This article was reported from the Jewish Federation General Assembly in New Orleans by Caroline Kessler and written by Ben Sales.
Five activists from Jewish Voice for Peace disrupted Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the Jewish Federation General Assembly in New Orleans today. The activists stood in five separate locations near the front of the room and shouted slogans saying that Netanyahu’s policies are “delegitimizing” Israel. Security personnel forcibly escorted the activists out of the room as they continued to protest.
JVP–which some in the Jewish community accuse of delegitimizing Israel–supports boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. Its tactics at the GA recall an April event at the University of California, Irvine in which students from the Muslim Student Union there disrupted a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren by shouting slogans.
JVP represents a minority opinion in the Jewish community, and many at the speech booed the JVP activists. Some even started singing Israeli songs or chanting Netanyahu’s name. Others, while they may have agreed with some of the slogans, felt that JVP could have chosen a better way to get its point across.
“I think of myself as an activist and I felt that what they were saying may have been a legitimate concern but the way they were doing it was really impractical,” said Shani Chabansky, a junior at the University of California, San Diego who attended the speech. “No one around them was listening, no one could hear what they were saying, they weren’t getting any message across. It would have been way more effective to write an article. They were more interested in simply shouting.”
Netanyahu paused the first time the activists interrupted his speech, but began to talk over them as the protests continued.
Check New Voices as the day goes on for further updates.