During NYC synagogue speech, in another dangerous BDS act of intimidation.
Bassem Eid is a Palestinian human rights activist, who argues that the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a sham that harms Palestinians.
Eid is a frequent speaker in the United States, including on college campuses. Eid presents a Palestinian point of view not often heard on campuses, where radical faculty and student groups place all blame for the conflict on Israel.
In this short video, Eid addresses BDS:
Eid’s condemnation of BDS, and his willingness to criticize corruption and political abuses in Palestinian society, has made him a target. This profile in The Tablet magazine details Eid’s human rights struggle and the reaction:
Predictably, Eid is denounced as a traitor, especially by BDS activists outside Palestine. Within the territories, where he continues to make his home, his defense of Palestinians against abuses from any corner is often recalled with appreciation. But among foreign champions of the Palestinian cause, few know or remember his record, which extended even to defending the rights of Hamas members, for example when he dodged Israeli security, the Jordanian Mukhabarat, and Lebanese Christian militias to sneak into the remote mountains of Lebanon in 1992 to report on the conditions of Hamas militants whom the Rabin government had rounded up and deported there. “I don’t care if I’m called a traitor,” says Eid. “Any Arab who stands up and criticizes his own leadership is called a traitor for Israel. I am trying to find ways to improve daily life for my people and to ensure a better future.”
We covered the disruption of Eid’s appearance at the University of Chicago in February 2016:
The audio is hard to hear, but it appears the person screaming threatened that future appearances by Eid would be disrupted: “We’re going to be there, get ready for it.”
Eid continues to give lectures throughout the United States. I heard him speak in Ithaca where the protests consisted of the usual Ithaca-sad sack BDS dead-enders handing out flyers outside the venue.
But Eid’s independence continues to put him at risk, and he just had an incident at a NY Synagogue which was potentially dangerous.
A male in his twenties, identifying himself as Palestinian, jumped over a seat barrier and charged the stage at the Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan Thursday evening during an event featuring Israeli minorities voicing support for the Jewish state, according to attendees.
In video obtained by the Haym Salomon Center showing the final few seconds of the incident, the alleged assailant can be heard cursing in Arabic and then backing off as he approaches the stage and security overwhelms him.
“I was scared and shocked when I heard this man shouting, cursing and jumping over seats as he rushed toward the stage,” explained Jonathan Elkhoury. “I immediately saw Mohammad Kabiya running to stand in front and protect Bassem [Eid] in order to make sure no one would come close and harm him.” …
According to Elkhoury, the individual who charged the speakers was cursing in Arabic, “calling us ‘rats who sold our souls’ and ‘Arab-Jewish’ (a pejorative), and calling our mothers prostitutes.”
Approximately ten protesters were removed by security and escorted off the premises by New York City police. Witnesses claim that an anti-terrorism unit also arrived on the scene, which NYPD will neither confirm nor deny.
In an email to the Haym Salomon Center, NYPD would say only that “there was a 911 call for an assault in progress. When police arrived, they determined that there was a dispute between two individuals. A complaint report for harassment was taken at the scene.”
Amit Deri, founder of RoD, expressed dismay that the protesters, especially the individual who charged the stage, were not arrested.
Here is the video:
The Times of Israel further reported:
According to the report on Channel 2 [Israel], several pro-Palestinian activists succeeded in hiding their purpose when they entered the premises, before disrupting the event soon after it began.
The Israelis came to the US to emphasize the contribution of non-Jewish Israelis — like Druze and Bedouins — to the IDF.
A clip from Channel 2 shows a pro-Palestinian activist asking an (unseen) Israeli speaker: “What makes you kill a little kid?”
“They started by asking questions. But when they didn’t like our answers, they started rioting, shouting, swearing in every conceivable language inside the synagogue,” Amit Deri, director general of the NGO, said.
One of the hecklers, Deri said, lunged at Bassem Eid, one of the founders of the human rights NGO B’Tselem and a Palestinian human rights activist who frequently speaks out about abuses carried out by the Palestinian Authority. “We literally pulled [the protester] off him,” Deri said.
After a few minutes, police arrived at the scene and removed the hecklers from the synagogue.
One of them told the New York cops, “Here this is not Israel. You cannot just arrest people.”
“What is astounding about this incident,” Deri said, is that “eventually, indeed, police did a good job and pushed them out, but no one was arrested. And these guys are already free, after they ruined our event.”
Whenever a protester charges the stage, it is a dangerous situation. Unfortunately, this is a pattern for anti-Israel activists.
As I previously noted, the practice of speaker disruption and intimidation on campuses in the past few years is not new. It started over a decade ago with anti-Israel activists targeting any speech deemed pro-Israel, With campus shout downs, first they came for the Jews and Israel.DONATE
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