Pro-Palestinian Activist Fined for Throwing Pie at Sharansky

Former Rutgers U. student found guilty of disorderly persons offense, fined $200 for 2003 incident.

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, New Jersey - A man who threw a pie in the face of then-cabinet minister Natan Sharansky just before he was to speak at a packed Rutgers University lecture hall in 2003 was found guilty Thursday of a disorderly persons offense.

Abe Greenhouse, 27, was fined $200 and ordered to pay $155 in court fees and penalties. The case was heard in South Brunswick Municipal Court by Judge Mary Casey, who found Greenhouse guilty of causing public inconvenience or alarm because of "tumultuous behavior."

Greenhouse, a pro-Palestinian activist, could have received up to 30 days in jail and stiffer fines. He declined to comment after the hearing but his lawyer, Leon Grauer of Nutley, said his client's actions were a political act and that the verdict would be appealed.

At the time of the September 18, 2003 incident, Greenhouse was a Rutgers student and leader of Central Jersey Jews Against the Occupation; Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident and political prisoner, was Israel's minister for Jerusalem and diaspora affairs.

Sharansky, who was on the New Brunswick campus to speak to a crowd of about 500 at an event organized by a Jewish student group, was not hurt. After quickly cleaning himself off, he joked about the "good cakes" available in New Jersey and then gave his speech without further incident.

Israeli security guards grabbed Greenhouse, breaking his nose and giving him a black eye and a swollen lip, according to court records.