Harvard students walk out en masse from Israeli diplomat’s talk in US

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CAMBRIDGE: In yet another sign that Palestinian solidarity activists are getting a room inside mainstream institutions, scores of Harvard students walked out on the Israeli consul general yesterday as he began a talk at Harvard Law School on the settlement project. The students were largely silent and held up signs saying, “Settlements are a War Crime.”

Dani Dayan spoke to a largely-empty room and expressed contempt for the demonstrators as being like kindergartners.

More than 100 students “from across Harvard” walked out, according to the Palestine Solidarity Committee at the school. Most of the hall empties in this video of the protest posted by Hamzah Raza, a student at Harvard’s Divinity School.

Dayan is himself a settler and spoke on the “legal strategy of Israeli settlements.” He was sponsored by a program on Jewish and Israeli law at the Law School and introduced by Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor and expert on religion, who said that the invitation did not represent an endorsement of Dayan’s views, but a desire to engage his views.

The Palestine Solidarity Committee posted a photograph of the largely empty hall after the walkout. It shared credit for the protest with the “Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine.”

Dayan thanked Harvard for hosting him at its “most prestigious institution.” But the Palestine Solidarity Committee statement reports that he was disdainful.

The Palestine Solidarity Committee also tweeted, “We cannot tolerate his extremist views.”

Israeli human rights attorney Michael Sfard was pleased by the demonstration.

Liberal Zionist Richard Goldwasser seconded the idea that the protest reflects a trend– and Israel better gets with it. He endorsed the walkout but said he was saddened.

According to Middle East Eye, one of the students’ protest organiser said:  “To have 100 people standing up all at once and silently, did leave an impact.

“As soon as we found out about the event, we planned and it took a lot of time but we had a team at every school in Harvard, finding people to help us make it happen,” Samer Hjouj told the publication.

Back in 2012, Dayan had penned a column in the New York Times, stating that “Israel’s settlers are here to stay”.