NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--An event at Rutgers University had a particularly ironic twist as Pro-Zionist activists protested the forum that featured not only Holocaust survivors, but also survivors of Al Nakba, which was the displacement of Palestinians from what would become the State of Israel in 1948.
The event was one of the stops for the speaking tour "Never Again For Anyone", which is being done, as the forum's website states, "to honor those who perished in the Holocaust by upholding the human rights inherent to all people – and particularly for Palestinians living under Israel’s occupation." On the panel was Jewish-German-Dutch physicist Hajo Meyer, who spent ten months in Nazi Germany's Auschwitz death camp after fighting in the French Resistance, a survivor of the 1948 massacre of Deir Yassin, a Palestinian village of 600 people that Zionist soldiers attacked, killing 107 men, women and children, Hedy Epstein, who received a standing ovation after she spoke of her experiences as a Jewish refugee that was able to escape Nazi Germany via the Kindertransport rescue mission that saved 10,000 Jewish children before the start of World War II, and how she lost much of her family in Auschwitz, and Osamah Abuirshaid of American Muslims for Palestine. The event was organized by the student group BAKA (Belief Awareness Knowledge and Action): Students United for Middle Eastern Justice, a group that has been repeatedly attacked by Rutgers Hillel in a campaign funded by state Jewish federations to undermine the pro-Palestinan events on campus. In November, Rutgers Hillel opposed the BAKA-sponsored "United States to Gaza Fundraiser" to raise money supporting the Gaza Freedom Flotilla to bring aid supplies to the Gaza Strip and challenge the blockade there.
The Never Again For Anyone forum was opposed by Rutgers Hillel, who said they were offended by associating Al Nakba with the Holocaust. "They will have speakers who will equate Israel's treatment of Palestinians to the Holocaust and genocide, which is morally outrageous," Rutgers Hillel executive director Andrew Getraer said. "It not only trivializes the victims of a true genocide, the Holocaust, but it defames the Jewish State of Israel and the Jewish people."
However, when Rutgers Hillel member Aaron Marcus contacted noted Islamophobic blogger Pamela Geller for support, she posted a call to protest the Never Again For Anyone forum with an incendiary and misleading headline on her blog Atlas Shrugged: "Rutgers Students Need You Tonight - Protest Holocaust Deniers and Islamic Supremacists". There were no panelists that invoked Holocaust denial or Islamic Supremacy, but Geller's post was cited as a factor in fueling the angry mob of Zionist activists that came out to demonstrate. According to the blog post, the intent by protesters was to hold a rally inside the lobby but also enter the event and stage a mass walkout. However, they were denied the lobby to stage a protest, which meant they would have to be outside the Douglass Campus Student Center where the event was held. Also, reportedly after pressure from Rutgers Hillel, the university determined that because BAKA merely secured the venue, but this event was actually sponsored by organizations not associated with the university. The costs for the room that was used was no longer at the student group rate, forcing organizers to charge $5.00 to cover those costs.
The entry fee engraged the Pro-Zionist activists who began to become more aggressive, prompting Rutgers Police to call for more than the three officers assigned to the event. At one point, some attendees maintained security at the doors of the room itself to prevent those activists from entering. Ultimately, they held a demonstration in the Student Center Lobby as they originally planned, prompting some event organizers to opine that the anger over the $5.00 fee, might have been staged. At one point one of the Pro-Zionist activists pointed to the lobby television screen as a CNN broadcast of the unrest in Egypt was on, saying that it was evidence how Israel was the only democracy and only friend to the United States in the Middle East. Although some of the activists held signs and wore shirts saying "Don't Politicize the Holocaust!" according to the right-wing website World Net Daily, the New Jersey branch of Young Americans for Freedom was represented among the protestors.
This was the third stop in the "Never Again For Anyone" tour which will take the panel across the country.
VIDEOS FROM THE PROTESTS