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Davis, California

Friday, May 24, 2024

Davis October 7th Coalition stages counter-demonstration outside of Popular University for the Liberation of Palestine encampment

The coalition put up a banner that read, in part, “Jewish Lives Matter Too” and “Where were students on Oct. 7 and the Holocaust”


By VINCE BASADA and RIVERS STOUT— campus@theaggie.org

Approximately six to seven counter-protesters, largely members of the Davis October 7th Coalition, erected a banner on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 7 on the south side of the pro-Palestinian encampment facing the Memorial Union. 

The brown paper banner, spray painted on site, read, “Never again Oct. 7 // Jewish Lives Matter Too // #bringthemhomenow // Where were students on Oct. 7 and the Holocaust,” and was staked into the ground at 5:20 p.m., as witnessed by several students on the lawn.

A representative for the coalition, who asked to be identified as a Davis resident and UC Santa Barbara 2000 alum, said that the group’s actions were solely in support of Jewish students on campus and were not organized alongside any Jewish student group or club.

“We’re extremely worried about the Jewish students on this campus,” the alum said. “We want to make sure that they’re seen and they’re heard […] We care about them, and we want to keep them safe, and we’re going to continue to try to keep them safe.”

The coalition, which posted photos of the demonstration on Instagram, consists of around 200 members and includes members of the Davis community as well as UC Davis faculty, according to the alum.

The encampment, set up early Monday morning on the central Quad, was organized by the Davis Popular University for the Liberation of Palestine (PULP). The list of their demands includes: The University of California system to divest from Israel; a total academic “cultural boycott;” investment in Palestine and Arab American studies; respect for free speech and “no repression” and the resignation of Chancellor Gary May from the executive board of Leidos or as chancellor of the university. 

“Obviously, we care about all lives lost,” the alum said. “It’s important to all of us, and we just want to be able to support everyone. I don’t like seeing the Gazan lives lost. I’m sympathetic to that as well. But you can’t just have one set of messaging.”

“It’s being very close minded,” the alum said. “You know, you’re essentially trying to brainwash your population here on campus when you’re only giving one set of messaging. There’s more to it.”

Stanford McConnehey, a student at the UC Davis School of Law and media liaison for PULP, spoke on the demonstration.

“The fact that Jewish members of our community continue to use that identity to intimidate people about speaking about an ongoing genocide is not going to deter people from being horrified and wanting to end institutional complicity,” McConnehey said.

At approximately 6:45 p.m., pro-Palestinian protestors began putting up their own sign in front of the coalition’s banner, reading, “Student Intifada // End the Genocide // Divest and Disclose.” After working to pole their sign into the ground, three PULP protesters held the sign up by the stakes. PULP protestors also used umbrellas in attempts to block counter-protestors from filming.

The coalition counter-protesters took down their sign at 7:14 p.m., removing it and its stakes from the grass and rolling it up. The PULP sign remained up for some time after the coalition’s banner was taken down. The coalition hopes to repurpose their sign in the future, according to the alum. 

Written by: Vince Basada and Rivers Stout campus@theaggie.org


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