the "arch" over the wall's center opening announces the real purpose of the events, BDS: "Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: A Strategy for Israel’s Destruction."
UCLA's Daily Bruin has the background, "UCLA students hope to educate campus about human rights issues with Palestine Awareness Week." And on Facebook, Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA (SJP at UCLA).
When I first arrived I looked around and noticed two opposing groups in the immediate area. The most conspicuous were the Muslim students, although I first went over and said hello to the young folks from Bruins for Israel:
They were just hanging out, enjoying themselves. And they didn't mind being photographed at all:
It was the exact opposite with the Students for Justice in Palestine. I said hello to a couple of the young ladies, and I asked if I could speak with their lead organizer. I was pointed in the direction of a burly young man named Hamzah Baig. I introduced myself and asked if he'd take questions. He asked "Who's this for"? And I told him I was a blogger with David Horowitz's NewsReal Blog. That didn't seem to phase him at first, so the interview started out pretty casually. I asked him what the goals were for Palestinian Awareness Week. He said that the group wanted to stop Israeli settlements of Palestinian lands and to "end the occupation." Then I asked, "what occupation"? And he said "the West Bank." Okay, I thought, hmm, how about a couple of more challenging questions? So I said "Does your group support terrorism against Israelis?" And Baig practically choked on his Arafat scarf. He told me he wanted to be quoted precisely, and then enunciated very slowly, "our group provides no support for terrorism whatsoever." And I said, oh yeah? What about Hamas? Do you support them? He said, "yeah, sure." And I said, but Hamas is a known terrorist organization. I then mentioned David Horowitz's confrontation with Jumanah Imad Albahri at UC San Diego. And I noted that she wouldn't denounce Hamas and called for the extermination of the Jews. But by this time Baig was getting uptight. He said that "our group has nothing to do with the MSA at UC San Diego. They're totally separate for us." And I said, but aren't you guys MSA here at UCLA? And he said, "yeah, sure, were MSA, but we're separate." I said fine, "will you renounce Hamas right now, will your reject Hamas"? He said "we support Hamas programs of education, food and medicine." "What about terrorism"?, I said. And he again hestitated to respond. I thanked him and asked him if I could take his picture, but he refused. By now he was getting hostile at the questioning and wanted to be away from me. I said, "Why"? "This is a public event, at a public university --- why don't you want to be photographed"? And he just waved me away with his arms and said "no pictures."
I walked around a bit and took a picture of one of the Palestinian women, but then a few minutes later she ran back up to me and said, "I'm uncomfortable that you took my picture. I'm uncomfortable with that." I asked her why, but she just repeated that line, and then Baig came over and gave her the crossed-throat sign not to talk to me, again warning me not take pictures. He walked away for a while and I took a picture from a distance anyway:
I won't post the young woman's picture although she's featured at the group's Facebook page, at 8 seconds at the Palestinian Awareness Week 2010-11 video. That said, I continued to take pictures of the information table, arguing that this was a public event. I suggested to Baig that he was trying to suppress honest reporting about his organization. He alleged: "You are harassing my people." I told him he was harassing me and trying to suppress the truth. He obviously wasn't pleased at the attention to his pro-terror racket:
Arafat scarves were on sale for $10.00:
In any case, here's some photos from the wall. I was pressed for time. I had to head back to the O.C., so I wasn't able to examine the display as closely as I'd have liked. What I did notice wasn't surprising at all. It's all anti-Israel propaganda, completely one-sided, with a few sops to human rights thrown in. The Israeli Apartheid Wall is designed to influence young minds with little knowlege of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Seeing these pictures, it's a 10-to-1 bet that the uninitiated would be horrified at the "brutality," but since there's absolutely no context, it's worthless:
Again, my photography wasn't as organized as I'd like. But I did dwell on this panel featuring American Rachel Corrie, who was killed in 2003:
Corrie's a martyr to the global anti-Israel jihad, but common sense tells you not to lie down in front of a bulldozer. See, "The Case Against Rachel Corrie," and "Rachel Corrie, Again."
And here's the big Hamas panel. So much for "peaceful resistance":
Democratically-elected social workers, but of course the Students for Justice in Palestine weren't handing out copies of the Hamas Charter:
And notice Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Hassan Yassin, founder of Hamas, assassinated by Israel, and obviously a martyr to global jihad. But according to Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
Yassin was the dominant authority of the Hamas leadership, which was directly involved in planning, orchestrating and launching terror attacks carried out by the organization. In this capacity, Yassin personally gave his approval for the launching of Qassam rockets against Israeli cities, as well as for the numerous Hamas terrorist bombings and suicide operations. In his public appearances and interviews, Yassin called repeatedly for a continuation of the 'armed struggle' against Israel, and for an intensification of the terrorist campaign against its citizens. The successful operation against Yassin constitutes a significant blow to a central pillar of the Hamas terrorist organization, and a major setback to its terrorist infrastructure.That data wasn't included at the Students for Justice in Palestine information table.
And these panels must be especially repellent to Jews, "ZIONISM IS NOT JUDAISM":
A couple more photos before I head back home: And note that in all my 25 years as an undergrad, as a graduate student, and a professor, I can't ever recall this prominent of a scriptural banner on the grounds of any campus. This is along the main walk up from the Apartheid Wall. A passage from the Koran (and notice the sponsoring group in the bottom-left corner, "Muslim Union at UCLA"):
About to head out, here's the group of Muslim students. The women are wearing head coverings and red "Free Palestine/End the Occupation" shirts:
This sweet young lady said she was majoring in communications and was thinking about Jewish studies:
Looking back at the wall, on my way to the parking structure:
More later ...