Olmert Heckled at University of Chicago

Protesters made former Israeli prime minister's 20-minute speech last more than an hour.


Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert came to the University of Chicago on Thursday to deliver what was to be a 20-minute speech as part of the King Abdullah II Leadership Lecture Series, which is funded by the Jordanian leader. Instead, the speech took more than hour as protesters did their best to interrupt Olmert, the Chicago Maroon reports.

Olmert spoke about a two-state plan for peace in the Middle East, the Maroon reports, but his words were often disrupted by outbursts from the crowd. There were "dozens" of protesters inside the auditorium and more than 100 outside, the report says. Many belonged to University of Chicago student groups such as the Muslim Student Association and Students for Justice in Palestine. Some came from the University of Illinois-Chicago and Northwestern University.

One student scuffled with a police officer in street clothes, the report says. The Chicago Tribune reports that 25 students were removed from the lecture hall.

Attempting to shrug off the shouts and protests, Olmert told the crowd that he was used to heated exchanges and arguments. "I understand these emotions. There is the same rage from voices on the right in Israel," he said.

Olmert later added, "We have to make a choice of what we want. Do we want to fight these people forever, or do we want to make peace? If people shouted less, we could have done great things."

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