When the political gets physical

Politicians behaving badly: Four videos of outbursts, arguments and fist fights that broke out between officials.

January 10, 2012 20:45
2 minute read.
Michaeli pours water on Majadle

Michaeli pours water on Majadle . (photo credit: Knesset Channel)

While the political often gets personal, at times it can also get physical. MK Anastasia Michaeli (Israel Beiteinu) vividly demonstrated this point when, on Monday, she emptied a cup of water on Labor MK Ghaleb Majadle's head. Inspired by this week's hoopla on the Knesset floor, Jpost.com brings you a look at some other incidents where the political got physical.

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Inter-parliamentarian struggle is no stranger to either Israel or Michaeli. In 2010, when MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) attempted to share her first-hand account of her experience as a passenger aboard the Mavi Marmara, MKs of almost every political persuasion attempted to silence her. Things got especially heated when MK Miri Regev (Likud) shouted at Zoabi in Arabic, "Go back to Gaza, you traitor!" When words failed to silence Zoabi, Michaeli charged the Balad MK and attempted to physically block her from speaking.

While American standards of scandal may pale in comparison to Israel's, the 2009 healthcare debates saw Republican-Democratic hostility reach a level that scandalized Americans with their seeming disrespect for the presidency. Joe Wilson reached infamy when he interrupted US President Barack Obama as he was addressing Congress to yell, "You lie!" While the President only paused briefly, fallout from the disruption continued as Republicans and Democrats alike condemned Wilson, and the US House of Representatives passed a resolution of disapproval against him. Wilson later apologized for his comment.

But sometimes, even American politicians allow tensions to get the best of them. As demonstrated on this CNN video, in 2007, a fight between two senators reduced the Alabama Senate floor to a source of conflict and scandal. While conflicting stories account for what motivated the scuffle, one thing is undoubtedly clear: 69-year-old Republican Charles Bishop punched 65-year-old Democrat Lowell Baron in the head. Bishop claims that Barron called him a "sonofabitch," and having grown up in the "woods of Arkansas" where "people don't say that about your mom," he attacked the situation true to his upbringing: With his "right hand."

In the end, most political offenders express remorse and have to contend with some kind of fallout for their loss of composure. MK Michaeli was suspended from the Knesset for one month and later issued an apology to Majadle. If the past is any guide, we can rest assured that our representatives will one day forget the censures of the past and give in to the heat of the moment.

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