11 Muslim Students arrested for disrupting Israeli ambassador

*** I don’t agree with their tactics at all, but arresting the students is extreme and unnecessary

A protestor, center, is escorted out by UCI police after he disrupted the speech by Michael Oren, Ambassador of Israel to the United States.

A protestor, center, is escorted out by UCI police after he disrupted the speech by Michael Oren, Ambassador of Israel to the United States.

Eleven people were arrested Monday evening during a raucous lecture at UC Irvine where Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren came to talk about U.S.-Israel relations. (UCI earlier said that 12 were arrested.)

Here are the identities of the 8 UCI students and 3 UC Riverside students who were arrested.

Oren was interrupted 10 times  Monday while trying to give his speech before 500 people at the UCI Student Center, where there was heavy security. Oren took a 20 minute break after the fourth protest, asked for hospitality and resumed his speech, only to be interrupted again by young men yelling at him every few minutes. Many members of the audience also applauded Oren.

After the 10th interruption, several dozens students who opposed Oren’s talk got up and walked out and staged a protest outside.  It is not clear whether they were members of the UCI Muslim Student Union, which issued an email earlier in the day condemning Oren’s appearance on campus.

Oren continued talking, completing his speech at 6:42 p.m. Originally, he planned to take questions from the audience. But

that wpicture-2as canceled after the repeated delays.
The second person yelled about “Zionism.”

The third yelled, “Israel.” The fourth could not be clearly heard.

UCI Police Chief Paul Henisey said it is not clear whether any of the protesters are UCI students.

Mark Petracca, a UCI political science professor,  lost his temper and yelled, “This is embarrassing  … Shame on all of you.”

UCI Chancellor Michael Drake also told the audience that he was embarrassed by the outburst.

Drake and Petracca were booed by many people, and applauded by others.

Hours earlier, UCI’s Muslim Student Union said in an email today that its members “condemn and oppose the presence of Michael Oren, the ambassador of Israel to the United States, on our campus today. We resent that the Law School and the Political Science Department on our campus have agreed to cosponsor a public figure who represents a state that continues to break international and humanitarian law and is condemned by more UN Human Rights Council resolutions than all other countries in the world combined.”

The Jewish Federation Orange County said earlier in the day that it had been informed that Oren’s speech at UC Irvine late today might be disrupted by protestors.

Shalom C. Elcott, president of JFOC, said in a statement today that, “We have been informed that some students may attempt to disrupt the event. We want to assure the community that our goal is to create a positive environment — indeed, a sacred space – for open dialogue, intellectual debate and civil discourse that befits a university setting.”

This was not the first time that there has been confrontation at a political lecture at UCI.

In January 2007, Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum was interrupted by protesters at UCI while giving a speech titled, “The Threat to Israel’s Existence.” The protesters ended up getting into a brief shouting match with some members of the audience.


One thought on “11 Muslim Students arrested for disrupting Israeli ambassador

  1. Rude children that obviously should stay home until they learn that the world works with compromise. And, the situation they are blathering about isn’t the only problem in the world. The reason life in the USA work is we respect each other and if we don’t agree, we agree to disagree. There is a proper way to display and express disagreement that doesn’t ruin the other attendee’s experience. It’s selfish to assume that others who came to hear the speaker want to listen to rude people who just want to take over the meeting regardless if other people want to hear them yell. That means the people yelling are “egocentric” and think life is all about what they want at that second and don’t think about the rights of others who are their to hear the speech and discuss it like adults after. It was correct that they were arrested and removed. Did they bother to think about the others there to hear the speech. It’s when people insist on being rude that the freedoms we take for granted in the USA have to be changed because some people can’t behave in public and act like adults. Maybe some won’t agree but the freedoms in the USA don’t work unless all behave with respect and have manners towards others even if they don’t agree. Much stricter laws have to be enacted to control people who can’t control themselves. Freedom means controlling yourself and not just acting like life is all about you.

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