“Stop your murder, stop your hate, Israel is an apartheid state!” shouted pro-Palestinian Authority protesters as they tried to barge their way into Lerner Hall at Columbia University Monday night, where Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, was speaking.
“No peace on stolen land! Justice is our demand!” they chanted as they marched around outside in the freezing cold.
In response, pro-Israel demonstrators were shouting, “Anti-Semites got to go!”
Within minutes, that chant was replaced by, “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here!” – making it clear that the Jewish demonstrators, at least, were nearly as liberal as their angry anti-Israel counterparts.
Meanwhile, inside the hall, Israel’s envoy was trying to speak before some 300 students who had come to hear what he had to say about current events in the Middle East.
But his words were constantly drowned out by the chants of “Free Palestine! Free Palestine!” At least 100 of the agitators finally managed to break into the lecture hall, despite the best efforts of security personnel to keep them out.
Nevertheless, Danon was clear: “We will not be quiet in the face of the lines that you spread about Israel,” he said. “We will continue to make our voice heard and we will continue to insist on our righteous truth.”
Danon then demonstrated his years of experience in Israel’s Knesset, speaking bluntly to the mob: “Instead of inciting and lying, sit down in the seats — and maybe you will learn something.
“This is precisely the problem of the Palestinians. They lie, incite and don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist,” he said.
“But I have an announcement for those students,” he added. “The people of Israel will never leave the Land of Israel.”
Eventually, the agitators from the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement were removed from the hall, and Danon addressed himself to the lies being circulated at the United Nations, and the anti-Israel resolutions that have been passed up to this point. He added that Israel is hoping and expecting to see a “new era” at the UN with the advent of the new Trump administration in the United States, “an era in which Israel receives fair treatment like all countries in the world,” he said.
Nevertheless, throughout the duration of his talk, two Israeli security men flanked the envoy on the stage, maintaining a close presence on each side of him.
Neither was smiling.
Photos, some content contributed by reporter DS Levi.