San Diego State students blocked the university president’s car Wednesday during a long protest over the response to fliers linking some students to anti-Israel terrorists, FOX5 reported.
The fliers were apparently printed by the David Horowitz Freedom Project and featured the names of seven student activists allegedly allied “with Palestinian terrorists to perpetrate [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] and Jew Hated on this campus.” Horowitz, a controversial right-wing writer, is slated to speak at the university next week.
“We wanted the president to come to our defense as students,” said political science student Osama Alkhawaja, 22, who was listed on the flier, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Alkhawaja and other students contend that President Elliot Hirshman’s response to the flier, which involved supporting free speech while saying the flier could chill discussion, was insufficient.
After the protesters blocked Hirshman from leaving for about an hour, he eventually got out of the car he was in and met with students, apologizing to some.
“It’s always difficult balancing free speech with things that make people uncomfortable, and we deal with that every day on campus,” university spokesperson Greg Block told the Union-Tribune. “But in the end, free speech wins out, and we support that.”
The students named on the flier were accused of being activists for the BDS movement or members of Students for Justice in Palestine or the Muslim Students’ Association. BDS seeks to elicit changes in Israel’s policies by boycotting firms that do business with the Israeli government. SJP supports BDS and has accused Israel of war crimes. MSA has its roots in the Muslim Brotherhood and has advocated against Israel.
“Any time something happens on campus, people want the president to make a statement,” Block said. “He can’t make a statement for everything that happens.”