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Pro-Israel students at UCLA slam ‘antisemitic’ film screening attended by Roger Waters

By December 6, 2016March 6th, 2017Press Release

A group of pro-Israel students at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have condemned a recent film screening on campus hosted by a pro-Palestinian group, accusing the event of perpetuating antisemitic conspiracy theories.

The Students for Justice in Palestine movement held a screening on November 30 at UCLA of the film “The Occupation of the American Mind,” a cinematic creation that claims to expose “Israel’s public relations war with the world.”

The popular cross-campus pro-Palestinian student movement, often holds pro-BDS and pro-Palestine events, lectures and activities on campuses across the US in an attempt to raise awareness for its cause.
The screening of the film at UCLA was widely publicized and was also followed by a discussion with the film’s producer, Sut Jhally.

One high-profile attendee at the screening was the film’s narrator, Roger Waters, the renowned Pink Floyd musician and outspoken proponent of the BDS movement against Israel.

The documentary film has come under fire for its approach in purporting to show the different ways in which Jewish Americans as well as Israeli activists do everything in their capacity to lobby pro-Israel ideas, laws and actions in favor of Israel; thus developing an ever-growing operation that seeks to gain control of the American government and public opinion.

While some of the student body at UCLA attended the event and reportedly had a positive reaction, others were alarmed by the event and the discussion that followed it.
In an article submitted to UCLA’s newspaper, the Daily Bruin, a group of pro-Israel students expressed their concerns and even bewilderment at the university’s administration for enabling what they said was a blatantly antisemitic event on university grounds.

“The film is an intellectualization of the centuries-old anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that a group of powerful, manipulative and domination-obsessed Jews have gained control of politics and media through a combination of wealth, power, influence and deceit,” read the letter penned by two students and endorsed the representatives of several campus groups. “The film asserts that through sheer mendacity and careful scheming, Jews concocted stories of suffering, when in reality, they were the true oppressors.”

“Rather than initiate a constructive dialogue about the role of the media in this conflict, ‘The Occupation of the American Mind’ devotes its energy to flirting with and perpetuating anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,” the students lamented. “Our interest in writing this piece is not to silence the viewpoints put forth by the film. Rather than silencing voices, our goal is to combat ‘bad speech’ with constructive speech.”

They explained that while they are both eager to promote their fellow students’ constitutional rights such as freedom of speech, they were disappointed in those from the student body who backed the event, charging that they provided a platform of “identity-based hatred” that violated the university’s code of conduct.

“Along with their right to screen this film comes our moral responsibility to call it what it is: inflammatory, anti-Semitic propaganda,” stated the letter criticizing the film screening.

The group of pro-Israel students said that they felt their peers had failed to discern between pro-Palestinian activities and antisemitic agendas.

The article, published December 1, garnered the response of many who echoed their hopes to put a stop to antisemitic activities in student campuses across the US.
Original article was published in The Jerusalem Post here. 
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