Editors’ Note: Because students at other universities have previously had their personal information leaked as a result of their views on the conflict in the Middle East, the Quest will not publish participants’ names, identifying characteristics, or photos containing visible faces.
Photography by Adrian Keller Feld
On Wednesday, October 25, at 1:00pm, approximately a hundred students gathered in Eliot Circle to protest Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip and demonstrate support for Palestine. The walkout, which was organized by the newly formed Students For Justice in Palestine at Reed, was scheduled to align with several other student protests at colleges across the country.
The walkout began with a reading of the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish, a celebrated Palestinian poet. A third student listed the organization’s demands, which they said were “a little off the cuff.” They asked that the Reed administration publish a statement condemning the “ethnic cleansing” occurring in Gaza, that they disclose any financial relationships with the Israeli government, and that they cancel study abroad programs at Ben-Gurion University and Hebrew University. The organization also criticized the administration for not providing adequate support to Palestinian students.
Around a dozen students not associated with the organization came to the microphone to speak. One, a member of Anakbayan East Portland, a Filipino-run activism organization, expressed solidarity between Filipinos and Palestinians. Though almost all of the statements were benign, two speakers advocated for violence. One said that “liberation [of Palestine] will be violent,” and another said Palestinians had “the right to resist occupation by any means necessary.”
Earlier this week, Chris Toutain and Jessika Chi, respectively the Dean of Students and the Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity, sent an email to the student body, asking students to “please let us know ways that we can support you,” and to treat others with “kindness, empathy, and care.” At 9am on Friday, October 27, Reed faculty will also host a “teach-in” in Eliot 103 regarding the current state of the conflict.