Students protest Israeli event


Two Loyola students joined a group of Palestinian protesters to silently protest an Israeli event on University of New Orleans’ campus.

On Thursday, Feb. 28, UNO’s Allies of Israel brought two Israeli soldiers to the university to talk about their experiences in Israel. According to Chloe Valdary, Allies of Israel’s president, about 48 of the 73 people who gathered at the event were Palestinian students who were protesting the event.

Loyola students Israh AbuMousa, psychology sophomore, and Varha Abdeljaber, sociology sophomore, were both involved with the protest and said that they decided to participate when they received text messages from some friends at UNO who were organizing it as a silent protest.

AbuMousa said that before the event started, the protesters gathered to tape the names of Palestinians who were killed over the disputed territories in the Gaza Strip onto red shirts they were wearing. She also said about five minutes into the event, the protesters stood up, took off the jackets that were covering their shirts and silently sat back down.

“We stayed for about another 10 minutes and then walked out,” AbuMousa said. “The whole thing was silent, no one talked, no one asked questions and no one voiced their opinion or anything like that.”

Valdary said a few protesters stayed for the event’s questions and answers session. She also said the remaining protesters were behaving disrespectfully by talking over the Israeli soldiers’ responses and by saying they supported the Hamas Charter, which calls for Jewish people’s deaths.

“I had to walk out for a minute because I was getting emotionally agitated,” Valdary said.

AbuMousa and Abdeljaber said they did leave about three protesters at the event so that they could speak from their side, but they did not receive any news on how the Q&A portion was handled. AbuMousa said if there was disrespectful behavior from the remaining protestors, she does not condone it because the purpose of the protest was peaceful silence.

“So, if they did act out, then I don’t think it was the point of the protest to begin with,” AbuMousa said.

Despite the accusations about the protestors’ behavior, Abdeljaber said she feels the protest was successful in its purpose.

“Everyone was all organized and they worked together,” Abdeljaber said. “We all moved as one body and we just made our point, peacefully.”

Burke Bischoff can be reached at [email protected]