Israel's Amb. Michael Oren's address into the state of American-Israel relations- to the chagrin of Univ of Calif Irvine, Muslim Students Union disruptors- 11 arrested

Ambassador Michael Oren addressed an overflow audience on US-Israel relationship and global affairs at the Univ of Calif Irvine. He discussed the Zionistic element (support for the return of the people of Israel to their ancestral homeland) within America's founding and maturing, from John Adams, through Abraham Lincoln, to Harry Truman. He discussed Americans' widespread spiritual and social support for democratic Israel, the only land where rule of law guarantees free-speech in the Middle East. He discussed the evolution of the multi-faceted ties between the US and Israel- which strategic relationship began towards the end of the 1967 Six-Day War.

Amb. Oren noted the U.S. and Israel's shared values - spiritual and democratic, and their shared interests- economic and political - from allying to resisting Communism, to resisting Islamic-extremism, today.

He discussed the state of the current relationship between Washington and Jerusalem, vis a vis the Obama's administration's pressure to force the creation of a state of Palestine. He discussed Israel's considerations regarding the conditions of Palestinian sovereignty and prioritizing it over stopping nuclear proliferation within the Islamic world - which would extort the West with threats to leak nuclear-weapons into Islamic-extremists' hands.

U.C. Irvine, with a large Muslim enrollment, has been criticized for fomenting a climate of aggressive anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism through its Muslim Students Union. The M.S.U. organized a stream of students disrupting through the speech, ignoring appeals from Chancellor Paul Drake and Political Science Dept Director Mark Petraca. Police Chief Paul Hensley did not elect to position a uniformed police deterrence between the disrupting Muslims' seating sections and the Ambassador at the podium following repeated outbursts- and Muslim students continued to disregard faculty appeals- creating 10 disruptions. Amb. Oren walked out briefly, but Rabbi David Eliezrie relates that he elected to return on his dedication to the attendees, his Jewish perseverance, and the promise of his hosts to suspend or expel further disruptors.

Eleven students in total were arrested and charged with a misdemeanor- eight from U.C. Irvine and
three from U.C. Riverside. Irvine disruptors arrested: Joseph Tamim Haider, Osama Ahmed Sabry Shabaik, Mohamed Mohy Eldeen Abdelgany, Ali Mohammed Sayeed, Asaad Traina, Mohammad Qureashi, Aslam Akhtar, and Hakim Nasreddine Kebir.

Riverside disruptors arrested: Taher Herzallam, Shaheen Waleed Nassar and Khalid Bahgat Akari.

Shalom Elcott, President and CEO of Jewish Federation Orange County, said the highly-orchestrated disruptions by the President of the Muslim Student Union (MSU) - who was arrested, along with one MSU board member and 10 other student protesters - constituted an embarrassment to the University and an insult to the broader community. “While we had hoped the administration would have been better prepared to thwart groups or individuals trying to harass Ambassador Oren, we do commend the University police for making arrests and taking action to escort the perpetrators out of the room,” says Elcott. “And, we are proud of the Ambassador not letting the disruptions stop him from completing his address. We will intensely monitor what actions the University administration will take in response to this evening’s event and will report our findings to the community,” says Elcott.

Palestinian political refugee, Ghazi Brighith, denounced the Muslim agitators' behavior as deplorable and un-Islamic.

Israeli-American activist, Nurit Greenger, called upon Chancellor Michael Drake in a written appeal to seek full prosecution for those arrested students, including expulsion from UCI, and deportation of those who are here student visas. "They are not welcome here to try distorting our culture and way of life. We want civility restored at UCI and nothing less will suffice," Ms. Greenger wrote.

Update 26 Feb: Though Police Chief Hensley told DemoCast that the arrested would be referred to the District Attorney for prosecution, none of the 11 students who were arrested have been charged, according to court records as of 23 Feb.