The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Jewish Voice for Peace demonstrators protest ‘Dores For Israel’s ‘Falafel at Midday’

The demonstrators, displaying a banner denouncing Dores For Israel, were escorted from Fleming Yard by university administrators and security officers.
Tasfia Alam
JVP on the Rand Patio holding a sign saying “Boycott Dores for Israel,” as photographed on Feb. 14, 2024.

Jewish Voice for Peace organized a counter demonstration during ‘Dores For Israel’s “Falafel at Midday” event, beginning at noon on Feb. 14. 

Members of the organization approached the event, hosted at Fleming Yard, with a banner reading “Boycott Dores For Israel.” Other members distributed flyers to bystanders with a QR code for more information.

“This Valentine’s Day, millions of Palestinians in Gaza are without food, water, and shelter because of Israel’s ongoing genocide,” the flyers read. “Show solidarity with Palestine. Boycott Dores for Israel.”

JVP’s president, who has been granted anonymity to protect their safety and privacy, said the demonstration aimed to discourage students from interacting with the “Falafel at Midday” event.

“‘Dores For Israel is a student organization whose stated goal is to promote a strong U.S.-Israel relationship,” the JVP president said. “We are a group of students who are opposed to the Israeli genocide in Gaza. We don’t want to do cultural promotion of a state committing genocide.”

“Falafel at Midday” is a regular Hillel event that began 18 years ago. An Instagram post by ‘Dores For Israel advertised the event as an opportunity to “learn more about the history of the food in the Middle East and how it became a staple of Israeli cuisine.”

‘Dores For Israel and Hillel declined to comment on the purpose of the event or their reactions to the demonstration. Hillel later sent an email notice to its members concerning the demonstration, as well as a subsequent JVP-organized walkout from a conversation with Jonathan Greenblatt.

“While a small group of protesters repeatedly and intentionally broke Vanderbilt’s policies in an effort to disrupt [Falafel at Midday], we are proud to say that they failed to deter us from celebrating who we are and what we stand for, and that the afternoon was a wonderful success,” the notice reads.

Jewish Voice for Peace members were escorted further away from the event several times by security officers and university officials, including Associate Dean for Student Engagement and Leadership Traci Ray and University Chaplain Christopher Ross Donald. The demonstrators moved to Alumni Lawn before eventually hanging the banner near Rand Wall.

Sophomore Ezri Tyler said she and other JVP members were relocated multiple times.

“We originally started on Rand Terrace, and they told us that it was reserved and we had to move down to the lawn,” Tyler said. “We did that for them. Then, [Ray] came over to us and said that we might have to scoot further down. Then the University Chaplain came down and said that he has the authority to push us further down.”

Ray told The Hustler all of the relevant policies concerning student demonstrations can be found in the Student Handbook.

“Our Student Affairs staff plays a role in supporting events that occur on campus, and, when needed, we work to prepare guidance and materials in case of protests or demonstrations,” Ray said. “These materials include maps that are designed with designated protest areas and general guidelines to ensure the safety of all participants and campus residents.”

Donald declined to comment, instead referring to Dean Ray’s statement.

Students for Justice in Palestine was tabling at Rand Wall during the protest. SJP members declined to comment on whether the DFI event or the JVP demonstration affected their activities.

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About the Contributors
Parker Smith
Parker Smith, Former Deputy News Editor
Parker Smith ('24) is majoring in computer science and political science in the School of Engineering. He enjoys playing guitar in his spare time and is a former Starbucks barista and self-proclaimed coffee expert. He can be reached at [email protected].
Tasfia Alam
Tasfia Alam, Multimedia Copy Editor
Tasfia Alam (‘25) is from Los Angeles and is majoring in neuroscience and political science in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, she can be found obsessing over a new book, trying to expand her music taste or taking pictures of pretty sunsets. You can reach her at [email protected]
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3 months ago

Go JVP!!!