Tuesday, March 31

Photo: Students protest lack of representation at Indigenous Peoples Unite event

(Liz Ketcham/Daily Bruin)

Correction: The original version of this article contained several errors. The article incorrectly stated the Students Supporting Israel and Bruins For Israel’s Indigenous Peoples Unite event was a celebration of Israeli history. In fact, it was meant to be a platform for Jewish, Armenian and Kurdish students to share the histories of their peoples. The article also originally stated Burkan Aranki helped organize the protest. In fact, he attended the protest.

This post was updated May 24 at 10:55 a.m.

Members of Students for Justice in Palestine held a protest at a Thursday event in which Jewish, Armenian and Kurdish students spoke about the histories of their peoples, claiming it did not acknowledge Palestinians as indigenous to the region.

The event was meant to bring together the three Middle Eastern indigenous communities at a discussion panel, according to its Facebook page. About 30 protesters danced, whistled and chanted, “One, two, three, four, open up that prison door, five, six, seven, eight, Israel is a terrorist state,” during Students Supporting Israel’s Indigenous Peoples Unite event. University police later escorted the protesters out of the room where the event was held.

Burkan Aranki, a fourth-year physics student who attended the protest, said he thinks the event is false because it did not feature any Palestinian speakers. He added the protesters also wanted to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs were forced to leave their homes during the 1948 war in Palestine.

“They say it is for indigenous people, but Palestinians are indigenous and have a right to their land,” he said.

Hirmand Sarafian, the president of Students Supporting Israel at UCLA and a second-year neuroscience student, said the event was not about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but was instead about indigenous cultures in the Middle East. He added the protesters ignored event organizers’ invitation to have a conversation after the event.

“(The protest) was unjustified,” he said. “Many students felt physically unsafe because of the protest.”

Amir Kashfi, third-year human biology and society student and president of the Bruins for Israel Public Affairs Committee, said he thinks the protesters acted inappropriately and added Jewish students do not interrupt the events of groups that criticize Israel.

“We call upon the folks who disrupted our event tonight to think twice before engaging in such reckless behavior,” he said.

UCPD Lt. Kevin Kilgore said officers responded to the protest to keep the peace and monitor any disruptions to the event. He added no arrests were made, and protesters voluntarily left the event.

Senior Staff

Sekar is a senior staff reporter for the national news and higher education beat. She was previously the 2018-2019 assistant news editor for the national and higher education beat and a news contributor before that. Sekar is a third-year political science and economics student and enjoys dogs, dancing, and dessert.


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  • echos of the mt’s

    There is no such thing as a ‘Palestinian people’. There were and are Arabs who live in the region but there isn’t anything to differentiate them from Arabs in Jordan, Sinai, etc. Most of the ‘Palestinians’ references before 1965 refer to the Jewish inhabitants of the British mandate after WW1.

  • Carrie Singer

    As a former faculty member, I am ashamed of the Adminitration’s “tolerance” of these attempts to stifle free speech.

    It seems to me that the interruptors are outraged that those minorities no longer act as good dhimmis.

    • Steve Dowling

      HELLO MS. SINGER — For readers who do not know, “dhimmis” are people forced to pay a tax imposed on Infidels in Islamic sharia-ruled countries. By the way, here is a request to all UCLA Muslims: let protest organizer BURKAN ARANKI know that I am shredding his reputation by recommending that everyone do a Google & Facebook search of stuff he put up on the web. Draw your own conclusions as to whether he has a 12 year old mind misfortunately glued into an older body. And BE SURE TO DIRECT HIM TO THESE VIDEOS BY DAVID WOOD: “Muhammad — The White Prophet With Black Slaves”, “Three Questions For Moderate Muslims”, “Allahu Akbar — Muhammad’s War Cry”, “The Jihad Triangle”, “Three Stages Of Jihad”, “What Is Taqiyya?”, “Inside the Kaaba”, and a masterpiece titled “How Muhammad Ali Was Deceived About Islam”. All of them contain citations from Islamic sacred sources collectively known as the Trilogy (Qur’an, Ahadith, Sura) establishing points Dr. Wood contends. He might be utterly embarrassed to be played for a fool by the clever strategists roaming our ectoplasmic ozone, but I hope he has the cojones to admit that and humbly beg forgiveness. We all make mistakes — I certainly have, during 69 years on our astonishing planet.

    • garyfouse


      I taught part time for 18 years at UC Irvine and have seen many of these incidents first hand. This is a UC-wide problem. SJP is nothing more than a brown shirt organization. Ironically, it’s co-founder is a UC Berkeley professor named Hatem Bazian.

  • A David Darman

    Brown shirts re dux. Any charges for assault, destruction of property, disturbing the peace, etc? If not, why not – along with conspiracy charges for the cohorts.


  • jbwilson24

    What a bunch of idiots. They tore down an Armenian flag claiming that they are not indigenous. The Armenians having been massacred by Muslims in recent history, of course.

    (Oddly enough, the Kurds killed an awful lot of Armenians during the genocide, so it is odd to see them appearing together).

    • IluvBurkan

      It was an Armenian student who took down the flag, he did not want zionists to co-opt the Armenian struggle to whitewash israeli genocide of the palestinians

  • garyfouse

    Days earlier, a pro-Israel event held by the College Republicans at UC Irvine was disrupted by these brown shirts for the third year in a row, SJP is a despicable organization that uses tactics of disruption and intimidation. Their charter should be removed from every university in America.

    And once again as at UCI, campus police arrive and let the disruption continue for several minutes before gently ushering these punks out of the room. They are afraid to take strong action because they operate under the thumb of the administration. Arrests? Are you kidding?

    And why is the DB giving the disruptors’ side of the story. This is not a protest. It is a disruption designed to shut down opposing voices. Where is the free speech right of the speakers and the audience?

  • IluvBurkan

    Yeah I hate burkan too, lets start a hate club – follow his instagram @burkwild and like his photos to know we are angry at him. That’ll show him >:o

    • Not amneh

      i followed but he’s so good looking i can’t hate

    • Steve Dowling

      Please pass this video (runs 17:32) on to Muslims in your circle of allies. It explains how Muhammad’s genuinely tragic childhood (I mean that sincerely) affected his mind as an adult.


  • Not amneh

    To clarify – the intention of the protest was not “lack of representation” but false representation of Israelis as indigenous people and the cooptation of the Armenian identity to falsely align with Zionist historical revisionism or to justify the land-theft, forced expulsion, ethnic cleansing, open-air imprisonment and occupation of the Palestinian people

  • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

    This is brazen Islamic anti-Semitism on UCLA’s campus, and the Daily Bruin is obfuscating for it.

    If the university doesn’t crush this, it will constitute an endorsement of it and only encourage the lying fiends.

  • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

    Here’s what you’re defending, Daily Bruin:

    “the Messenger of Allah […] would say: ‘Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war. […] When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. […] Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. […] If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them […]'” (Muslim Book 19, Number 4294).

  • Barros Serrano

    The notion that the so-called “Palestinians” are indigenous is dubious. They are mostly “Arabs” from somewhere else. Those in Gaza were Egyptians until 1967. I call BS.