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No criminal charges for protesters who disrupted Israeli apologist’s U of M speech

By staff |
January 14, 2016
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University of MN police handcuffing pro-Palestine protester.
University of MN police handcuffing pro Palestine protester who disrupted Israeli apologist’s U of M speech. (Fight Back! News / Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - Palestine solidarity activists appeared in court, Jan. 13, in defense of their actions at a protest at the University of Minnesota Law School last fall. Misty Rowan and Sophia Hansen-Day both settled their cases with no criminal charges, despite efforts by the Law School and the national Zionist organization, StandWithUs, which had pressed the city attorney to throw the book at them. Supporters responded to that pressure with their own calls to the city attorney’s office earlier this week, urging her to drop the charges, rather than side with the continued silencing of Palestinian voices at the university campus.

The trespassing and disorderly conduct charges stem from a protest organized by the Twin Cities-based Anti-War Committee last November. Challenging a university-sponsored presentation by Israeli military ‘ethicist’ Moshe Halbertal, organizers said at the time, “The University of Minnesota is wrong to spend $5000 in public funds for any speaker who gives cover to war crimes. In particular, there is an international movement to boycott Israel. That movement calls on academic institutions to not sponsor or participate in projects that whitewash Israel’s human rights abuses. We could not ignore the university’s decision to provide a platform that legitimizes apartheid and occupation.”

They continued, “Actions like the protest at the UMN Law School are critical to advancing this work. We call on people of conscience to seize every opportunity to challenge the normalization of the Israeli occupation, including directly confronting Zionist voices on our campuses, in our communities and in the government! It’s time we stop giving racist, Zionist, war apologists a free pass to speak on any public platform. Their words are hate speech and distortions, while their politics promote apartheid, occupation, and the denial of Palestinian liberation, including the fundamental right of return.”

The protest was an absolute success, holding up the pro-Israel speaker for an hour and exposing Israel’s true nature to all in attendance. Zionists across the country, and even the world, were up in arms, that one of their own would be challenged by such “hooligans,” upsetting the lecture hall “decorum” that was supposed to shield the Israeli war crimes apologist from criticism. From publishing complaints on opinion pages, to recruiting statements from witnesses who claimed to have felt “threatened” by the protesters’ loud voices, their efforts failed.

Misty Rowan and Sophia Hansen-Day walked out of the courthouse committed to continuing their important Palestine solidarity work.