Pro-Israel and Pro-Palestine students clash during ASU student government meeting

A student government meeting at Arizona State University on Nov. 14 started with a clash between Israeli and Palestine supporters, and ended with police escorts home for the students.

About 120 people in the "Students for Justice in Palestine" group at ASU were trying for the third time to get the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) bill passed to get the university to stop supporting Israel in any way. 

The bill asks the student government at the university to remove Israeli-made products from campus stores, divest companies supporting Israel and end all ASU study abroad programs in Israel.

The Anti-Defamation League defines BDS as "an international campaign aimed at delegitimizing and pressuring Israel, through the diplomatic, financial, professional, academic and cultural isolation of Israel, Israeli individuals, Israeli institutions, and, increasingly, Jews who support Israel’s right to exist."

"The BDS movement asserts that Israeli policies towards Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, and even some within the Green Line, are akin to those of apartheid South Africa. They argue that the same boycott and isolation tactics used to help dismantle the South African White minority government should be used against Israel in order to force it to change its policies towards the Palestinians," read a portion of the website.

But the item was never discussed, with the meeting called to end early after those in attendance heard rocks hitting the windows. 

"They were protesting from outside while we were having this meeting - and the rocks were thrown at a window. Thank God it did not break the window," said Rabbi Shmuel Tiechtel.

An ASU spokesperson released a statement that the university police department is investigating and said, "the incident is being reviewed for possible disorderly conduct and criminal damage charges. No arrests have been made at this time."

The Jewish students, who had a police escort to their Chabad on Tuesday night, said they’re feeling anything but safe right now.

"I understand that ASU is trying to show ‘you’re safe here,’ but when will they wake up and understand how quickly antisemitic rhetoric becomes organized violence?" said Shy-Lee Ben Ezer. "That’s what we saw yesterday."

Ben Ezer, an Israeli citizen and an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) veteran studying at ASU, said she had switched completely to remote learning since Oct. 7.

"I withdrew from all classes on campus because I do not feel safe with the Star of David outside," said Ezer. "I never thought in my generation we would need to hide our Jewish pride. I'm carrying a gun here in my synagogue from the day it started, because I feel like we need to protect ourselves."

We have reached out to Students for Justice in Palestine for a comment, and they spoke with us on Nov. 16 about what happened.