Students celebrate Israeli Independence
April 29, 2009 3:42 PM
The SF Hillel Israeli Coalition celebrated the 61st birthday of Israeli independence on Malcolm X Plaza on Wednesday afternoon.
Members wore blue and white shirts as they danced and sang to a live band performing on stage. Some draped Israeli flags on their shoulders while others waved theirs the similar flags in the air and enjoyed Israeli food and bright blue colored cupcakes.
"It's a celebration, and we're out here to have fun... that what it's all about," said 23-year-old Jewish studies major, Jordan Hopstone.
As the band, YaRock, finished their set, students in the coalition came together in a circle, linking arms and sang "Peace, Peace, There Will Be Peace" in Arabic and English.
"It's a lot bigger than last year," said Allie Berger, a student at SF State. "There's great food and it's just nice to spend time with friends."
Outside of the circle was a collection of students who stood peacefully, with Palestinian flags and signs, to protest the event.
"We're just letting them know that they can celebrate their independence, but they are also celebrating the genocide of Palestinian people," said 19-year-old child adolescent development major, Bernadette Mohammed.
The protesters were a group of student organization, including the General Union of Palestine Students. Their goal was to make their voices heard in a non-confrontational manner, chanting "Free, Free Palestine."
"What we've done [in the past] is always seen as violent," Mohammed said. "We're just coming in solidarity."
Aaron Ackerman, 20, associated with the coalition, said, "We have our political stances, but we don't wish to demonize the other side," as he commented on the protestors.
"It's very interesting to see the two groups together," said Johan Erchoff, a 23-year-old information systems major, as he observed from the sides. "But it's nice that everyone is peaceful."
The event lasted two hours.
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