Matan Cohen Has a Bad Day at UC-Irvine

Gary Fouse

It seems that every MSU-sponsored speaker at UC-Irvine this week is giving the same speech. Whether it be Alison Weir, Amir Mertaban, Hedy Epstein, Matan Cohen, it's all pretty much the same script-a historical recounting of all the "crimes" committed against those poor Palestinians-even before they were called Palestinians, which I believe started in the 1960s. Wednesday,  it was Matan Cohen, a 22-year-old Israeli anarchist and college student (Hampshire College-US, naturally). In his opening remarks he referred to the large pro-Israel presence lamenting that it was not a level playing field. (I am paraphrasing).

But it wasn't Cohen's narrative on the Israeli vs the Palestinians that I wanted him to address during the Q and A. I wanted him to explain to the audience some of his previous comments when he spoke at UCI several weeks ago. On that occasion, he made a statement that if students on the UCI campus who supported Israel were not feeling comfortable on campus, that was tough. He also defended the disruption of speakers defending Israel and called what they had to say, "useless discourse". I asked him to explain to the audience and the protesters (carrying US and Israeli flags) why their beliefs represented "useless discourse".

In his answer about feeling uncomfortable on campus, he misrepresented what he had said weeks previous and tried to link it to those who opposed civil rights for blacks in the 60s or supported segregation. He did not address the remainder of my question, but chose to go to another questioner.

Once the Q and A was finished, however, Cohen came to me and continued the discussion. Again, I did not accept his twisted explanation of the useless discourse comment. I also asked him how old he was (22) and if he had a job or was he just "an anarchist" (by his own claim). Cohen is a student at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. I told him that wasn't much of a resume (student and anarchist). Another questioner reminded him that he had previously stated that after disrupting the speech of Bibi Netanyahu in New Orleans, some ZOA officials had called to congratulate him. Cohen was asked if he chose to stand by that statement. (He did). The questioner told him that he had spoken to top ZOA officials in New York and had been told that wasn't true. Cohen reaffirmed the claim but would not name the person(s) due to confidentiality.

He was also asked how he as a young student could go all over speaking against Israel and who was funding this. He became evasive and referred to those around him (MSU). When asked if that meant MSU, he replied in the affirmative. When asked how much he was paid for this appearance, he said he was doing it for free. His body language indicated he was very uncomfortable with this subject.

Afterward, Cohen stayed and engaged in debate with several other people until his two o'clock appearance. I didn't attend since I had a class to prepare for and teach at 3.

As soon as I get a video of the Q and A, I will post it.

Thursday night, Hatem Bazian was scheduled to speak.
And who is Hatem Bazian, you ask?

You don't wanna know.

1 Comments - Share Yours!:

HermitLion said...

So, an absolute nobody has a chance to become 'somebody', by supporting the proposed genocide of his own people.
There's a word for that, but it's not anarchy. It start with a T, and ends with a noose.