Jewish Journal

Protesters Disrupt IDF Event in NYC

From left: Ram Asad, Jonathan Elkhoury and Mohammad Kabiya speak at Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Reservists on Duty.

A group of anti-Israel protesters attempted to shut down an event in which Israel Defense Forces (IDF) speakers shared their experiences in Israel. While they disrupted the event, they were unable to shut it down.

The event, held by Reservists on Duty in Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan on Thursday, featured Arab speakers who served in the IDF explaining how Israel is not the apartheid nation that its critics claim it to be. Toward the end of the event, a man attempted to storm the stage while yelling curse words in Arabic. He was escorted out of the synagogue.

Other anti-Israel protesters began asking questions like “What makes you kill a little kid?” during the question-and-answer session. They weren’t happy with the speakers’ answers, prompting them to start “shouting, cursing at us, making a riot at the synagogue” according to Jonathan Elkhoury, the minority coordinator of Reservists on Duty.

“Immediately the police came and tried to calm everything down, but they wouldn’t calm down so they were forced to leave,” Elkhoury told the Journal. “They tried to shut our event down but they weren’t successful doing that.”

The protesters have yet to be identified, although they did identify themselves as Palestinians living in the United States. None of the protesters were arrested.

It was the second time that week that a Reservist on Duty event was disrupted. During Tuesday’s event at the University of Minnesota, a woman who claimed to be a Palestinian- American read prepared talking points that accused Elkhoury’s father of being a “cowardly rat” for serving in the South Lebanon Army (SLA) that was allied with Israel and accused strategic IDF consultant Mohammed Kabiya, an Israeli Bedouin, of being a “war criminal.”

The woman was eventually arrested for refusing to cease her behavior.

“It hurts them to see that our voices are strong and being listened to and that we are changing minds, so they want to shut us down,” said Elkhoury. “But they are not going to be successful doing that.”

Elkhoury added that “it’s about time that we stop being afraid to say the truth about Israel.”

Earlier in October, the Journal reported on Reservist on Duty’s event at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. The Journal’s coverage can be read here.