A conference about Syria held at the Hebrew University was disrupted by Arab students who called the Syrian speakers as “traitors” to their country and spoke out against Israeli policy.
The Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at Hebrew University in Jerusalem hosted the conference. The conference included two Syrians exiles: Kurdish-Syrian journalist Sirwan Kajjo, who currently lives in the US; and Isam Zitun, who currently lives in Germany.
A student highlighted the situation in the Syrian Golan Heights which Israel has occupied for decades.
“The Golan has been occupied since 1967; you’re a traitor and a conspirator!” yelled one of the student protestors. Zitun responded by saying, “Shame on you; you live in paradise compared to Syrians.”
“The Golan is under siege by the Hezbollah and (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s) regime. If Israel could help the people under this siege, that would be great,” Zitun continued.
The two said that they work to make Syrians’ voices heard worldwide. “Israel is a neighbor of Syria’s, and many of us think that it should be more involved, at least in terms of providing humanitarian aid to Syrians in need in south Syria,” said Kajjo, before adding, “Israel should have a better relationship with Syria in the future.”
When asked why the opposition in Syria is not more unified against Assad’s regime, Kajji said, “It makes sense for the opposition to be divided, since they come from different backgrounds.” Zitun said that “It stands to reason that the opposition be divided after everything that Assad has done over the years. There also isn’t much of a political culture in Syria. The international community needs to take responsibility.”