Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Students arrested in LA for heckling Israeli envoy
At least eleven students have been arrested over their interruption of a lecture by the Israeli ambassador to the US at the University of California, Irvine.
Michael Oren was invited to the university by the Jewish Federation of Orange County to speak about Israeli views on the status of the Middle East and Tel Aviv's relationship with Washington.
However as the ambassador was addressing the crowded auditorium, he was interrupted for at least ten times by anti-Israeli students.
"Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech," the first of the ten students yelled before being led away by university police.
The remainder of Oren's speech was drowned by similar remarks, with some students shouting "killer" and "how many Palestinians did you kill?"
By the end of the night, 11 students were arrested and cited for disturbing a public event.
They could face misdemeanor charges as well as university disciplinary hearings that could result in suspensions or dismissals, Cathy Lawhon, Media Relations Director at the UC-Irvine campus said.
The University's Muslim Union was not available for contact but it did issue a statement prior to the event, saying that it strongly opposed and condemned the ambassador's visit, a Press TV correspondent reported from Los Angeles.
"Israel continues its human rights violations, thereby breaking international law and law of Israeli accord," the group had said.
It also added that Israel has committed war crimes against the Gaza Strip and is responsible for the massacre of thousands of Palestinians.