RAMALLAH, July 9 (JMCC) - Jerusalem Post
journalist Larry Derfner describes what happened
at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv when a small group of Israelis demonstrated in support of pro-Palestinian activists trying to visit the West Bank from Europe.
Only minutes after I got to the Arrivals hall, a few activists stood in front of the phalanx of reporters and cameramen, help up their little signs and started chanting “Israel Apartheid” and ”Free Palestine!” The cops tore the signs from their hands and started pushing them toward the exit. After the first couple of minutes of watching in shocked silence, people in the terminal started to boo. Men were cursing loudly – “sons of bitches,” “garbage,” and things in Arabic I didn’t understand.
A couple of dozen people, mainly men but also a few women, followed very close behind the tightly-bunched demonstrators, cops and reporters to the police van. “Throw them in the garbage,” shouted one woman. An old man tried to get at one of the activists, but the police stopped him.
I was there ostensibly as a journalist, and I was scribbling notes, but I felt cowardly not saying anything to these nationalist hooligans, so I started telling them in Hebrew, “What are these people doing?” The woman who wanted them thrown in the garbage said, “They’re hurting us!” I said, “They’re talking,” and the little mob turned on me, a couple of the men raised their fists. The woman told me, “Go back home, get out of here,” I said, “I live here.” The cops mistook me for a demonstrator, put me in the police van, but when I showed them my press card, they let me go.
Let me repeat – the police started off arresting the demonstrators, but very shortly their main task was to keep them from being assaulted. They had to hold back the herd = and that’s what these people were, a herd incited by the idea that these protesters, non-violent protesters trying to get to the West Bank, were a menace, an immediate threat to their security.