UCD BDS gathered outside O’Reilly Hall to protest U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders spoke at UCD as part of an event organised by Dalkey Book Festival to promote his most recent book ‘It’s ok to be angry about Capitalism’. The student group, who are demanding a cease-fire in Gaza, condemned the Senator for rejecting his similar calls and taking a more moderate tone on the conflict.

The event, which took place on Thursday 15th February, was organised by the Dalkey Book Festival, a group that celebrates Irish literary talent and hosts the world’s leading writers and thinkers. Although the event was independent of the University, UCD BDS were disappointed that the political figure was welcomed to campus and viewed it as another sign of UCD’s refusal to take a stance on the conflict.

The students waved Palestinian flags over the entrance to the O’Reilly Hall. They chanted “It’s ok to be angry about Capitalism, what about Zionism” as ticket holders made their way into the event.

The hall was at capacity at 7 pm when Bernie Sanders took the stage to be interviewed by Irish economist, David McWilliams. McWilliams asked Senator Sanders whether he agreed with the stance of the American government; “A lot of people including myself disagree strongly with the stance of the Biden administration,” Sanders said.

“The issue is one I have the wrestling with for the past several months.” The Vermont Senator said, calling the conflict in Israel an “intractable situation”.

As the Senator began to discuss the Israel-Palestine conflict, a number of protesters interrupted shouting, “Resistance is an obligation, in the face of occupation. Occupation is terrorism.” Sanders responded by saying “Good slogan, but slogans are not solutions.”

In response to the interruptions from crowd members, McWilliams responded by saying “Ah Jesus wept.” After conferring with Senator Sanders, McWilliams requested the disruptor to be removed from the room. The man was escorted out by security and shouted “ceasefire now” as he left the building.

“In my view, Israel has the right to defend itself,” Bernie Sanders said. He described the actions of October 7th as “a terrorist attack against Israel” and stated that Israel “have a right to defend themselves, what they do not have, is a right to go to war against the entire Palestinian people.” Sanders received.

This article is being updated live…

Hugh Dooley and Emma Hanrahan – Co-Editors