UNITED NATIONS (May. 21)
United Nations guards attacked and forcibly dragged out 125 protesters who had staged a peaceful sit-down demonstration yesterday in the lobby of the General Assembly building. The demonstrators, 120 Jewish students from universities in the metropolitan area and five rabbis, demanded that the UN “assert moral leadership to prevent further Arab terror in the Mideast.”
After a half hour, the demonstrators were approached by a UN security officer, who was told that if they would be permitted to speak to the assembled press they would leave. As one newsman approached and began his interview, 30 security guards quickly surrounded the group, which quickly linked arms. Breaking each person’s grip, the guards dragged the students and rabbis out the door and then out of the UN grounds.
Many students and the rabbis complained of the brutality with which they were treated. Yarmulkes were knocked off the heads of the male students and rabbis, the lenses of Rabbi Steven Riskin’s glasses were knocked out, and one student was repeatedly punched in the base of the spine and had to be carried out by others. Several protesters said that the guards had removed their identification shields before they attacked.
After their ejection, the group sat down in front of the UN gates and conducted a ceremony of speeches and prayers. Rabbi Avraham Weiss stated that “we came to ask the end of violence and found that the UN practiced violence on us.” A group of students remained across the street at the Isaiah Wall to engage in a Talmud class. The rest dispersed put vowed to return. The demonstration was initiated by the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry.