The 24-year-old student from Israel’s Arab minority who interrupted President Obama’s speech in Jerusalem on Thursday explained his comments and why he made them in an interview with The Lede on Friday.
The heckler, Rabbea Eid, a political science student at Haifa University, said by telephone that he did not plan the outburst but was offended by Mr. Obama’s remarks, which seemed to rule out the solution that he favors: a single, binational state to be shared by Israelis and Palestinians:
I was listening to the speech of Obama and he said a lot of things that made me upset so I just stood up and shouted. He was talking about democracy and justice and at the same time he said he supports Israel as a Jewish country. So, from my perspective and that of a lot of people, Arab people, Palestinians who were in the building listening to the speech … the Arabs, the minority in Israel are also against a Jewish country because it’s not a democratic country. It’s against us, so how can Mr. Obama be democratic and in the same time support an ethnic country?
So I stood up and I told him, “President Obama, did you come to make peace or to support Israel and the Israeli occupation?” Then I asked him about this thing, “How can you be democratic and support a Jewish country?” And I asked him also, “Who killed Rachel Corrie?” The last question was, “Did you see the apartheid wall when you came from Ramallah?”
And then the security guys came and took me out, the Israeli security guys, and they told me that I’m arrested and they threatened me and they used, at first, a little bit of violence with me. But after that there was a journalist, from Fox News, I think, came out and followed me … She started taking my details and pictures, while I was stopped by the Israeli security guys … One of the security guys, I think the boss of them, told his team, “Deal with him easy. I don’t want to make a big story now. There is media so just let him go.” Then they walked me outside.
Footage of Mr. Eid after he was removed from the hall by security wasbroadcast by Israel’s Channel 2.http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/22/arab-student-explains-why-he-heckled-obama-in-jerusalem/