Protester Caught on Video Calling Israeli-Arab Activists ‘Rats,’ ‘Garbage’ at University of Minnesota Event
A protester interrupted a group of Israeli Arab activists who spoke at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday, denigrating them and their families before being detained by campus police.
In an edited video obtained by The Algemeiner, an unidentified female protester is seen walking up to Jonathan Nizar Elkhoury — a minorities coordinator for the advocacy group Reservists on Duty (RoD), which organized the delegation — and launching into an insult-laden tirade.
“In 2000, after South Lebanon was freed from Israeli occupation, Jonathan’s cowardly rat of a father scurried across the border,” the woman said. Elkhoury’s father served as an officer in the South Lebanon Army, a Christian militia active during the Lebanese Civil War, which received support from Israel.
“I’m standing right here, so am I a coward?” Elkhoury responded. The woman agreed before again calling his father a “cowardly rat.”
“She didn’t have any information about what we went through in Lebanon,” Elkhoury told The Algemeiner. “What we are doing is the opposite of cowardly, because we are speaking out and defending our country, which gives us all the opportunities in life.”
The protester also targeted Dema Taya — an Israeli-Arab Muslim who is touring US college campuses with RoD — telling her, “your masters should have trained you better.” Taya has been vocal in her advocacy for cross-cultural dialogue, and has rejected accusations that Israeli law discriminates against minorities in interviews with Arab media.
The woman later called Mohammad Kabiya — a Muslim Israeli-Bedouin member of RoD who works as a strategic consultant for the Israeli military — “a war criminal, I mean IDF soldier.”
“Israel is my homeland,” Kabiya responded. “I am an Arab Israeli soldier.”
The protester continued shouting over his objections, saying, “one day you are going to have to explain to your son why you chose money over truth, you spineless piece of garbage.”
According to RoD, Kabiya and his fellow presenters are unpaid volunteers.
When the woman proceeded to leave the room, the presenters invited her to stay, as long as she was willing to engage in a dialogue with them.
“I don’t want to talk to genocide deniers,” she said, before exiting and being detained by campus police, according to Students Supporting Israel, which hosted RoD on campus.
“I really wish that she would have stayed and listened to our story, but it wasn’t her intention, she just wanted to interrupt,” Elkhoury said.
“We did this tour in order to inform people and have a conversation, but her only purpose was to shut us down,” he added. “We didn’t let that happen, because we’re not afraid to talk.”
RoD’s activists embarked on a tour of US campuses two weeks ago, seeking to counter narratives hostile to Israel and share their experiences as minorities living in the Jewish state. The tour concluded on Thursday with a presentation at Columbia University.