Thursday, February 18, 2010

This is what disrupting a public meeting looks like

US Ambassador to Israel, Michael Oren is booed, heckled, and disrupted repeatedly as he attempts to give a speech at UC Irvine in Southern California on February 8, 2010. --video courtesy Stand With Us

by Becky Johnson
February 18, 2010

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- This is what disrupting a public meeting looks like. I ought to know a thing or two about disrupting a public meeting having been the photographer who captured Robert Norse's "disruption" of a Santa Cruz City Council meeting when he made a fleeting hand gesture, a "Nazi" Salute when he objected to the Mayor's shutting off of oral communications without allowing the last speaker to speak.

On February 8th, The Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, was the invited speaker at an event held at UC Irvine. A large group of people who appeared to be the Muslim Student Union, attended the event. At various intervals, one person from their group would stand up and start yelling at Ambassador Oren. The MSA members would loudly cheer and clap when they did this. No sooner had one disrupter been escorted from the auditorium, another would stand up and yell.

These people and this group INTENDED to disrupt the event, and the message Ambassador Oren came to say. Their interference made it impossible to proceed in a normal fashion. It was impossible to conduct ordinary business with the disruption ongoing. The disruption was sustained. And this tactic of disruption and intimidation of political opponents and Jews is reminiscent of the Brownshirts in Germany which gave Hitler his rise to power.

The heart of democracy is persuasion. We are a diverse nation, which in turn, is connected and interwined with other nationalities. To remain a democracy, and to accomodate diverse voices, bullying tactics like those used by the MSU at UC Irvine must not be tolerated!

1 comment:

  1. Nice try BJ. Unfortunately, Mr. Oren's appearance was not a public meeting but rather a public event. In other words, no official business was being conducted at this event. Yes, the protesters were disruptive, but to paint this with the same brush as Norse's outrageous behavior at a City Council meeting is disingenuous.


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