Arab students interrupted a lecture by Israel’s U.S. ambassador at a university that has been at the center of campus wars over Israel.
The hecklers interrupted Michael Oren more than 10 times Monday night during his speech at the University of California, Irvine, shouting “Israel is a murderer” and “how many Palestinians did you kill?”
Eleven students were arrested following the presentation.
Oren was removed from the stage for a period because of the outbursts, prompting a university faculty member to take the podium and admonish the crowd, calling the incident “embarrassing.”
Oren returned to finish his speech but did not take questions from the audience, as was scheduled, Haaretz reported.
The university’s Muslim Student Union organized the protests.
In a statement received by the Orange County Register, the union said that “We condemn and oppose the presence of Michael Oren, the ambassador of Israel to the United States, on our campus today.”
“We resent that the Law School and the Political Science Department on our campus have agreed to cosponsor a public figure who represents a state that continues to break international and humanitarian law and is condemned by more UN Human Rights Council resolutions than all other countries in the world combined.”
Irvine has the second largest concentration of Arabs in the United States, according to Ynet.
Oren is currently on a lecture tour of the West Coast.
The University of California, Irvine has been a flashpoint for the Israel wars on American campuses for years, with both sides leveling accusations of intimidation. The Zionist Organization of America complained about the situation to the U.S. Department of Education, which concluded there was insufficient evidence that the university had failed to adequately respond to complaints of harassment.
More recently, the ZOA called on the Department of Justice to probe alleged fund-raising activities on behalf of Hamas by Irvine students.