When Nadav Weinberg, a soldier who had served with the Israeli Defense Forces, spoke at Arizona State University last week, the room was filled with protesters. Rather than disrupt his speech, which is often the tactic taken at such events, the demonstrators found a much more powerful way to voice their dissent: silence.
After taking their seats, the demonstrators took off their jackets to reveal red t-shirts with signs bearing the names, ages and dates that civilians were killed by Israeli troops. They then took red tape and covered their mouths with it.
Folks in the back of the room held a sign that read: “Giving Voice to Civilians Silenced by IDF Policy.” (I like the emphasis on policy rather than on the individuals within the military, which I think is always an important distinction for nonviolent activists to make.)
Part way through Weinberg’s speech, the group proceeded to stand up and slowly walk out of the room, leaving it close to empty.
A similar action took place at the University of Michigan recently, which is a hopeful sign that IDF soldiers will not be able to share their viewpoints on American campuses uncontested. (h/t Mondoweiss)