This year’s Palestinian Awareness Week has not gone over as smoothly as some of its members would like.

For one, Students for Justice in Palestine members are angry that an unidentified man tagged their display in the Storke Tower bicycle loop. Additionally, guest speaker David Horowitz accused the group’s vice president of wearing a symbol of terrorism on Monday night.

Students for Justice in Palestine member Miriam Zouzounis said her group tends to receive mixed results whenever it attempts to reach out to the community.

“It’s been a struggle for us as a minority group on campus,” Zouzounis said. “People assume that we are a radical kind of people who are commemorating terrorists. They say we’re sympathizing. Whenever we’re having an awareness event, people automatically take the defensive and attack us.”

SJP members say they are trying to prevent occurrences such as yesterday’s vandalism of their display – which commemorates dead Palestinian and Israeli children – by hosting Palestinian Awareness Week. The event will run through Friday, and will include a clothing drive for people living in the Palestinian territories, a documentary at 7:30 tonight in Isla Vista Theater II about graduate student Paul Lynch’s visit to Gaza and a demonstration Thursday at noon in the Arbor.

Some SJP members claimed the mood at College Republicans’ David Horowitz event was indicative of some anti-Muslim sentiment on campus.

Confrontation occurred Monday night as the conservative pundit accused 31-year-old SJP Vice President Aharon Ahmad Morris of wearing terrorist garb in a filled-to-capacity Embarcadero Hall, arousing the anger of many audience members who said it was a cultural symbol.

“I need to say that the incident with David Horowitz really affected me,” Morris said. “His rhetoric is extremely hateful.”

Following the event, a visibly shaken Morris told the Daily Nexus Monday that Horowitz’s accusations about his headdress were especially hurtful because his younger brother was lynched. In an interview, the fourth-year biology and black studies double major clarified that when he was about 12 and living in the rural town of De Soto, Illinois, his brother was strung from a tree, but was not actually killed.

“From the day we moved [to De Soto,] it was a series of intimidations – cross burnings on the lawn,” Morris said. “Nothing was done about it by the police. In the end, the final straw was the attempted murder of my younger brother. He was strung from a tree.”

Morris said he held his brother up by the legs and was able to prevent his strangulation. He said that at the Horowitz event, he received support from a broad cross-section of the UCSB community.

“After [Horowitz] heckled me, I couldn’t bear it and I went outside,” Morris said. “At least 75 people who attended the event came to me and expressed their support. Several people even said ‘I’m Jewish and I support you.’ Christians, and people in general… also showed incredible support.”

In spite of the cooperation present after the event, SJP members said they are still experiencing negative sentiment on campus. According to Miriam Zouzounis, a second-year Middle East studies and international relations major, the unidentified man who tagged over SJP’s display at the Storke bicycle loop made her feel attacked.

“This guy is spray painting over our board and yelling at this girl that’s in [SJP,] saying that he feels threatened and that all this stuff makes him feel guilty,” Zouzounis said. “We let him walk away. If you want to engage in a conversation that’s one thing, but if you want to be a hypocrite, attack us and claim you’re the victim, then that’s another thing.”

She said that by contrast, members of American Students for Israel engaged in constructive dialogue with SJP.

“Members of ASI came out as well, but they went about their disagreement in a diplomatic way,” Zouzounis said. “They were trying to tell that guy [to stop tagging] too. That’s another reason why we’re putting [events] on this week. We want to invite ASI and Hillel to join our [documentary and panel discussion Wednesday.]”

Palestinian Awareness Week wraps up Friday. People interested in donating to SJP’s clothing drive can stop by the Student Resource Building’s Middle Eastern Student Resource Center, where a box is located to accept the donations.