Emails Shed New Light on Disrupted Oren Speech
U of C Irvine Muslim Student Union Allegedly Planned Disruption in Advance.
Leaked emails point to the role of the Muslim Student Union at the University of California, Irvine, in the advance planning of a disruption to a February 8 speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.
Until now, the Muslim Student Union has on more than one occasion stated that the disruption, which was reported across North America and led to an academic tribunal that has not yet made a ruling, was caused by students acting of their own volition.
Eleven students were arrested for heckling and interrupting Oren’s speech. They interrupted Oren at least 10 times, shouting “killers” and “How many Palestinians did you kill?”
After the fourth outburst, Oren left for a 20 minute break but was again yelled at repeatedly by the men after he attempted to resume speaking, media reported at the time.
Oren also received numerous applause from the audience.
The new insight into the role of the student group and the emails that allegedly reveal their complicity was made public this week by the Washington-based Investigative Project on Terrorism. The group stated that the emails conclusively show that the student union not only aided students in planning the disruption, but also advised students to say that they had acted independently. The emails were leaked anonymously to university officials and local police.
In one of the emails dated February 6 and sent to the Muslim Student Union board, the group’s president Mohamed Abdelgany explains that the “game plan” for Oren’s speech, and asks for “disruptors.” Abdelgany, who was arrested during the speech, wrote in a later part of the email about the specific plan for the speech: This would involve attempting to “(disrupt) it throughout the whole time”. He also seems to have advised disruptors to be as loud as possible but not to go overboard.
He wrote: “Remember, that this is a planned/calculated response.”