Israeli diplomat attacked in England
When does protest against a government’s policies cross the line? One good benchmark is when protesters physically attack a diplomat, climb on the hood of a moving police car and try to bash in the windshield in order to get at the diplomat inside.
The victim? Deputy Israei Ambassador to Britain Talya Lador-Fresher… in Manchester, England.
A lecture given by Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to Britain Talya Lador-Fresher at the University of Manchester deteriorated Wednesday into violence when pro-Palestinian protesters stormed at the diplomat in an attempted attack.
The protesters were waiting for Lador-Fresher outside the lecture hall, but this did not deter her from entering as planned. Immediately upon her exit, the protesters lunged at the diplomat, prompting security guards to whisk her back into the hall. Following a consultation on the site, it was decided to escort her out of the premises in a police car.
The deputy ambassador was removed from the hall and into the police vehicle. However, this did not block the protesters, who surrounded the car and climbed on the hood, trying to break the windshield.
Lador-Fresher ultimately was taken away from the scene safe and sound.
The protesters were identified by British blog Harry’s Place as members of an organization named Action Palestine.
Action Palestine identifies itself as “a UK wide student organization dedicated to “building a strong Palestine movement on campuses by facilitating communication and cooperation between Palestine student groups and individual supporters.”
Lador-Fresher’s response was unsurprisingly diplomatic:
“They were screaming and shouting. Two of them were on the bonnet trying to break the windscreen. It was very unpleasant.
“I don’t think they wanted to kill me but I genuinely believed they wanted to physically hurt me. If I had not had the police and security team I would have been beaten up.” [...]
“No foreign diplomat should have to go through what I went through.”
Israeli Ambassador to Britain Ron Prosor gave a more sharply worded rejoinder, stating that “What is going on at British taxpayer-funded universities is shocking. Extremism is not just running through these places of education, it is galloping. My ears are ready and waiting to hear the strongest condemnation of this behaviour both from the heads of campus and the local authorities.”
As for the University of Manchester? They just stated that “The University is fundamentally committed to freedom of speech, exercised within the law. It follows that it should also allow peaceful and lawful protest to take place on its campus.”
Except that… you know… trying to smash in the windshield of a police car carrying a foreign diplomat doesen’t seem, you know… peaceful and lawful.
The cynical part of us is waiting around to hear about a Chinese diplomat being assaulted over Tibet or Xinjiang or about a Russian diplomat getting attacked over Chechnya or Dagestan… but we don’t think there’s much of a chance of hearing about that.
Funny how the world works huh?