Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Event With Israeli Soldiers At University Of Virginia Disrupted By Protesters

(JTA) — An event featuring Israel Defense Forces reservists at the University of Virginia was disrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters who chanted anti-Israel slogans and handed out literature.

University Police Department officers also showed up at the event on Thursday night after noting the gathering of protesters. An assault report also reportedly was received by campus police, the student newspaper Cavalier Daily reported.

The idea behind the “Building Bridges” event, which invited the reservists to share their personal stories and answer questions, was “to humanize the conflict, learn about Israeli society, and allow for honest conversation,” The Brody Jewish Center – Hillel at UVa said in a statement that also was posted on Facebook. The event also was sponsored by CavPac and Hoos for Israel.

During the program the protesters, both students and non-students, entered the hall and began disrupting the event, according to the statement. The protesters were invited to remain and join the conversation, but declined.

“While free speech and the ability to protest are important aspects of college life, we are disappointed that protesters refused to engage in conversation and instead continued to shout intimidating and hostile slurs directed at students, staff, and panelists. UVa is and has always been a place for the free exchange of ideas, learning from opposing views, and open dialogue,” the statement said.

Student Ben Borenstein told the Cavalier Daily that he felt “threatened” during the protest. “It was probably the most afraid that I’ve been in a situation at U.Va. because it was such a small classroom and it was so loud … it was very antagonistic and almost militant,” he said.

In a university-wide email, Dean of Students Allen Groves said that the protestors may have violated several university policies, including those on protests and amplified sounds.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.