Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Special People

US students face jail time for disrupting Israeli official's speech

"Eleven University of California students face criminal charges and possible jail terms for protesting and disrupting a speech by an Israeli official as the Orange County district attorney’s office engages in what one of the students’ attorneys calls “selective and discriminatory prosecution”

In a University of California at Irvine auditorium on 8 February 2010, ten student activists nonviolently confronted Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the United States, with prepared statements of protest. They stood up and challenged Oren’s defense of Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip in winter 2008-09 — during which more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed — and the state’s ongoing human rights violations.

“Propagating murder is not an expression of free speech,” shouted one student before he was escorted out of the room. “You, sir, are an accomplice to genocide,” another stood up and stated before he, too, was led away by police.

Arrests and investigations

After each one made a statement during Oren’s speech, the ten students were escorted out of the auditorium by police officers and then frisked, arrested and detained. Audience members in support of Oren jeered and yelled epithets at the protesting students as they delivered their messages.

Following the disruptions, Oren was able to continue his speech for approximately thirty minutes, while solidarity activists outside of the hall gathered in a peaceful demonstration. Another student who was part of the protest, but who did not stand and speak out inside the auditorium, was also detained and arrested by a police officer."

Cut Aid to the Poor, Not Israel

"With the U.S. economy in the tank and governments at all levels facing massive budget shortfalls, politicians left and right are seeking ways to curb spending. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wants to eliminate collective bargaining rights and the decent pay that goes with them. President Barack Obama's budget includes halving the home-heating oil subsidy poor households depend on.

As Republicans and Democrats propose cuts in programs that actually benefit their increasingly impoverished constituents, though, they agree there's one area of the budget that's not to be touched: the annual $3 billion subsidy U.S. taxpayers provide to the Israeli military."


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