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Monday, May 20, 2024

Day five of the pro-Palestine encampment at Library Mall

The pro-Palestine protest and encampment organized by organized by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Young Democratic Socialists of America continued through Thursday night.

The pro-Palestine protest and encampment organized by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Young Democratic Socialists of America continued through Thursday night.

More than 30 tents remained up into Friday morning even after police removed all but two tents Wednesday morning. Police arrested 34 protesters on Wednesday, and four were put in the Dane County Jail, according to UWPD.

The encampment began soon after protesters held a rally Monday morning to call for UW-Madison to divest from companies with ties to Israel. 

The Wisconsin Administrative Code prohibits camping on university lands, but a university's chancellor can authorize camping. UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin said in a statement she authorized the Wednesday removal of the encampment.

Organizers met with campus administration this morning. At this time, there is still no resolution. Protesters have called for a disclosure of the University of Wisconsin Foundation's investments.

Read coverage of the encampment from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.


 

[8:15 p.m. CDT]

By Bryna Goeking

Pro-Palestine organizers held a “Jews for Palestine Liberation Shabbat” at 7:30 p.m.

Roughly 50 protesters joined the Shabbat. The group engaged in music, lighting candles and prayer. They also had bread and grape juice. 

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“[Shabbat] marks a moment of difference in the lives of the candles that guide us in our pursuit of justice and show us the future that we want to see and build together,” an organizer said. 

Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest that begins on Friday at sundown. 


Liberation Shabbat May 3-13.jpg




[7:30 p.m. CDT] 

By Noe Goldhaber and Ty Javier

The Cardinal spoke with Suzanna Sarhan, a Palestinian American mother who has been at the encampment since it began. Suzanna has brought her children out of school because she feels it is important to show them they can be proud of who they are.

“It's important to be proud to be Palestinian … every day we've been here, it's been heart-filling,” she said. “It's given faith back to us and humanity to see people of all faiths, ethnicities, genders just coming together to want to support.”

Sarhan said the encampment made her children see not only themselves as Palestinian, but their fellow demonstrators as well.

“It changes the vision for my children and their future because they don't just see themselves as Palestinians anymore, they see everybody around them as a Palestinian,” she said.

Still, Sarhan said not all of her experiences at the encampment were positive.

“There have been times here where you don't feel safe to be a Palestinian,” she said. “You have people heckling you as they walk by … chanting things out of their cars and playing loud music when you're trying to pray.”



[6:44 p.m. CDT]

By Anna Kleiber 

Sheikh Rami Bleibel spoke to a crowd of around 250-300 pro-Palestine protesters on Library Mall.

Bleibel is a second generation Palestinian refugee and said all four of his grandparents were forcefully expelled from their homes in Palestine in 1948. He said the genocide in Gaza today did not start on Oct. 7 but rather in 1948 with the creation of the state of Israel. 

“They can have you look at Gaza today, and they would have you thinking that Gaza is Goliath, and somehow the apartheid state of Israel is David when it’s the complete opposite of that,” Bleibel said. 

Bleibel said encampments are “places of peace and love,” having visited UW-Milwaukee’s campus before coming to UW-Madison.  

“The only hate we have on these encampments in our hearts is hate towards the oppressor and the genocidal maniacs that are killing women and children,” Bleibel said. 

While other citizens of the world live in their country, Bleibel said this is true for all except the people of Palestine.

“Palestine lives in them,” Bleibel said. “The Palestinian community and all human beings have dignity and honor and humanity in their hearts. We'll never forget about Palestine.”


May_2024_Palestine_Protest_Day_5-19.jpg
A Pro-Palestine speaker talks to a Pro-Palestine crowd at Library Mall on May 3, 2024 in Madison, Wis.




[6:28 p.m. CDT]

By Annika Bereny

The university released a statement calling for the protesters to meet with UW administration leaders at noon on Saturday and said the meeting earlier today “ended productively.” They have requested that protest organizers let them know whether they would like to meet by 9 a.m. Saturday. 

The statement also included the text of an email sent to the protesters by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs John Zumbrunnen and Provost Charles Isbell. 

“As we look around the country at how events have unfolded at universities in Los Angeles and New York, we certainly hope that we can find a better path forward here in Madison,” their email to student leaders read. “We hope and trust you want the same and will join us tomorrow at noon.”

The email also said UW administration officials “have not made any commitments” in relation to the protesters’ demands, nor have the protesters “made any concessions.”



[6:10 p.m. CDT]

By Noe Goldhaber, Anna Kleiber and Finnegan Ricco

A group of around 10 members of YAF and the College Republicans of UW-Madison have arrived on Library Mall for a “Party in the USA” demonstration.

The group is handing out free t-shirts, American flags, pocket constitutions and popsicles.

“We want to show that you can actually protest without breaking the law,” YAF President Harrison Wells said. 

Wells said YAF wanted to come out to Library Mall to “promote their own club legally” and not following all the policies required to be a student organization sets a “terrible precedent.” 

“I think the double standard is abundantly clear,” Wells said. “[YAF] has been told multiple times for our events if it gets out of hand that we would have to shut down the event for safety, and then they don’t apply the same rules.” 


College Republicans x YAF-1.jpg




[5:05 p.m. CDT]

By Ty Javier and Rachel Hale

A demonstration raising funds for Israel has started on Library Mall opposite the encampment. 

The group is raising money for three foundations: the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, a hostage advocacy group; Magen David Adom, Israel's emergency medical and disaster services, and the Lone Soldier Center, an organization for young men and women actively serving in the Israel Defense Forces with no immediate family in Israel.

“The university has refused to enforce the law and is allowing these protesters to stay in an unlawful encampment, and the protesters are engaging in intimidation against Jewish students, against Zionist students,” said Ben Newman, one of the event organizers. “In the absence of the university enforcing their rules, we want to say that it costs money to tent and we are going to raise money for Israel for every hour that they camp.”

Students held Israeli Flags and signs calling for the return of the hostages held by Hamas after Oct. 7. 

“I just really liked the idea of channeling something so negative into something so positive,” senior Yaakov Segal said.

The group plans to leave before the YAF demonstration at 6 p.m., according to Newman.


Pro-Palestine Protest Day 5 1-10.jpg




[4:26 p.m. CDT]

By Finnegan Ricco

A pro-Palestine protester said in an announcement on Library Mall “there will be a faculty walkout on Monday in support of their student demands.”

“We call on UW-Madison faculty to follow Palestinian and student leadership,” they said. “We demand that UW-Madison faculty use every relationship both personal and professional to creatively pursue divestment, pushing your colleagues in departments to support the demands and to condemn police violence against protesters.”  


[3:11 p.m. CDT] 

By Gabriella Hartlaub and Noe Goldhaber 

The four protesters booked at the Dane County Jail on Wednesday had preliminary hearings this morning. 

The only UW-affiliated person arrested, freshman Leo Randle, was given a signature bond and only banned from Library Mall due to the fact that he lives on campus and has exams next week. 

Caleb Brown and Trevor Carter were both released on a signature bond and were banned from UW-Madison’s campus until further notice.

Karl Shultz was given a $500 cash bond due to the severity of his charges, which were battery to a police officer and resisting arrest. He also was banned from the campus. 

Additional hearings for the cases will take place at the end of the month. 



[12:51 p.m. CDT]

By Gabriella Hartlaub and Noe Goldhaber 

Wisconsin Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), and GOP Badgers announced a “Party in the USA” at 6 p.m. on Library Mall.

They will have free t-shirts, American flags, pocket constitutions and popsicles, according to a YAF Instagram post.

“There's an illegal protest going on at Library Mall, so we just want to legally celebrate the greatness of America,” YAF President Harrison Wells told The Daily Cardinal. 

Wells said YAF had reached out to UWPD to inform them that they would be at Library Mall later today. 

YAF's announcements followed other campuses using the American flag as an icon of counter-protest. Students at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill recently replaced a Palestinian flag with an American flag while chanting “USA,” and some University of Mississippi-Oxford students wore the American flag as they taunted a small group of protesters.

Sheikh Rami will be speaking at the UW-Madison encampment at the time of the counter-protest.



[11:11 a.m. CDT] 

By Noe Goldhaber, Mary Bosch and Anna Kleiber 

Pro-Palestine organizers announced they met with Provost Charles Isbell, Senior Vice Provost John Zumbrunnen and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor at 8:30 a.m. 

They said professor Samer Altout will not be a part of negotiations until university administration apologizes to him for UWPD’s violence. He said he has frustrations with UW Administration painting him as an “aggressor” during the Wednesday morning police raid. 

“Let's not forget that all faculty detained on Wednesday morning were faculty of color, including two Black women faculty, where police put one of them in a chokehold,” Jules, a protest organizer, said.

Organizers also said Mnookin wants a resolution before finals begin on Sunday. 

SJP media liaison Dahlia Saba said in order for the negotiations to be resolved, UW-Madison not only needs to consider their demands but “show that they're committed to actually meeting our demands.”

Administration agreed to a phone call later today for further negotiations, the organizers said. It is unclear at what time this meeting will take place. 

“They offered a longer negotiation meeting tomorrow with lawyers present so that we could come to an agreement. One of our student negotiators pointed out that this meeting will be pointless without disclosure of the UW Foundation's investments,” Jules said.

Protesters have called on Mnookin to help use her influence over the UW Foundation to make their investments public. The UW System is invested in mutual funds with ties to Israel and weapons manufacturing.

Organizers criticized what they perceived as Mnookin’s reluctance to “use her power on behalf of her students of color.”

“What more urgency does she need to look past those opinions and start fighting for Palestinian students and other students of color? Seems like she needs to feel more pressure. What do we think about that?” Jules said.

Administration did not discuss police activity during the meeting. They reiterated they want encampments to come down but did not go into specifics about police violence, according to Jules.

“[Police violence] is a concern that we have to take into account, but given the situation in Gaza, especially given the imminent invasion, our concern lies more with the people of Gaza,” Saba said.

Pro Palestine Speaker Day 5
A speaker gives updates on an 8:30 a.m. meeting with UW administration on May 3, 2024.




[10:53 a.m. CDT] Rothman said protesters “instigated” violence during police raid

By Noe Goldhaber and Annika Bereny

University of Wisconsin System President Jay Rothman said Friday morning in an interview with WISN news the violence during the Wednesday morning police removal of the UW-Madison pro-Palestine encampment was “instigated” by the protesters. Mnookin was not at this meeting. 

“The universities of Wisconsin, one of the hallmarks is to allow for freedom of expression and encourage freedom of expression on our campus and we are very proud of that and that’s what we have done forever,” said Rothman. “But we have to distinguish that from illegal activity, and the encampments are in violation of law.”

Rothman said in a statement on Wednesday he supported Mnookin’s decision to authorize the police arrival Wednesday morning. 

“UW-Madison took action to ensure compliance with applicable law and in fulfillment of its commitment to all students and the campus community,” he said. “I commend Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin for her reasonableness and resolve, as well as her commitment to free expression and the safety and security of her students.”

The UW-Milwaukee encampment is still ongoing and largely undisturbed, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel



[10:08 a.m. CDT] The People's Kitchen Part 2 breakfast menu and Friday schedule

By Anna Kleiber

SJP announced Friday’s schedule on Instagram. The schedule includes a general meeting and announcements at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Throughout the day, there will be teach-ins and guest speakers. 

A “Liberation Shabbat” is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and an open mic will be held at 9 p.m. 

The People’s Kitchen Part 2 is serving homemade rice porridge and plantain porridge as well as French toast at the pro-Palestine encampment as the main breakfast course. 

Also on the menu includes apples and oranges, bagels, individual bags of chips and an assortment of beverages. There is a coffee table set up at the entrance to the tent. 

thepeopleskitchen.jpg



[9:56 a.m. CDT]

By Bryna Goeking

Protesters told The Daily Cardinal negotiations were scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Friday. 

On Thursday, organizers announced there will be no more police action at the encampment until the next meeting with Chancellor Mnookin. 

The police were called Wednesday morning to remove the tents, which are prohibited under Chapter 18 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code. Under this code, university chancellors would be able to authorize the encampments.

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Anna Kleiber

Anna Kleiber is the state news editor for The Daily Cardinal. Follow her on Twitter at @annakleiber03.


Annika Bereny

Annika Bereny is the Special Pages Editor for the Daily Cardinal and specializes in campus reporting. Follow her on Twitter at @annikabereny.


Rachel Hale

Rachel Hale is a senior staff writer who covers state politics and campus events. Before getting involved with The Daily Cardinal, she was a culture editor at Moda Magazine. Follow her on Twitter at @rachelleighhale.


Mary Bosch

Mary Bosch is the Photo Editor for The Daily Cardinal and a first year Journalism student. She has also written campus, state and city news. Follow her on twitter: @Mary_Bosch6


Noe Goldhaber

Noe Goldhaber is the college news editor and former copy chief for the Daily Cardinal. She is a statistics major and has reported on a wide range of campus issues. Follow her on Twitter at @noegoldhaber.


Gabriella Hartlaub

Gabriella Hartlaub is an arts editor for the Daily Cardinal. She also reports state politics and life & style stories. Follow her on Twitter at @gabihartlaub.


Bryna Goeking

Bryna Goeking is an arts editor for The Daily Cardinal. She also reports on campus news. Follow her on twitter @BrynaGoeking.

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