On 15 October 2009, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert came to give the annual King Abdullah II Leadership Lecture at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. Outraged that a man accused of war crimes in Palestine and Lebanon that killed more than 3,000 persons during his term of office, would be so honored, community members confronted Olmert inside the lecture hall effectively preventing him from delivering his speech as planned.
Recording and photography were officially banned at Olmert’s request, but The Electronic Intifada had a camera anyway as protester after protester rose to make a statement before police forced them to leave. Within three days, EI’s exclusive video report of this event, posted on YouTube, had 100,000 views and had been reposted or cited as a source by news organizations all over the world.
Al-Jazeera, seen in tens of millions of Arabic-speaking households all over the world, used a clip of EI’s exclusive footage in its report on the protests. The event was widely covered in Israel as well with Israel’s leading news websites including Haaretz and Yediot Ahronot carrying the video and reports on their Hebrew and English websites. Israel’s Channel 2 television and Israel Army Radio also carried reports, citing EI as the source.
Here is a selection of some of the main coverage in English, Arabic and Hebrew:
- “Protesters hijack Olmert speech as UN body endorses war crimes report,” The Raw Story, 17 October 2009
- “Olmert invite sparks outrage at US university,” Maan News, 16 October 2009
- “Olmert protested at University of Chicago,” JTA, 18 October 2009
- “Students interrupt Olmert in Chicago,” Al-Jazeera (Arabic), 16 October 2009
- “University of Chicago students receive Olmert with protests and shoes,” CNN Arabic, 18 October 2009
- “US students call Olmert war criminal,” The Jerusalem Post, 17 October 2009
- “Students in the United States shout ‘war criminal’ at Olmert,” Ynet (Hebrew), 17 October 2009
- “WATCH: ‘War criminal’ cat-calls interrupt Olmert Chicago speech,” Haaretz, 18 October 2009
- “Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke; demonstrators shouted ‘war criminal’,” Haaretz (Hebrew), 17 October 2009
- “Cries at Olmert in Chicago: ‘war criminal’,” Galei Tzahal (Israel Army Radio - Hebrew), 18 October 2009
- “Olmert faces furious attack during lecture in Chicago,” Israel Channel 2 (Hebrew), 18 October 2009
“Olmert faces rude welcome in Chicago,” Ynet, 17 October 2009