Israeli and Palestinian media tracked down the man who heckled President Barack Obama during his speech to students in Jerusalem on Thursday, drawing boos from the audience and a joke from the president who said: “I have to say we actually arranged for that, because it made me feel at home. I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I didn’t have at least one heckler.”
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Contrary to the dispatch filed in the White House pool report (one TheBlaze quoted on Thursday) that said the heckler shouted in Hebrew demanding Obama free convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, the man is in fact an Israeli Arab who was shouting in Arabic, decrying what he thought was Obama’s “extremist and Zionist” speech.
Rabia Eid tells Israel’s Channel 10 News that that “Obama talked about a Jewish state, and that is unacceptable to me and to the Arabs of the world.” Eid is himself an Israeli citizen who enjoys the benefits that citizenship affords, including the opportunity to study at a government-funded university.
The Hebrew site Walla reports that security guards quickly removed the man from the venue, to the sound of boos from the audience.
The 24-year-old told Walla, “I shouted against the occupation and to ‘Free Palestine’!”
Israel’s Channel 2 reports that Eid called Obama a “Zionist.”
Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestinian website that publishes articles presenting Israel as an “apartheid” occupier of Palestinian lands spoke at length to Eid after the incident. He told the site he shouted this at Obama: “Did you really come here for peace or to give Israel more weapons to kill and destroy the Palestinian people? Did you happen to see the apartheid wall on your way here?” Palestinians often refer to the security barrier Israel erected in order to stop the entry of suicide bombers to its towns and cities the “apartheid wall.”
Eid said, “I couldn’t stand listening to the speech any more.”
“It was a very Zionist speech that made other speeches by Zionist figures pale in comparison,” he added.
He says security guards dragged him out of the hall after which he was handcuffed by police.
“They handcuffed him, threatened him, and attempted to intimidate him. They told him he was under arrest,” the site alleges. This stands in contrast to the report from an Israel Channel 2 correspondent who was on the scene and said Eid was in fact never arrested.
Here is a Hebrew report from Israel Channel 2. It describes the man standing next to Israeli police as the heckler: