A Jewish National Fund fundraiser in Berlin was briefly disrupted last week, as about 10 anti-Zionist activists interrupted a musical performance by veteran Israeli vocal group Gevatron.
Among the most prominent of the small group of red-shirted activists who disrupted the performance was a young Israeli woman, who screamed hysterically when anybody approached and tried to evict her and her colleagues, and spoke intermittently in Hebrew. The activists apparently included at least one other Israeli, as well as Iranians and Palestinians.
The incident occurred during an October 4 concert to raise money for the JNF. Several activists stood up from within the audience to reveal red T-shirts bearing “Viva Palestina” slogans, and began shouting anti-Israel rhetoric, throwing JNF fundraising boxes at the audience and waving banners protesting Israeli policies regarding the Palestinians. Some members of the singing group kept singing in the initial seconds of the raucous intrusion, before they registered what was going on.
One banner accused Israel of ethnic cleansing, and several protesters — the long brown-haired Israeli woman prominent among them — chanted in English, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
A video uploaded to YouTube after the event shows some protesters in brief physical confrontations with audience members before they were separated.
After several minutes, the protesters, associated with anarchist group Direct Action Berlin and the international Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement, were removed by security.
In a statement released on Facebook after the protest, Direct Action Berlin called the JNF an instrument of “Zionist apartheid and oppression” and an active participant in “war crimes.” They said their action was “symbolic and non-violent” but that they were “brutally charged by the spectators.”
The video clip gave little sense of “spectator brutality” — showing, rather, a baffled and dismayed audience, some of them elderly, and several of them audibly astounded that the screaming intruders included Israelis.
Gevatron manager Yoel Parnass told Yedioth Ahronoth.that it was the first time in the group’s 65 year history that “such a thing” occurred.
Gideon Gurion, a member of the Gevatron, said “It was a terrible feeling” to be interrupted in that way, including by an Israel — “I repeat, an Israeli.” He said that, at one point, when the activists approached the stage, the male singers stood in front of the female singers in order to protect them. “But in the end, it all ended okay,” he said.