US: Protester arrested for disrupting MK panel

Likud, Israel Beiteinu MKs singled out as "fascist, racist" by Brandeis University students calling to "free Palestine."

March 27, 2012 15:54
2 minute read.
Pro-Palestinians disrupt MK panel near Boston

Pro-Palestinians disrupt MK panel near Boston 150. (photo credit: Omer Hecht)


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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 Ruderman Foundation.

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The five MKs are part of Ruderman Fellowship, which is meant to educate Israeli politicians about American Jewry.

Members of 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.

“This is 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.”

BSJP 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.

One protester reached the synagogue’s stage, and yelled to Kirschenbaum and Akunis that they should be ashamed of the “fascist, racist” law she passed.

Akunis told 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.

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