(JTA) — Criminal charges were filed against 11 members of a Muslim student organization who disrupted a speech at the University of California, Irvine, by Israel’s U.S. ambassador. During the Feb. 8, 2010 speech by Michael Oren, the 11 defendants stood one by one and shouted at the ambassador, calling him a “mass murderer” and a “war criminal” to protest Israeli actions in Gaza. Oren walked off the stage twice.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckus filed two misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to disturb a meeting and disturbance of the meeting last week againsty nine Irvine students and two from the University of California, Riverside. Arraignment is set for March 11 in Santa Ana, Calif.
Jewish Voice for Peace, a controversial Berkeley-based national organization that describes itself as a pro-peace, blasted the arrests and noted in a statement that Jewish groups have not been charged for similar disruptions.
The Zionist Organization of America praised the district attorney’s decision to bring the charges, which .carry sentences ranging from probation with community service or fines or up to six months in jail