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11 students arrested after disrupting Israeli ambassador's speech at UC Irvine

Soon after Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren began his speech Monday night at UC Irvine, the first student rose.

“Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech,” the student in a gray hoodie yelled.

The remainder of his words were drowned out by an uproar of cheering and clapping from students sitting around him before he was led away by university police. It was the first of 10 interruptions throughout the speech, and by the end of the night, 11 UC Irvine and Riverside students were arrested and cited for disturbing a public event.

The students were held in a nearby room until Oren finished his speech and were then released, said university spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon.

They could face misdemeanor charges as well as university disciplinary hearings that could result in suspensions or dismissals, Lawhon said.

After the fourth disruption, Oren took a 20-minute break before he returned.

“I’ve spent most of my life living in and studying the Middle East and one of the great and eternal cultural facets of the Middle East is hospitality...even if you do not agree with them, even if they’re ostensibly your enemy,” Oren remarked, before continuing his speech. “I’m your guest here and I’m asking for the Middle Eastern hospitality for your guest, I’ve come into your house.”

The speech about U.S.-Israeli relations was organized by several organizations and campus departments “to address tough issues in an open kind of way,” said Shalom Elcott, president and chief executive of the Jewish Federation of Orange County.

Before the speech, Elcott said his group was aware of an orchestrated campaign in which he said students were assigned a position and statement to read in order to disrupt the ambassador’s speech. The group notified campus police.

Elcott and others blamed the university’s Muslim Student Union for the disruptions. A statement posted on that group’s website Monday condemned the university for inviting a man who “took part in a culture that has no qualms with terrorizing the innocent, killing civilians, demolishing their homes and illegally occupying their land.”

The union, however, denied responsibility for the protests.

“It was not put on by the MSU, but rather by students acting on their own,” said Hadeer Soliman, union spokeswoman. Only one of the students arrested could be reached, and he declined to comment.

During the speech, both the UC Irvine chancellor and the political science department chair chided the protesting crowd and called the disruptions embarrassing.

“Shame on you,” Chairman Mark Petracca yelled at one point.

But despite the constant interruptions, there was also a strange routine to the disturbances.

A student would stand up and yell his statement followed by both cheers and jeers from the crowd. Then, as if on cue, he would make his way to the aisle where waiting police officers led him out of the room.

“They were very cooperative, they rose, they spoke and they began to leave their seats,” Lawhon said. “Because they had been told what would happen if they did this.”

-- Raja Abdulrahim

Comments () | Archives (102)

I am shocked the university doesnt simply give the muslim student union the boot. The group should not be allowed on campus if this is how they choose to abandon academic freedom. The students should be deported where possible, expelled from the school. and lose their student visa. This is not Algeria or Ramallah and they should not be allowed to dictate to the college who may or may not speak. Go and take the jihad with you. UC IRVINE EXPEL THEM

You guys always talk about freedom of speech. When a group of students practice a form of freedom of speech you segregate them as long as they don't take your side or opinion. Do you think guys who are criticizing those students that you are really with freedom of speech or do you want everyone who does not take your opinion to shut up.

Islam is the most politically protected religion in the world and if this had been a bunch of Christians or Hindus disrupting a speech by one of the many radical Muslims who regularly speak at UC Irvine, they wouldnt have been given anywhere NEAR the liberties these firebrands from the Muslim Student Union were given.

PERHAPS one or two non-Muslims would have been allowed to disrupt a Muslim speaker, then the whole group would have been ushered out en masse. You cant rule out the distinct possibility that MSU thugs wouldnt even allow protesters to get in a single word edgewise...

Congressman Yells 'You Lie' at Obama During Speech
Joe Wilson wasn't arrested for interrupting the president of the united states. He was even applauded and hailed by his party members and the public.

If this was a group of Hindus or Christians disrupting a radical Muslim speaker (which regularly appear at UC Irvine, courtesy of the Muslim Student Union) it is highly unlikely that 11 different disruptions would have been allowed. More likely the non-Muslim protesters would have been removed en masse after 2-3 disruptions if even that many.

Such is the politically protected status of Islam on such campuses as UC Irvine, Columbia, Georgetown and numerous other places where Islamic "radical chic" is still very much a continuing trend.

this was a syrian land from 5000 bc , before jews , even before god , u go check your history . just open the first page and you will see the fertile crescent.

the historic name of this area is fertile crescent ,we fed the whole world from our fruits ,vegetables and wheat .how can u say it was a desert ?
it is just another lie was published by jews

Only in America!
It's OK to interrupt the president of the United States while addressing the congress and the whole nation

but it's a crime to interrupt an Israeli official while giving a speech at a local collage to a small body of students!

God Bless the righteous people of this world.

When everyone has all the rights that they demand, no one will have any rights at all.

What nationatility and religion were the terrorists on 9/11.

The right of speech was violated by the 11 hooligans and their supporters.
Such people cannot represent America and identify themselves as Americans because they do not respect the American Constitution.
It's not clear if they are American patriots at all.

Well done Americans, it's great to see a lot of Americans waking up from their illusion.

(Mark): Get a life and google "Israeli terrorism". You are pathetic big time, I pity you.

The Zionist movement is one of the most aggressive and brutal movements in modern history. As new media continues to spread, people see more the side of the Palestinian suffering and the Israeli use of brutal and unnecessary force. I am tired of the crocodile tears and using the suffering of people under Hitler's force to excuse the same actions now committed by Israel upon the Palestinians. Shame on anyone who supports the Zionist movement and I cannot be happier that the new technology is pulling the covers on this hateful group.

This is freedom of speech. Why you arrested them and telling them "shame on you" & "you are failing in exams" I have seen their video they have not done any crime. American government is with Jewish(not zionists) people who are trying to mess up peace.

I'm a muslim and this is how I look at it. Maybe because I am far removed, I can look at it a bit dispassionately. If you look back at history, this land originally was the Jew's land. Over time and battles, the land was lost and other groups (including Christians and Muslims) took over the land. In recent times, they took it back. Even though they had powerful allies that took the land for them and it wasn't a sword on sword fight on the battle field (like in the past), they got it back. Many a war has been won because of powerful alliances, and this has happened to the benefit of the Muslims in the past as well. The way things stand right now, power and alliances are not on the side of the Muslims, we have to accept that. Do we go against the most basic tenets of our faith (ie not killing God's creation), just for land? I would rather stand in front of my Creator on the Day of Judgement and have to answer for not doing something about oppression in the land rather than having to answer why I killed innocents. Plus, there is a verse in the Quran where God says He will question the people and they will say 'We were oppressed in our land' and He will reply, 'Wasn't my Earth vast enough for you?' I know we can't move as freely as during the time of the revelation, but the essence is that being oppressed is not going to be an excuse. I wonder if my fellow muslims would agree?

its funny how political and high ranking academic gurus are denoucing this incident which begs the question : Where was this criticism when Ahmedinejad visited a university campus and all he got in return was vileful attacks?

I agree with the university on misdemeanor charges for disrupting an event, but they have no right to expel students just because they spoke up for something they believe. Nevertheless, im hardly shocked because i know who the people in power bow down to: Israel.

To me, there is no difference between Oren and Ahmedinejad. Each of them have done disgusting acts and should never be invited to a university. At least, Ahmedinejad didnt kill innocent people and bomb their houses.

the usa is so infiltrated by israel and jews that you cannot speak the truth about the jews and israel. 8 out the 12 cabinet positions are in jewish hands and the de-facto president is a jew, emanuel. so what do you expect? freedom of speech? i am not a jew nor a muslim, i am a realist. God help the usa form the jews.

Let the protestors earn their rights by serving to defend them in a war zone in a Muslim dominated country as a member of the US Military.

I'll take the side of the Jews over the muslems anyday.

its good to know that there are still people out there who are willing to take time out of their day to go out of their way to ruin something.

There is a strange irony to all of this. America has fought a rebellion and a civil war at great cost in blood and sacrifice so that every American has the right to free speech without reprisal. These foreigners, who, to the man, are not permitted free speech in their countries, come to our country to make light of the blood shed by our citizens for this inalienable right.
In your ignorant and unenlightened attempt to campaign for your cause, you have become odious to many Americans who do not suffer fools gladly.

Wait one second people. If you look at the history of the United States and the funding of our revolutionary war you will wee how the Jewish people have been fundermental in the establishment of the USA. And if you look at the History of the land of Israel you will see that it was almost completely uninhabited and a wasteland until Gods people (the Jews) came back to their homeland. I have here a quote from a well respected man who visited it before the Jews started coming home: Mark Twain's visit to Lebanon, Syria, and the Holy Land in 1867 was published in "The Innocents Abroad", where he described Palestine as follows:

"..... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent mournful expanse.... a desolation.... we never saw a human being on the whole route.... hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country." (The Innocents Abroad, p. 361-362)

Now that the Jews have made something of this desolate land and simply want the right to exist, the same radical people who threatened our ships and country that are noted in the Marine Corps Hymm "to the shores of Tripoli" are also coming against our friends and ali's (Israel). Get these radical anti American, anti Christian and anti Jew blood shedding liars out of our country! I served in the USMC and will defend this country from all enemies, foriegn and domestic. I think that we need to remember out roots and those who try to subvert out history and our culture. When was the last time that you heard of a Jew flying into the twin towers. America is blessed because we side with the Jews and have faith in the God of the Jews. Remeber our history and where we came from and who helped us and who has always hated and attacked us.

Free speech? This is a university invited guest speaker who came prepared to speak to students who were interested in hearing what he had to say. My question to those who disrupted him is "why did you attend?" If you disagreed with his politics and were not interested in hearing what he had to say -then simply stay away. No one came to hear your opinion nor were you invited to voice your opinion during his speech. If you had something to say the appropriate time would have been when you were invited to speak during the Q & A session at the end of his speech. And then your right to freedom of speech would have come into play. You could have set up a podium outside of the event and peacefully voiced your opinion as people left the auditorium. Then your opinion would have been heard as is your right as an American. It's time for people to have a better understanding of free speech in this country. If you open your big mouth (whether it is muslim, jewish, christian, black, white, red, yellow, etc.) at an event where it is disruptive to others who have invested either their time or money, then you will pay the price. It's a very simple concept that has nothing to do with our constitution or terrorism - in fact, it's simple manners.

death to Israel, murderous fascist state, jew terrorists are the WORST terrorists, after all, Israels Mossad did do 9/11,... truth hurts :)

antisemitism is a new age hoax, and I laugh at it everu chance I get, israeli propaganda dont work on me...

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