This is Entry 14 in the Mondo Awards end-of-year Inspire-us contest. It is a nomination of five young Jews who heckled Netanyahu last month.
Monday morning, November 8, 2010. I turned on my computer and checked my email. A message in my inbox said, “JVP Live at the Jewish General Assembly: Watch NOW!” The body of the email, short and sweet, continued, “No time to write a full update, but we’re here at the GA with a group of truly incredible young JVPers about to interrupt Benjamin Netanyahu’s Plenary. Watch the live feed of the event here.”
I clicked the link to the live feed and saw two individuals at a podium introducing Netanyahu. I figured I missed the live feed and was seeing archived footage. I did a double take at the email’s time-stamp. I was so incredibly wrong – the video was, indeed, live. My timing was perfect, bashert.
While watching and listening to Netanyahu, cringing at his awful rhetoric and wanting to throw things at the screen, my inner monologue repeated, “just keep watching; something amazing is gonna happen – just wait and see.” And soon enough, I heard it. Well, I heard something, but I couldn’t really tell what it was. Someone in the crowd was yelling, “Mmmm mmmm mmmm delegitimizes Israel! Mmmm mmmm mmmm delegitimizes Israel!” I didn’t catch what they said, but I knew this had to be a heckler. The camera stayed on Bibi, but I could hear the crowd stir. I wished the camera would pan over to the crowd so I could see what was happening! The heckler’s persistence impressed me, repeating their statement over and over until their silence implied they had been removed from the room.
And then it happened again. And again. And again. And again:
The Settlements Delegitimize Israel
The Occupation Delegitimizes Israel
The Siege of Gaza Delegitimizes Israel
The Loyalty Oath Delegitimizes Israel
Silencing Dissent Delegitimizes Israel
This brilliant tactic, interruptions spaced out at roughly five minute intervals, certainly caught Bibi’s attention. It even caught the camera’s attention and I finally was able to see a brief swell of movement in the crowd. Oh, the crowd! In trying to stifle the hecklers, the crowd inadvertently perpetuated the interruption of Bibi’s speech, thanks to the wonders of mob mentality.
Mad props to the proud young Jews, the sparks who fan the flame of discontent, who will not allow our names to be blemished by the mis-steps of those in power who pretend to act in the name of all Jews.
I beamed for the rest of the week, so proud of my friends and colleagues who brought a new capacity for discourse on Israel/Palestine to the mainstream media.
I am so immensely proud to be a young-ish (28 year old) Jew.
Stefanie Brendler is a National Board Member (youngest) of Jewish Voice for Peace