Saturday, February 5, 2011
Eleven students charged with disrupting Israeli Ambassador's speech at UC Irvine
The Orange County District Attorney's Office has filed charges of misdemeanor conspiracy to disturb a meeting and misdemeanor disturbance of a meeting, said Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. The charges stem from the disruption of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's speech Feb. 8, 2010. "This case is being filed because there was an organized attempt to squelch the speaker, who was invited to speak to a group at UCI," Rackauckas said.
We must decide whether we are a country of laws or a country of anarchy. We cannot tolerate a preplanned violation of the law, even if the crime takes place on a school campus and even if the defendants are college students. In our democratic society, we cannot tolerate a deliberate, organized, repetitive and collective effort to significantly disrupt a speaker who hundreds assembled to hear."
The defendants are:
Mohamad Mohy-Eldeen Abdelgany, 23, of UCI
Khalid Gahgat Akari, 19, of UC Riverside
Aslam Abbasi Akhtar, 23, of UCI
Joseph Tamim Haider, 23, of UCI
Taher Mutaz Herzallah, 21, of UC Riverside
Hakim Nasreddine Kebir, 20, of UCI
Shaheen Waleed Nassar, 21, of UC Riverside
Mohammad Uns Qureashi, 19, of UCI
Ali Mohammad Sayeed, 23, of UCI
Osama Ahmen Shabaik, 22, of UCI
Asaad Mohamedidris Traina, 19, of UCI
True to form, Jewish Voice for peace, known for their blog Muzzlewatch that claims to track "efforts to stifle open debate about US-Israeli foreign policy", spoke out in support of the disruptors. Apparently its perfectly fine to stifle open debate when they don't like whats being said.
A recent email sent out by Emily Ratner, on behalf of Jewish Voice for Peace, claims her interuption of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech before the Jewish Federation's General Assembly in November, was inspired by the brave example in part by these 11 students . Emily asked, paradoxically, "What will happen to the Irvine 11and to freedom of speech for all of us?".
Noam Chomsky once said (remember, this Emily) "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." The attempts of the MSA in Irvine, and JVP to curtail others liberties is an affront to us all.
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