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Published on Apr 4, 2011
WALTHAM, MA -- Members of Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine (BSJP) disrupted a panel discussion of six Members of the Israeli Knesset tonight at Brandeis University. The action targeted MK Avi Dicther, an international war criminal wanted for crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva Convention. Dichter ordered the tortures of detained Palestinians while he served as head of Shabak, the Israeli Intelligence Services. In July 2002, Dichter ordered the assassination of a Hamas commander by dropping a one-ton bomb on his home in a residential area, causing the deaths of 15 people, including 9 children, and injuring dozens more. When Dicther spoke, a dozen Brandeis students stood and demanded that he turn himself in to authorities, distributing warrants for his arrest. In English and in Hebrew, the students listed charges against Dichter, including torture and the bombing of civilians. They ended their disruption by chanting in Hebrew "Don't worry Avi Dicther, we'll meet you in the Hague." The action aimed to alert the Brandeis community to the presence of a war criminal on campus. "We believe that Avi Dichter must be put to trial for his crimes against humanity," said participant Liza Behrendt. Participant Paraska Tolan stated, "War criminals have a right to speak on our campus, but students also have the right to hold them publicly accountable for their crimes. This serves as a message that Dichter should not feel welcome, even at Brandeis University." Lisa Hanania, a Palestinian student at Brandeis, said that she was extremely disturbed by the racist comments from some of the MKs. "MK Tzipi Hotovely claimed that 'Arabs have a different D.N.A that lacks humanity'. As a citizen of state, I am concerned that Israel is sliding into an openly racist ethnocracy." A first-year from Israel, stated, "Brandeis claims to promote social justice, but today they invited legislators who openly espouse racist attitudes towards Palestinians." The students emphasize that, although they targeted Dichter specifically, all MKs should be held accountable for recent racist legislation such as the "Loyalty Oath," the criminalization of Nakba commemoration, and the institutionalization of residential discrimination.