Filmmaker’s Presentation Met with Protest

Assi Azar, photo from A Wider Bridge, screen shot.
Assi Azar, photo from: A Wider Bridge, screen shot.

Pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted an Israeli television personality and LGBT rights advocate who had come to Goucher College last week to screen a film addressing how parents cope with their children coming out as gay.

According to the Israeli speaker, Assi Azar, this was the first time in his U.S. tour promoting “Mom, Dad, I Have Something to Tell You” that he has encountered pro-Palestinian students.

“At Goucher, many people came to see the film,” he reported in a Nov. 6 Facebook post that has been reposted by some in the Baltimore Jewish community. “There were many students, many non-Jewish students, and many students that are part of the LGBTQIAA community.

“Before the screening began, I told the audience that I hope we could all engage in an open dialogue as we all share the same goal: Jews and Arabs living side by side in peace,” he continued. “We are all against the death of innocent people. We all must engage in dialogue in order to put an end to the conflict. About 15 percent of the audience (15 people) put pink duct tape over their mouths and they had made posters to be display.

The film screening was peaceful, but it was quickly succeeded by students removing the tape, standing, and chanting against Israel, with posters in their hands. These chants were combative [and] filled with distortions of facts, mostly anti-Semitic.

I found myself under attack, accused of ridiculous accusations. I was arguing with 20–year-old students who were brain washed against Israel, had never visited Israel and who were targeting pure hatred against us.

It was very threatening. I could see the fear on the faces of the Jewish students that were sitting in the hall. Most of them did not take part in the imminent debate that transpired. Students reflected afterward that they were simply afraid to speak as they would likely be targeted and possibly assaulted the next day.

What shocked me the most however, was the fact that some of the students who came out against Israel calling our State an apartheid state were Jews themselves!!!”

Azar posted the details of the event in both English and Hebrew and as of Sunday afternoon, there were more than 180 shares of his English post and almost 50 comments, both in agreement and in opposition, to his presentation and the aftermath.

There are also about 120 shares and more than 100 comments for the Hebrew posting on Facebook.

One student, who, from her comment appeared to be in attendance at the event, wrote on Azar’s post: “It was not an anti-Semitic protest. It was a protest against the use of pro-LGBTQIA propaganda to erase and distract from Israeli violence. The protest was peaceful. No hate speech was used. They were not protesting you, they were protesting Goucher Hillel’s and Gopher Israel’s decision to show your movie. And you talk about Jewish students afraid of being harassed, but you should know, the Jewish students who participated in the protest ARE being harassed. Their Jewishness is being questioned, they’re told they hate themselves and other Jews, they’re feeling unsafe to be Jewish and vocal about the violence in Palestine. Your post fails to represent even half of what truly happened.”

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