"UK protestors call Peres 'war criminal' "
"President's address in front of 1,000 Oxford University students interrupted by small group of demonstrators claiming Israel ethnically cleansed Palestinians, calling for end to Gaza siege.
"Peres: We don't need your permission to stay alive"
by Hagit Klaiman
Published: 11.19.08, 07:28 / Israel News
by Hagit Klaiman
See the full article in YNet News at:
LONDON – Pro-Palestinian protestors interrupted President Shimon Peres' speech Tuesday evening at Britain's Oxford University. The angry students called Peres a "war criminal" and called for an end to the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories.
Peres was expected to address the two houses of the British parliament on Wednesday.
The Israeli president spoke before some 1,000 British students at Oxford, while dozens of other students protested outside the lecture hall. They carried signs reading, "A person cannot be called 'a man of peace' if he develops nuclear weapons", and chanted "free Palestine" and "occupation is a crime".
A propaganda leaflet, titled "Peres is a war criminal", was handed out outside the hall.
The leaflet read, "In the past 60 years he contributed to and was responsible for Israeli terror and the ongoing occupation. He recruited and armed the Hagana terrorists who led the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948.
"This man is responsible for the only nuclear weapons cache in the entire Middle East. As the president of Israel, he is responsible for starving a million and a half Palestinians subject to a siege in Gaza."
Protestors inside the hall interrupted Peres' speech several times. One of them shouted at him, "I am here on behalf of a million and a half residents of Gaza who are being bombed by Israel every day. I am here in the name of 11,000 Palestinian prisoners. I am here in the name of the 800,000 refugees expelled. War criminal, you should be ashamed of yourself."
'Hitler would also remain silent'
The audience did not keep quiet in light of the ongoing attacks. When one of the demonstrators called Peres a "war criminal", most of those present booed her. She did not hesitate and replied, 'If Hitler were here now, he would remain silent as you are silent and listen to Peres' speech."
The president, who remained composed and kept his restraint, responded to one of the protestors by saying, "We have the right to stay alive. We don't need your permission."
One of the students, who claimed to be demonstrating on behalf of all of Gaza's residents, was told by Peres, "Sometimes it's not so terrible to open your eyes and ears and keep your mouth closed for a different opportunity."
At the end of the event, Peres said he was unmoved by the demonstration and would continue his PR efforts for Israel....
"Unflappable Peres delivers consistent message"
In the "Jewish Chronicle" (London, U.K.).
See the full article at:
President Shimon Peres showed grace under fire on Tuesday night when he was systematically heckled and barracked by Oxford students at the city's Sheldonian Theatre.
The trip to Oxford on Tuesday evening was always going to be the most unpredictable part of the presidential visit. On the one hand there was Mr Peres' insistence on plunging head-first into the academic boycott issue, and on the other, the preparations of various pro-Palestinian groups to protest against the visit of the man they described as a "war criminal" caused a lot of worry to the security detail.
In the event, the detail of mounted police with riot gear outside the Sheldonian Theatre, where Mr Peres was to give his lecture on "The Globalisation of Peace" was unnecessary. About 150 demonstrators gathered outside but they seemed content to chant "Free, free Palestine" and hand out leaflets detailing Mr Peres' "crimes against humanity" and blaming the Americans for 9/11. But the main concern was what was going to happen inside the splendid hall. The university had ruled that any student with a valid university card would be allowed in on a first come, first served basis- and trouble was expected. A team of bodyguards and a group of proctors were ranged around the theatre in readiness.
On arrival, Mr Peres was received with thunderous applause and no sign of any dissent. But three minutes into his lecture, when he was explaining how Barack Obama's election was the realisation of the Zionist dream of eradicating antisemitism and racism, a young man stood up and shouted: "I am here as the representative of 800,000 Palestinians ethnically cleansed by Israel."
A few people shushed him; Mr Peres continued speaking as if nothing had happened and the protestor sat down. But for the next hour, every five minutes or so, another student got up to represent a different sector of the downtrodden Palestinian people. Only once, when one actually started walking towards the president, shouting: "How dare you, leader of an apartheid state," was he bundled out of the hall by the proctors.
Throughout these disturbances, Mr Peres carried on unflappably, though towards the end he seemed to be chafing a bit. To one heckler who claimed to be representing "thousands of farmers who had their land taken away by Israeli settlers" he said: "It's not bad to open the eyes and ears and keep the mouth for a later occasion...."