Anti-government protesters in New York have filed a harassment complaint against Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman after he forcefully took a megaphone from one of the demonstrators during his visit to the city. Rothman, a prominent figure in the government’s judicial overhaul, is among several Israeli lawmakers in New York for the annual Celebrate Israel Parade. The lawmakers have been the target of anti-overhaul protesters, with Rothman receiving particular attention as the chair of the Constitution Law and Justice Committee.
Late on Friday, a video circulated online showing Rothman becoming agitated as protesters walked behind him, chanting through a megaphone as he made his way back to his hotel. In the footage, Rothman can be seen abruptly turning around and grabbing the megaphone from a woman before leaving the scene. Additional videos captured further scuffles between the protesters and Rothman’s security team as they tried to retrieve the megaphone, resulting in at least two people being pushed to the ground.
The woman from whom the megaphone was taken later filed a police complaint against Rothman for harassment. However, it remains unclear whether Rothman, as a Knesset lawmaker, enjoys diplomatic immunity in New York. Protest organizer Shany Granot emphasized that in Manhattan, democracy exists, allowing them to express their opinions freely without fear of interference.
The protesters in New York have been staging weekly rallies in Washington Square Park, targeting government ministers and US supporters of the judicial overhaul. They have developed a well-coordinated network to track the Israeli lawmakers’ activities in the city and disrupt their visits.
As the Israeli lawmakers prepare to participate in the Celebrate Israel Parade, the group UnXeptable has called on the parade organizers to rescind the invitations extended to the coalition lawmakers. The exact number of Israeli lawmakers attending the parade remains uncertain, with reports suggesting varying figures. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has advised Likud members not to attend due to public criticism of the cost associated with sending a large delegation abroad.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)