"The loyalty oath de-legitimatizes Israel," a woman holding a placard yelled while standing on her chair, interrupting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech
at the Jewish Federations of North America's General Assembly in New Orleans on Monday.
She was swiftly escorted out by security. However, moments later, another protester stood on his chair and shouted "the occupation de-legitimizes Israel." The man was also quickly taken outside. But then another, and another, appeared. Six in all. One of them was tackled by participants in the crowd and a short scuffle ensued until security reached him.RELATED:GA Journal: Ideology is out, they warn me, on the way to New Orleans
The protesters were part of Jewish Voices for Peace, a leftist
organization of Jews which helped organize a recent boat that tried
to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza and is attempting to pressure the planned
Tolerance Museum in Jerusalem to relocated from the current, controversial building site.
"These actions are in part a
protest of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and Jewish
Public Affairs Council (JCPA) newly announced $6 million dollar program
to target campus, church, peace and human rights groups that are working
to end Israel’s human rights violations through nonviolent Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions pressure campaigns," a press release from JVP
read. "The Federations and JCPA are calling this initiative the “Israel
The group's aim was to draw attention to their cause,
and to a large part they succeeded. Haaretz, Yediot Ahronot
and other Israeli newspapers lead with the sensationalist news on their
Websites. But the sentiments of the protesters did not reflect any greater
discontent by American Jews with Israel based upon interviews with a sampling of participants after the event occurred.
the plenary hall, it appeared cooler heads prevailed. A young group of Hillel
students eating kosher sandwiches handed out by JFNA offered their
opinions on the frucus which took part shortly before.
allow five butt-heads to hijack the message here by standing on chairs
with their homemade signs we're failing our roles as ambassadors to
Israel," Daniel Friedman, a student at UCSD said.
friend, Channah Barkhordari, weighed in with her opinion. "It's not whether I
agree with what they have to. There are ways of protesting, and that
defeated their message."
Hecklers at the GA are rare but not
unprecedented. In 2005 prime minister Ariel Sharon was interrupted at
the event by rightist protesters, demonstrating against Israel's pullout
from Gaza. However, despite the loud protests Sharon went ahead with