A male in his twenties, identifying himself as Palestinian, jumped over a seat barrier and charged the stage at the Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan Thursday evening during an event featuring Israeli minorities voicing support for the Jewish state, according to attendees.
In video obtained by the Haym Salomon Center showing the final few seconds of the incident, the alleged assailant can be heard cursing in Arabic and then backing off as he approaches the stage and security overwhelms him.
“I was scared and shocked when I heard this man shouting, cursing and jumping over seats as he rushed toward the stage,” explained Jonathan Elkhoury. “I immediately saw Mohammad Kabiya running to stand in front and protect Bassem [Eid] in order to make sure no one would come close and harm him.”
Elkoury, Kabiya and Eid are Christian, Muslim-Bedouin and Muslim-Palestinian, respectively, who have served in the Israel Defense Forces and are currently on a U.S. speaking tour with the organization Reservists on Duty (RoD). For the past two weeks, these men, joined by Dema Taya, an Arab-Israeli Muslim woman who also served in the IDF, have traveled to 12 different cities, speaking about being minorities in Israel.
According to Elkhoury, the individual who charged the speakers was cursing in Arabic, “calling us ‘rats who sold our souls’ and ‘Arab-Jewish’ (a pejorative), and calling our mothers prostitutes.”
Approximately ten protesters were removed by security and escorted off the premises by New York City police. Witnesses claim that an anti-terrorism unit also arrived on the scene, which NYPD will neither confirm nor deny.
In an email to the Haym Salomon Center, NYPD would say only that “there was a 911 call for an assault in progress. When police arrived, they determined that there was a dispute between two individuals. A complaint report for harassment was taken at the scene.”