The efforts of pro-Palestinian “Occupy” protesters to stifle the free speech of pro-Israel speakers nationwide continued at the University of New Mexico on Thursday night when a small group tried to shout down a speech by author Nonie Darwish. This time, their pre-planned disruption led to a physical altercation.
Darwish, founder of Arabs for Israel and director of Former Muslims United, was speaking at an event titled, “Why the Arab Spring is Failing” organized by the University of New Mexico Israel Alliance and the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Activists from “(un)Occupy Albuquerque” – a group allied with the Occupy Wall Street movement – started a “people’s mic” seen frequently during the Occupy Wall Street protests.
As seen on a video posted to YouTube (below), the pro-Palestinian activists yelled: “Mic check! Nonie Darwish speaks for Israeli apartheid! And genocide at the hands of the IDF!”
Shortly after the “mic check” begins, the audience is heard shouting at those disrupting the speech, and chanting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” Then, a scuffle begins. Though the camera angle is tight – which complicates providing an objective description — it appears an older audience member tried to grab the paper (presumably the script of anti-Israel slogans) out of one of the Occupy protester’s hands, which lead to pushing and shoving.
This as other audience members further away shouted profanities, urging them to “Get out!”
It’s unclear from the tape if an older male audience member lunged at the protesters or tripped on a chair and fell forward on then. Watch the two videos here posted by the protesters: