Groups vow to promote ‘voices of Israel’ after protester disrupts Arab Israelis on campus

In the latest college campus controversy involving Israel’s minority populations, police at the University of Minnesota arrested an unidentified woman Oct. 24 for disrupting a pro-Israel student group’s event featuring Arab Israelis who served in the IDF.

Video footage obtained by the Haym Salomon Center shows a young hijab-clad woman walking up and down the aisle of a conference room, slinging personalized verbal assaults at the guest speakers, all members of Reservists on Duty (RoD), an organization founded by Israeli reserve combat soldiers and officers “who felt it was their duty to expose and counter BDS” on American college campuses. RoD was hosted on the campus by Students Supporting Israel (SSI), an international campus movement that focuses on Israel advocacy.

The incident in Minnesota came about a week after both Hillel and a student-run Israel engagement group pulled their support for an RoD event spotlighting the stories of Israeli minorities at California-based Stanford University. Stanford Chabad ultimately hosted the event.

In this week’s incident, the unidentified woman, reading from prepared notes on her smartphone, began by attacking Jonathan Elkhoury, a gay Christian who immigrated to Israel in 2000 after his family escaped war-torn Lebanon. According to the protester, “Jonathan’s cowardly rat of a father is a former officer in the South Lebanon Army (SLA).” Describing the SLA as a “genocidal pack of rats,” she continued to attack Elkhoury’s family and his Christian-Lebanese pride.

Arab-Israeli Muslim Dema Taya was next on the protester’s list of targets. Her questioning of Taya’s background drew laughter from the crowd as well as the RoD speakers. At that point, two minutes into the protest, requests for security could be heard on the video.

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