The Collegian of Penn State reports:
A 10-by-10-foot sign drew conflict and crowds of more than 50 people outside the HUB-Robeson Center Thursday afternoon.
The sign, part of a demonstration by the Penn State chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, was titled “The Palestinian Wall of Lies.” It featured two large silhouettes of men with guns and outlined 10 “lies” the group believes Palestinians propagate.
YAF President Samuel Settle led the demonstration, handing out pamphlets and attempting to strike up conversation with passersby.
“Many people have hatred for Israel and that’s why this is important,” Settle (junior-political science and history) said. “People need to look at the facts.”
But the demonstration didn’t go without opposition.
One student — who fled the scene before providing comment — yelled obscenities at Settle and the rest of the group, calling it “terrible” and proceeding to kick the group’s box of handouts across the sidewalk.
Other students simply shook their heads. Some even laughed.
One student's opposition to the sign took an aggressive turn. In the video below, a pro-Palestinian student gets into an argument with the YAF demonstrators about the sign. Near the end, the pro-Palestinian student's frustration and anger reaches a bit of a boiling point, causing him to reach for the camera and then kick a box belonging to the YAF demonstrators across the quad-like area.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/hBKPX7bvvVo?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
The YAF president, Samuel Settle, describes the incident in his own words:
Today, members of the Penn State Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) set up a Palestinian Wall of Lies outside of the HUB Student Center at the University Park campus. The demonstration began shortly before 1:00, and received an almost immediate hostile reaction from two nearby Arab students. The students described the Wall as “bullshit” and “a f***ing lie,” but were initially nonviolent.
Shortly afterwards, the Wall began attracting significant attention, including from a reporter and photographer with the Daily Collegian student newspaper. Most of the reception was positive; in particular, a group of Israeli students came around to express their support. At this point, one of the two Arab students came back around and began arguing with the YAFfers and Israelis, using abusive language and saying, “I have a problem with Israelis.”
The argument lasted for about 3 minutes, during which the aggressor became increasingly aggravated, ultimately demanding that the YAFfers stop filming him. His request was refused, at which point he lunged for, but missed, the camera I was holding. He then kicked over a crate full of YAF pamphlets and stormed off. A photographer from the Collegian was present at the time.
Although this display was disappointing, it was not surprising. This was the only student to actually become violent, but many other students from the MSA came by at various points to verbally denounce the Wall, and often to personally insult those present. None of these people were able to point out a single error on the Wall, and they dispersed once it became clear that they were being filmed.
On whole, the event was a great success. As mentioned, with the exception of some MSA members, the Wall seemed to get a mostly positive reception. Several of the students indicated that they were extremely pleased to see a counter-balance to the anti-Israel narrative frequently promoted on campus.