“My people are being killed, my people are being oppressed, I'm going to
do everything I can do to stop this. I'm not going to
follow a form of protest that fits the status quo that allows my people
to be oppressed.”
—Taher Herzallah, one of the so-called “Irvine 11,” speaking at UC Santa Barbara Tuesday.
The UCSB Multicultural Center's Students for Justice in Palestine hosted the appearance by Hezallah and Santa Barbara sociology professor Robert I. Robinson, who accused the Israeli government of practicing ethnic cleansing with its recent treatment of Palestinians.
Herzallah, two fellow UC Riverside students and eight UC Irvine students were arrested after repeatedly interrupting a February 2010 address at UCI by invited speaker Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the U.S.
“Michael Oren is a trained propagandist,” Taher said at UCSB (via The Bottom Line). “Michael Oren was directly involved in the Gaza Massacre. . . . For
me a protest is standing up, getting in somebody's face and telling it
how it is.”
For telling it how it was to Oren, Herzallah, the other students and the Muslim Student Union many belonged to were disciplined by university officials. Then, days before the statute of limitations was to run out, the Orange County District Attorney's office filed criminal, misdemeanor charges against what by then became known as the Irvine 11.
One student settled his case before Herzallah and nine other students were convicted and sentenced last September to three years of informal probation and 56 hours of community
service. Those who complete the community service hours by Sept. 24 of this year will have the probation period reduced to one year. Their attorneys have also appealed.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.