Thursday, September 29, 2011

"We Stand With the Irvine 11"

Following the convictions of the students known as the "Irvine 11" this past week, over thirty chapters nationwide of Students for Justice in Palestine have signed on to a message of support for the Irvine 11.  The students were arrested in February 2010 and charged with “conspiracy to disrupt a public meeting” and “disruption of a public meeting,” after interrupting a speech by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren.

Sign on to the pledge here.

We Stand With the Irvine 11

"Ordinarily, a person leaving a courtroom with a conviction behind him
would wear a somber face.  But I left with a smile.  I knew that I was a
convicted criminal, but I was proud of my crime. It was the crime of joining
my people in a nonviolent protest against injustice."

-Martin Luther King, Jr. (Case No. 7399, convicted of violating the state
of Alabama's anti-boycott law, March 22, 1956, from "Stride Toward
Freedom: the Montgomery Story".)

We join our voices with the unjustly charged and convicted Irvine 11, who
dared to draw attention to Israel‚s war crimes. Orange County District
Attorney, Tony Rackauckus, has punished students who care about the world
enough to try to change it. The 11 students refused to remain silent when
Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren spoke at the University of California,
Irvine in February 2010. Their brief outbursts, at best representing
protected First Amendment speech and at worst harmless civil disobedience,
have led to McCarthyistic misdemeanor charges. On September 23, 2011, an
Orange Country jury found them guilty.

We unequivocally condemn these charges, which unfairly single out and
criminalize Muslim students who chose to exercise their First Amendment
right to speak out against Israel’s human rights abuses. Had the speaker not
been Israeli, had the issue not been Palestine, had the students not been
Muslim, these charges never would have been pursued. Rather, these charges
reflect a climate of Islamophobia and an irrational exceptionalism for
Israel when it comes to free speech. The charges chill the free exchange of
ideas and students‚ right to protest at universities nationwide.