Police arrested a pro-Palestinian demonstrator for disrupting an event featuring
five MKs in a Boston suburb on Monday night.
MKs Ophir Akunis (Likud),
Lia Shemtov (Israel Beiteinu), Faina Kirschenbaum (Israel Beiteinu), Ilan Gilon
(Meretz) and Ghaleb Majadle (Labor) participated in the event at Temple Emanuel
in Newton, Massachusetts, which was sponsored by Brandeis University and the
The five MKs are part of Ruderman Fellowship, which
is meant to educate Israeli politicians about American Jewry.
Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine (BSJP) entered the event, removed
clothing to reveal Tshirts that said “apartheid” in Hebrew and chanted “free,
free Palestine.” Police officers and security guards removed the protesters from
the hall; one was arrested.
“About 20 people barged into the synagogue
and started shouting and taking off their shirts. It was very frightening,”
Shemtov said, following the event.
The Israel Beiteinu MK called on the
demonstrators to “wake up,” and accused them of remaining silent while there are
massacres in Syria and Jewish children are murdered in France.
cheap demagoguery,” she added, pointing out that Majadle, Israel’s first Arab
minister, disproves any claims of apartheid.
“The fact that there are
Arab MKs does not change the fact that Israel is an apartheid state,” BSJP
member Seth Grande said. “Israel needs to end its project of colonial occupation
in Palestine, and stop discriminating against Palestinian citizens.”
singled out Akunis, Shemtov and Kirschenbaum as targets of their protest. They
explained that they take issue with a bill sponsored by Shemtov requiring
workers in the public sector to swear loyalty to Israel as a Jewish and
democratic state. In addition, the student organization protested the fact that
Kirschenbaum lives in Nili, in the West Bank, and that together with Akunis, she
proposed a bill to limit international funding of NGOs.
reached the synagogue’s stage, and yelled to Kirschenbaum and Akunis that they
should be ashamed of the “fascist, racist” law she passed.
the demonstrators that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and one
of the strongest democracies in the world.
“If the Palestinians want
peace,” he stated, “they should come back to the negotiating table. The
Palestinians are an obstacle to peace.”
Gilon called the disruption a
“tempest in a teapot,” adding that American Jewry has stopped blindly admiring
Israel and started to fight for Palestinians' rights.