Anti-Israel Protesters Shout Down Amb. Nikki Haley at University of Houston
Washington’s ambassador to the United Nations was interrupted by protesters waving Palestinians flags while speaking at the University of Houston in Texas on Tuesday.
Less than three minutes after taking the podium, Nikki Haley’s speech on US foreign policy achievements was interrupted by a male protester who accused her of sanctioning “the genocide of a native people.” She seemed startled by the exclamation, muttering, “Oh jeez.”
About two dozen students, some affiliated with the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter, quickly rose in unison and chanted, “Nikki, Nikki can’t you see, you are on a killing spree,” and “free, free, free Palestine.”
The disruption continued for more than two minutes, until most of the protesters were removed from the Cullen Performance Hall by police. The audience then applauded and Haley resumed speaking, only to be shouted over once again. “Any more?” she asked to loud applause after the final interruption.
“You know, while disruptive as that might have been, it’s a reason to celebrate,” she said. “Because my husband and my brother are combat veterans, and they fought for their right to be able to do that.”
The protesters continued displaying their signs outside the event hall, where SJP member Muhammed Fattoush expressed his objection to Haley’s defense of Israel’s response to recent Hamas-led riots in the Gaza Strip.
“She says that Israel massacring over 100 protesters in one day is showing restraint,” Fattoush claimed, referencing comments that the ambassador made at a UN Security Council meeting convened on May 15, a day after Israeli troops killed 62 Palestinians by the Gaza border, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Hamas has since claimed 50 of the fatalities as its members, while Palestinian Islamic Jihad said three others were its fighters.
“You can’t talk with someone like that,” the junior said.
This is not the first time that the university’s SJP has come under the spotlight. In January 2017, a dozen UH students and recent alumni affiliated with SJP and the Muslim Student Association — some of whom still attend the school — were reported to have previously shared tweets including “Jews are our dogs,” “I hate Jews and Israel,” and “May Allah curse the Jews.”
That October, the University of Houston hosted the 2017 National Students for Justice in Palestine conference.
A video of Tuesday’s protest published by the student-run Daily Cougar can be seen below: