"When I got up to disrupt the prime minister's speech, he was speaking of the de-legitimization of Israel, and I yelled out that I am an Israeli and that it is the occupation, the Gaza blockade and the loyalty oath which delegitimize Israel," said Matan Cohen, one of five protestors who heckled Benjamin Netanyahu during
his keynote address to
the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly in New Orleans on Monday.
"We (protestors) decided every five-six minutes one of us would get up and yell. We were detained and later transferred to the custody of the Secret Service," he told Ynet.
Cohen is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization that works to achieve a "lasting peace that recognizes the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination."
Cohen, 21, was one of the founders of Anarchists Against the Wall, an Israeli group supporting the Palestinian campaign against the construction of the West Bank security barrier. Four years ago, he was injured from a rubber bullet fired by security forces during an anti-fence rally in the West Bank.
He is currently enrolled at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, which became the first of any college or university in the US to divest from companies due to their involvement in the "Israeli occupation of Palestine."
"Israel's actions are the cause of its deteriorating status in the international community," Cohen said. "Many young Jewish Americans are distancing themselves from the community, which expects their blind loyalty to Israel.
"Netanyahu was expecting a supportive audience, but as Jews and Israelis we will not remain silent. An entire community that was raised on human rights will not turn a blind eye."