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Planned ‘Everything You Know About Palestine is Wrong’ event at UCLA draws outrage, protest

UCLA officials thwarted an effort by a conservative student group seeking to bring the “Jihad Watch” founder to campus, reportedly putting a lock on the doors to the planned venue and refusing to open them Wednesday evening over safety concerns.

Pro-Israel speaker Robert Spencer was scheduled to speak at 6:00 p.m. but “the doors of the Bruin Viewpoint Room were locked,” according to Young America’s Foundation, the group seeking to host the event.

“After contacting university officials, YAF was informed that the event would need to be moved to a low-traffic, remote location – an unacceptable last minute change that would have significantly impacted the event’s attendance and impact,” the group stated.

Reached for comment, Mary Osako, UCLA’s vice chancellor of strategic communications, said: “There is misinformation circulating that the Young America’s Foundation event at UCLA on Wednesday evening was canceled by the university.”

“This is incorrect,” she said in an emailed statement to The College Fix on Thursday. “The event took place in the designated location after it shifted to a closed, recorded event as proposed by the organizer and agreed to by UCLA.”

Not so, said Michael McGonigle, a spokesman for YAF.

“To be clear, our event did not take place,” he said via email to The Fix.

Pictures posted on social media show that prior to when the event was supposed to start, a large contingent of pro-Palestinian activists showed up on campus in protest.

Spencer is the founder of Jihad Watch, and the title of the event was “Everything You Know About Palestine is Wrong.” YAF sought to host the event amid raucous pro-Palestinian protests that have sometimes turned violent at UCLA.

YAF requested permission for the event in April, and the group stated it got no response for two weeks. But administrators then reportedly voiced safety concerns due to an anti-Israel encampment that had illegally set up shop on campus.

Matthew Weinberg, chairman of the UCLA Young Americans for Freedom chapter, told The College Fix in an interview prior to Wednesday’s incident that the protests have created a hostile and antisemitic environment by activists “physically assaulting Jewish students, preventing Jewish students from entering classrooms at a public university, and blocking students from accessing certain parts of the campus.”

Weinberg, who is a Jewish student himself, said he is frustrated that aggressive anti-Israel protesters have the power to essentially shut down the Spencer event.

“The beauty of this event is that all are welcome, and we highly encourage students with opposing viewpoints to come and ask Robert any questions they would like. After all, the only way to move forward and create peace is to have an open dialogue,” he said.

“Bringing Robert Spencer allows us to present an alternative perspective on the Israel-Palestine conflict as well as the Israel-Hamas war that is not typically heard on college campuses,” Weinberg said.

In a statement provided by YAF to The College Fix, former Republican governor of Wisconsin and current YAF President Scott Walker said conservative students “should have the same rights as the pro-Hamas students who have routinely obstructed and violently disrupted the UCLA campus.”

“UCLA canceled YAF’s access to the lecture hall while allowing protestors to freely roam the campus,” Walker said, adding the group may sue over this incident.

Spencer also weighed in on X, stating:

“So I’m supposed to speak at @UCLA tonight. So far the pro-Hamas campus fascists have:
1. Confused me with Richard Spencer;
2. Vowed to shut down the event;
3. Claimed victimhood and whined that their side hasn’t been heard despite getting favorable international coverage for months;
4. Claimed that UCLA is “Islamophobic” for allowing something other than “Palestinian” jihad propaganda to be heard;
5. Claimed that I am an evil character who supports terrorism (especially rich coming from supporters of Hamas).”

McGonigle told The College Fix that the event has not been rescheduled.

“We are currently evaluating our legal options to ensure the constitutional rights of the students at UCLA are protected and that Robert Spencer can return to campus and speak at a later date/time,” he said.

The controversy with YAF comes in the wake of a lawsuit filed Monday against UCLA by a Jewish student “alleging the university did not protect … Jewish students and faculty members from what the suit labels ‘campus terrorists’ during recent campus protests over Israel’s military efforts in Gaza,” NBC Los Angeles reported.

MORE: UCLA riot police clash with pro-Palestinian protesters; hundreds arrested


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About the Author
College Fix contributor Courtney Graves is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, double majoring in political science and economics. At her university, Courtney serves as the vice chair of Young Americans for Freedom and the communications chair of College Republicans. She is also a legislative intern at the Wisconsin State Capitol.