Students at Michigan State University (MSU) protested a presentation by two Israeli soldiers visiting their campus by staging a mass walk out on 21 February, a video posted on YouTube shows.
Among others, the presentation was sponsored by StandWithUs, a group that works closely with the Israeli government to spread its views in the US and suppress speech by opponents of Israeli policies, and the MSU Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), a training program for college students run by the US military on campuses.
Text accompanying the video states in part:
On Tuesday, February 21st, 2012, two IDF soldiers came to Michigan State University to spew pro-Israel propaganda and speak about their ‘experiences’. They were co-sponsored by MSU ROTC, MSU Stand With Us and the MSU Hillel.
Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) found out on Sunday night, less than 48 hours before the proposed event to take place on Tuesday. Faced with less than two days to decide a reaction and possible means, SAFE had to think and act quick. Looking to the SAFE at University of Michigan, and SJP’s around the country for various protests and reactions to this type of propaganda, MSU SAFE decided to attempt a walkout. With only three people attending a preliminary meeting, and only with fifteen confirmed in attendance, SAFE was unsure of the effects of a walkout with such low attendance.
However, as SAFE organizers waited nervously at the meeting location on Tuesday, dozens of people showed up. Dispersing finally to the location of the event, more SAFE supporters and members showed up - over 40 people. The hall originally only featured a few rows, but after SAFE filled those rows, ROTC brought out more chairs for the intended audience. Hence, the ROTC cadets sitting in the back of the room.
After sitting through enough propaganda, SAFE ‘walked out’.
After the walk out, ROTC requested that we return to explain our actions. SAFE declined to strengthen the message and reinforce the symbolism of being ‘silenced.’