Woman spits on MK Tibi during debate at Bar Ilan

Student that attended debate says security guards refused to intervene after Tibi-Eldad event turned violent.

January 1, 2013 00:16
2 minute read.
Ahmed Tibi at Israel Institute of Democracy forum

Ahmed Tibi at Israel Institute of Democracy forum 370. (photo credit: Courtesy IDI)


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A student in political science at Bar-Ilan University who attended Sunday’s tumultuous debate between MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) and MK Arieh Eldad (Strong Israel) told The Jerusalem Post that security guards refused to escort people out of the room until the situation had escalated to physical violence.

The student, who did not wish to be named, said that he repeatedly asked the guards at the Ramat Gan school to intervene as the situation was becoming chaotic: “I said to them, ‘Please, take these people out,’ and they said ‘no.’ “Only at the very end did they intervene and take two students outside. But everyone was already screaming and yelling and going crazy way before that. It wasn’t a debate, it was a near riot,” he said.

According to him, the two politicians remained calm and respectful of each other as they exchanged arguments, but the students in the room had come prepared to make noise. Most of those who initiated the disorder, he said, were right-wing Jewish students.

“The guy behind me came with a shirt with the picture of Rabbi [Meir] Kahane on it and another one had an IDF T-shirt on,” he told the Post. “They begun screaming right away, there was no listening. It started from the moment Tibi opened his mouth.

“I actually hate Tibi, too, but still, that was just childish, ridiculous behavior. It was embarrassing, and the security people would not take these crazy, animal-like people away, they just let it get to a dangerous point,” the political science student said.

Tibi had to be escorted out from Bar-Ilan on Sunday as members of the audience nearly assaulted him. Witnesses reported that one girl spit on him as he walked out the room.

“Bar-Ilan University deeply condemns the shameful behavior of the young woman who spat in the direction of MK Ahmed Tibi, and expresses its sincere apologizes to him,” the university wrote in a statement.

BIU contradicted the political science student’s claims that the scene resembled a riot and added: “Despite heckling in the audience, Dr. Tibi said what he wanted to say. This included accusations that students in the audience have Palestinian blood on their hands, calling terrorists ‘martyrs,’ and supporting armed resistance against Israel.”

“While it may be annoying, heckling is not threatening. Security personnel were instructed to remove anyone who threatened those in the audience or the participants in the discussion. Indeed, three Jewish and Arab students – two male and one female – were removed from the auditorium because they rose from their seats and threatened each other,” the university continued.

“I will not be afraid and I will not stop going any place, even if there are Kahanists and right-wing racists there,” Tibi said in a statement after the events on Sunday.

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