A colleague reports on Saturday night’s anti-Israel event at Rutgers, which was grotesquely timed to coincide with 2011 International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and featured Hedy Epstein, described as a “Jewish refugee of the Holocaust”:
Last night was a wild and raucous affair. Yes, it’s true the Jewish students were essentially barred from the event… There were easily way more than 400 protestors there. And that was the issue: There were only about 200 program attendees and they didn’t want the program to be co-opted by the protestors. The program was billed as being free and open to the public. I saw the notice myself.
However, they quickly ditched the sign and notices and decided to charge $5 to get in.
That’s when the trouble began. The protestors began chanting “Let us in” and “free free” and there was a lot of heated exchanges and pushing and shoving and more campus police came in and blocked the door to any more people coming in, including many of those from the other side. The program was delayed almost an hour and a half while “the Zionists” rallied in the student center and everybody decided what to do.
At first the campus police told the protestors with signs they would have to stand outside and not block the student center. However, those wanting to attend the program could get on line, which got so long university officials were struggling to figure out what to with everyone. The outside protestors, who had been singing, came inside.
While the program was delayed, Hillel director Andrew Getraer got a bullhorn and stood on the steps leading to the second level. He was followed by Hillel president Sarah Morrison, Rabbi Goodman from Rutgers Chabad and a Chabad student leader.
Big turnout from the community, especially Middlesex–most of the Middlesex rabbis were there–but also other areas.
Including me, about 10 Jews–about half adults and half students– did get into the program. They actually did not equate the Holocaust with the current situation, but it was extremely anti-Zionist and anti-Israel. By far the worst were the Holocaust survivors, not the Palestinians, especially the male survivor, who sympathized with the terrorists (he was the only one) and said Zionism and Judaism were incompatible.
Star-Ledger has coverage here.