Law speaker spurs protest

Several groups protested a speech by visiting law professor Moshe Halbertal on Tuesday outside Mondale Hall.

Sarah Awad stands united with a mix of University of Minnesota students and Minneapolis residents outside of Walter F Mondale Hall Tuesday evening. The protest was organized by Organized by the Anti-War Committee regarding the U of M hosting Moshe Halbertal in his talk “Protecting Civilians: Moral Challenges of Asymmetric Warfare.”

Elizabeth Brumley

Sarah Awad stands united with a mix of University of Minnesota students and Minneapolis residents outside of Walter F Mondale Hall Tuesday evening. The protest was organized by Organized by the Anti-War Committee regarding the U of M hosting Moshe Halbertal in his talk “Protecting Civilians: Moral Challenges of Asymmetric Warfare.”

Hannah Weikel

Fellow demonstrators said three protesters were arrested on Tuesday after disrupting law professor Moshe Halbertal’s lecture at Mondale Hall. 
 
Protesters — which included members from the Anti-War Committee, Students for a Democratic Society and Students for Justice in Palestine — rallied against the University for sponsoring the event because of Halbertal’s views regarding war crimes and civilian casualties, Anti-War Committee spokesperson Meredith Aby-Keirstead said. 
 
“This is a public institution,” she said. “This University is supposed to represent the state of Minnesota. I can’t just stand by and watch the University hire a war crimes apologist to come and speak here.”
 
Halbertal, a professor at multiple universities — including New York University Law School — spoke about the ethics of war for the John Dewey Lecture in the Philosophy of Law, an annual event held at the law school. 
 
First-year University law student Nicole Faas said it took more often a half-hour for the room to quiet down enough for Halbertal to begin his talk. 
 
Protesters were escorted out to the hallway by the police, where they began chanting “Free, free Palestine,” Faas said. 
 
Sophomore Sami Rahamim said he commended Halbertal and the University of Minnesota Police Department for handling the situation well.
 
 “I, like many others, am embarrassed,” he said, “that such a disgraceful protest occurred against the freedom of speech and academic freedom at the University.” 
 
Dean of the Law School David Wippman said they knew groups would be protesting at the event, but the Law School brings in speakers with a wide range of viewpoints to promote learning.
 
“If they had stayed and listened, they might have actually heard something they agreed with.” Wippman said.