1,000 at TAU mark Nakba, stage counter-protest

Raucous counter-protesters attempt to interrupt event, in which Arab students told family stories from 1948.

By
May 15, 2012 01:41
2 minute read.
TAU Nakba Day counter-protest

TAU Nakba Day counter-protest 370. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

 
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Around 1,000 people gathered outside of Tel Aviv University’s main gate on Monday as students held a memorial ceremony to mark “Nakba Day,” the creation of the Palestinian diaspora after the founding of the State of Israel.

The crowd was more or less split between those attending the memorial and a particularly raucous crowd of counter-demonstrators waving Israeli flags, singing the national anthem, honking horns and drowning out the memorial ceremony, with some protesters occasionally chanting “Havenu Nakba Alechem” (“We brought a Nakba upon you”).

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The memorial was the source of a significant amount of controversy, with Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar calling on the university to reconsider the decision to allow it, which he called “mistaken and outrageous.”

In the end, the university approved the memorial, which took place one day before Nakba Day, traditionally held on May 15, but stipulated that students must pay for their own security and could not use amplified speakers.

Though one organizer said the university required that they pay around NIS 1,000 for security, there was also a heavy contingent of Border Police and Israel Police officers on the scene. In addition, the counter-protesters were able to use a speaker system.

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