A Shoe at Israeli Ambassador in Sweden

22 02 2009

On Wednesday, February 4, 2009, the Israeli Ambassador in Sweden, Benny Dagan, received an unpleasant welcome at Stockholm University. He was giving a lecture about the Israeli elections and later moved to talk and defend Israel’s latest military operation in Gaza. Two protestors, a man of 35 years and a woman of 25, threw a shoe and a notebook at the diplomat. They yelled, “Murderers!” and “Intifada!” Later, they were both arrested by the police and received charges for assault and public disturbance. A student who attended the lecture caught this shaky video on his cell phone camera…


The two protestors got their point across: an extreme disapproval, if not disgust, of what the IDF has done in the Gaza strip. I wonder, however, about this action’s effectiveness, aside from the publicity. The Swedish have shown much support to the Palestinian cause, from boycotting Israeli products to protesting against the partnership between their company Veolia and Israel in building a tramline two years ago in Palestinian-populated East Jerusalem.

A shoe, notebook, or whatever it is, thrown at a diplomat does not shed good light on the cause, however. It portrays a level of violence and disrespect that undermines it and all those people who support it. Pro-Palestine supporters, then, get called barbaric, violent and even insolent. They become the bad guys in the eyes of others. Is that the image aimed for here?

There are other means to fight, protest and express disapproval. Propelling objects in the air could work momentarily, get a first page space in newspapers, but it’s not effective in the long-run.




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