Eighteen pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested on May 16 when they disrupted an event featuring former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak as a speaker.
The event took place at the JCC of San Francisco as part of Barak’s book tour for his new memoir “My Country, My Life.” In middle of the event, protesters interrupted Barak with chants of “Free free Palestine!” and called him “a war criminal.” The protesters also shouted “not one more” as they accused Israel of murdering innocent civilians.
Among the protesters were people from the Palestine Action Network (PAN), who highlighted in a press release that protester Lauren Holtzman from Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) shouted during the speech, “Ehud Barak gave the order to kill 1400 Palestinians in Gaza, with 344 children dead,” referencing Operation Cast Lead in 2008.
The protesters were escorted out of the building by the San Francisco police and JCC security.
“We stood in solidarity with the people of Gaza, as well as with all Palestinians fighting for freedom,” Wassim Hage, a member of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, said in the press release. “As soon as I spoke up, the audience erupted, and several people tried to hit me. One man was successful but was pushed away by security. We demonstrated that war criminals will not be tolerated here in the Bay Area community.”
The Jewish News of Northern California’s Dan Pine reported that Barak was “unflappable through the disruptions, almost as if he expected them.”
“After the first, he told the audience members they were lucky to live in a country where people feel comfortable to express their views,” Pine wrote. “Then he went back to addressing the issues.”
According to Jewish Virtual Library, Operation Cast Lead involved Israel retaliating to Hamas after the terror organization violated a ceasefire agreement and tormented southern Israel with a barrage of rockets over the next few months. Barak was the Minister of Defense at the time overseeing the operation.
As for the current Gaza violence, Hamas has admitted that most of the dead Gazans are Hamas terrorists. Islamic Jihad also admitted that some of the dead Gazans are members of its terror organization as well.