Society

Palestinian-American Beaten With Flagpole At Protest (Video)

| by Alex Scarr

A Palestinian-American man was assaulted and beaten with an American flag at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference March 26 in Washington, D.C (video below). Two people have been arrested in relation to the attack.

Kamal Nayfeh, 55, was attacked by men wearing shirts with "Jewish Defense League" written on them, according to The Washington Post. District of Columbia police believe the attack came after a verbal altercation between Nayfeh and two other men, and thought religion or ethnicity could be a factor in the attacks. Neither attacker has been charged with a hate crime.

Nayfeh, a community college professor from North Carolina, was dropping his daughter off at the protest. She is a law student at Georgetown University.

Yosef Steynoitz, 32, and Rami Lubranicki, 59, can be seen punching and kicking Nafeh before striking him with a flagpole. Steynoitz was charged with felony assault and Lubranicki was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

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The Jewish Defense League is a far-right Jewish extremist group that seeks to defend against anti-Semitism "by any means necessary," and the FBI has deemed the JDL a terrorist organization.

Protester Ben Doernberg traveled with the group IfNotNow, a left-leaning Jewish group that opposes Israeli policy in the West Bank. Doernberg said members of the JDL accosted protesters and hit them over the head with wooden sticks. He also said JDL members were burning copies of the Quran and Palestinian flags.

"The reason we went down there was to say the status quo in the Jewish establishment is not taking moral leadership, and I end up getting hurt because there are these far-right Jewish extremists there," said Doernberg. He said a man wearing a JDL shirt approached him from behind and broke a wooden stick over his head.

In a Facebook post obtained by +972 Magazine, IfNotNow protester Shana Shawn Salzberg described her interactions with members of the JDL.

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"One of them took a pole smashed it on a tall person’s forehead, which started bleeding. I was shoved hard with a closed fist and a pole in such a way that my head ended up behind someone’s arm which ended up cutting off my wind pipe for a second," Salzberg wrote.

"These were Jews shoving and stabbing other Jews in the name of Jewish protection."

Nayfeh's daughter, Danya, provided a statement to the Institute for Middle East Understanding after the incident, according to +972.

"They beat him after they heard he was Palestinian. He was not threatening at all, it’s perfectly clear that my father was brutalized simply because of who he is," she said. Danya also described her father's injuries as "awful," and demanded local police take action against the alleged JDL attackers.

According to AIPAC's website, its mission is to "strengthen, protect, and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel." The annual AIPAC conference draws protests each year, notes The Washington Post.

WARNING: The video shows graphic violence.

Sources: The Washington Post, +972 Magazine, AIPAC / Photo credit: Paul O'Rear/Flickr

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