Miss Iraq faces off against anti-Israel protestors at UCLA

Sarai Idan held a poster that had "BDS is BS: BDS hurts Palestinians" in bold and walked around trying to have a conversation with the group.

 Sarah Idan (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Sarah Idan
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Miss Universe Iraq 2017 Sarah Idan protested against BDS at the University of California Los Angeles on Saturday when the National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) held its annual conference there over the weekend.

Recording a video of herself walking on the public sidewalks off of the University campus, Idan held a poster that had "BDS is BS: BDS hurts Palestinians" in bold and walked around trying to have a conversation with the BDS group. 

Rather than speak to Idan, the group instead called security to have her escorted away from the campus.

"Last weekend, the anti-Israel hate group National Students for Justice in Palestine held their annual conference at UCLA," She wrote on Twitter attaching the video. "This group harasses Jewish students, promotes BDS and spreads lies about Israel. So I went to UCLA to have a conversation with them. To no surprise they didn't want to talk, instead, they sent security and even talked to the Police in a cowardly attempt to silence me."

SJP is a pro-Palestinian college student activism organization in the US, Canada and New Zealand. They are a BDS movement that constantly boycotts Israel.

UCLA campus  (credit: REUTERS)UCLA campus (credit: REUTERS)

What happened in the video?

The video opens with Idan looking around and saying that she just wants to have a conversation. Within the first few seconds, a security guard approaches Idan and tried to get her to move.

"Feel free to express but it'll have to be across the street," the security guard told Idan.

Idan tried to argue politely by telling the guard that the side of the street they were on wasn't barred. When she didn't move, the guard then said that she will get the authorities involved and walked away.

"They're trying to intimidate us," Idan said as she spoke about the security guards behind her trying to find a way to get her to move. "I'm not going to be intimidated."

A man, who seems to be part of the security team, walks up to Idan and tries to explain to her that protests are being held across the street for safety reasons.

She asks him if there's a law to which he replies that it's a university policy. She asks to see the policy and he agrees, reaches into his pocket and takes out his phone to find it for her to look at.

"I have a feeling that if I wasn't holding up this sign, no one would've kicked me out," she tells him. "If I was wearing a Kefiya, I would be ok."

"Today is a Saturday so the Jewish students can't show up," she explains to him. "It's so unfair to hold it on a day where the Jews can't show up and speak for themselves.

"Dialogue is the only answer for you to reach peace. War, like boycotts, it didn't work for 70 years, why would it work now?"

At the end of the video, Idan shows a group of students behind a fence who are yelling at her. "They treat us like we're terrorists, I'm just one tiny person with a sign," she said, ending the video.

Her second post about it

Idan also posted four pictures explaining further what she was saying in the video, captioning it, "Here's the truth about BDS. BDS betrays the Palestinian people. BDS is dishonest about Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. BDS sabotages Palestinian children's hope for a better future. BDS is BS."

In the first picture, she asks the question "What does 'BDS' really stand for? Find out what the BDS Movement doesn't want you to know."

She then goes on to explain what each letter in "BDS" should really stand for.

For the letter "B", she said it stands for "Betrays the Palestinian People."

"BDS is not a pro-Palestinian Movement. It's an anti-Israel smear campaign. BDS prioritizes eradicating Israel over helping Palestinians," she explained.

The letter "D" is "Dishonest about the PA's spending."

"The Palestinian Authority allocated $350 million/year for 'pay-to-slay' rewards to terrorists, encouraging attacks against Israelis."

Lastly, she said that the letter "S" is for "Sabotages Palestinian children's future." Idan explains that Palestinian children are taught to hate in their schools.

"The Palestinian Authority teaches ate and violence in schools. Instead of receiving an education, children are indoctrinated to resent Israel.

Idan, who is Muslim, said in 2019 at the 41st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva that “The issue between Arabs and Israelis goes beyond policy disagreements. It’s deeply rooted in the belief systems taught in Muslim countries, which are antisemitic,” The Jerusalem Post reported.

During the 2017 Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas, Idan posed for photos with Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman and Idan and her family subsequently fled Iraq due to death threats, according to the Jewish Telegraph Agency.

“For advocating peace, I’m called a traitor,” Idan said. “Negotiating peace for both states isn’t betraying the Arab cause, but a vital step to end conflict and suffering for all.”

JTA contributed to this report.