Shamir Gets Enthusiastic Send-off

As expected, a hand-picked audience of American Jews sent Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir off to Washington with a wildly enthusiastic show of support Tuesday night.

A crowd of 1,200 at New York’s Town Hall interrupted Shamir with applause 25 times during a 20-minute speech in which he rejected negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization, opposed exchanging land for peace and chastised the media for overplaying the Palestinian uprising.

For Shamir supporters, the event was marred only by the appearance of two hecklers, apparently Jewish, who eluded tight security and attempted to unfurl a banner at the back of the hall. They were ejected by secret service agents, but not before one cried, “Shamir is a disgrace to Zionism.”

Meanwhile, members of a number of pro-Palestinian groups took part in a noisy anti-Shamir rally organized by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Police kept the demonstrators well away from the hall and from a smaller group of militantly pro-Shamir Jews.

A number of left-wing Jewish groups that normally might have demonstrated against Shamir stayed away from the event, fearing they would be associated with the pro-PLO Arab groups.

A downpour dampened the demonstrations as the audience filed out of Town Hall, an auditorium in midtown Manhattan.

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