Anti-Israel Activist Found Guilty of Assaulting Jewish Student During Violent King’s College Protest
An anti-Israel demonstrator who took part in a violent protest at a London university in January was found guilty of assault, the UK’s Evening Standard reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, 25-year-old Ivana Bevilaqua stood trial in a Westminster Magistrates Court for her participation in a King’s College, London demonstration against Ami Ayalon — the ex-commander of the Israeli Navy and former head of the Shin Bet — who had been invited to speak on campus by the university’s Israel Society.
Bevilaqua was one of some 200 demonstrators who stormed the room where Ayalon was scheduled to speak.
Esther Endfield brought charges against Bevilaqua, who struck Endfield and knocked her phone out of her hand as she was attempting to film the violent protest, the report said. According to testimony by Endfield, protesters prevented security guards from gaining access to the building.
Demonstrators were “shouting, chairs were thrown and banged on the floor, people were banging the walls and throwing things at the windows and chanting,” she told the court, adding that they also accused Ayalon of torturing Palestinians.
Speaking to the Jewish Chronicle immediately following the demonstration in January, Endfield described Bevilaqua’s attack in more detail.
“At one point I was against the door and [the Israel Society’s vice president] was protecting me. I was crying because I was scared and didn’t know what to do. This girl hit me, and my phone dropped out of my hand. I was trying to film, she just came up to me and hit me on the arm,” she said.
As part of her defense, the report said, Bevilaqua told the court she “just wanted to speak to this war criminal.” She was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £200 in court fees and £100 compensation to Endfield.
The heads of British Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, applauded the court’s verdict, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
“The conviction of this individual should send out a message that this type of violent and criminal disruption will not be tolerated,” Marie van der Zyl, vice president of the Board of Deputies, said. “In an open and tolerant society such as ours, everyone should be able to hold public discussion without fearing for their safety.”