U.S. pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted a panel comprised of Israeli MKs in Massachusetts on Monday, a year after the same activist group interrupted a speech by Kadima MK and former minister Avi Dichter.
The incident took place during a Town-Hall style meeting in Temple Emanuel in the town of Newton, sponsored by the Ruderman Family Foundation in partnership with Brandeis University, and participated by Likud MK Ofir Akunis, Yisrael Beitenu's, Lia Shemtov and Faina Kirshenbaum, as well as former Labor minister Raleb Majadle and Meretz MK Ilan Gilon.
According to a statement by Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine, members of the group, as well as activists from affiliate groups, wearing t-shirts displaying the word "apartheid" in Hebrew letters, "mic-checked the panel, protesting the undemocratic nature of the Israeli apartheid state and notified the offending officials that until their government ceased its discriminatory policies they were not welcome by students at Brandeis University community events."
"The activists were pushed outside the hall by police officers and private security guards. One Brandeis student was arrested and another was injured while being thrown to the floor by a police officer," the statement added. A video of the incident was uploaded to YouTube.
Activists chanted at the panel: "Israel is an apartheid state and the Knesset is an apartheid parliament," as well as: "We will not welcome Israeli officials to any Brandeis University event until apartheid ends."
They also charged Akunis and. Kirshenbaum for "sponsoring fascist legislation in the Knesset, targeting legitimate human rights organizations."
"Mr. Akunis and Ms. Kirshenbaum, how does it feel to be silenced? The Knesset is silencing dissent and civil and human rights," the activists said.
In response to the protest, MK Kirshenbaum released a statement, in which she said: "I don't understand the audacity and hypocrisy of the protestors."
"The State of Israel is one of the biggest democracies, perhaps the only one, in the Middle East," she wrote, while Syrian President Bashar "Assad is massacring his people and enforcing a dictatorial regime in his state. I didn’t see the activists protesting before us provoke or engage in violence to stop the Holocaust experienced by the Syrian people."
Kirshenbaum indicated that her fellow delegation member was Raleb Majadle, "who was the first Arab Minister," asking: "How can the protesters call us fascists when there was an Arab minister in the Israeli cabinet."
In April 2011, Avi Dichter was interrupted by Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine activists as he stood up to speak to an audience of hundreds of students at Brandeis University near Boston. Several students got up out of their seats and called Dichter a war criminal, both in English and Hebrew. The incident was captured on video and uploaded to YouTube.
Students hurled insults at Dichter and accused him of torture and crimes against humanity. Brandeis University is considered to be a bastion of liberal politics in the United States and has a large Jewish student population.
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