Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Pro-Israel Students Attacked with a Machete

Two students at Carleton University (no relation to my alma mater) have reportedly been the victim of an attack, with the perpetrators targeting them because of the pro-Israel views. One of the students was an Israeli, the other was well-known on-campus for his pro-Israel views:
Nick Bergamini, 22, says he believes he and his roommate Mark Klibanov were targeted for their political and religious beliefs when they were confronted by a group of men outside a Gatineau bar early Monday morning.

"We were just walking, minding our business and they said ‘Zionists' and they went after us because of our political beliefs and his religion," Bergamini told CTV Ottawa on Tuesday.

During the confrontation, Bergamini was punched in the back of the head. As the pair walked along Promenade du Portage towards Ottawa, they were harassed by the same group again. This time the men were allegedly armed with a machete.

"The guy opened up the window and said, ‘I'm the one who hit you, you effing Jew,'" Bergamini recalled. "They got out and kind of charged at my roommate, backed off and I heard ‘open the trunk,' so I looked right at the trunk to see what was coming out and I saw a big machete."

The pair ran and managed to escape unharmed.

Other reports say that attackers threw the machete at the pair, transitioning this from assault to attempted murder. The Canadian Jewish community, for its part, sees this sort of attack as being directly correlated with increased demonization of Israel in certain academic communities:
Len Rudner, director of the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said being a Jew or Zionist in Canada should not prompt such an attack.

"Maybe we should consider the impact that words can have in accelerating the argument to the point where people feel that this kind of behaviour is acceptable," Rudner said.

"If you permit a constant invective and demonization of the Jewish state and people who support the Jewish state, some people will feel that this gives them the permission or responsibility to carry out this kind of attack."

Canadian police are investigating the incident.


Matt said...

jezis fuck!

Unfortunately, I can think of other examples, and I'm sure there are many more we've never heard of. It will be worth following this to see if it gets reported more than once.

N. Friedman said...

This sort of hatred - if not also the surrounding violence - is likely what is coming to the US, most especially with Obama's change of tone regarding Israel. I say this because it is what has been happening for quite a while in Europe. And, in Europe -and, most especially the UK -, it ties directly to the attitude about Israel that appears in newspapers, magazines and among elite opinion makers.

chingona said...

The attack is appalling - even without weapons, much less with the threat of a weapons.

But ... I'm going to go ahead and be that asshole. It would be pretty hard to kill someone by throwing a machete at them. I won't say it couldn't happen, but it would be a bit of freak thing.

Regardless, aggravated assault is bad enough.

PG said...


It would also be difficult to kill someone by shooting at him from such a great distance that you're unlikely to hit the target at all, much less get a fatal bullet in him. But still a deadly weapon, still a presumption of attempted murder.

chingona said...

So if I were to throw a baseball bat at someone, would that be attempted murder? Seriously asking, not snarking. Cause you could certainly beat someone to death with a baseball bat, while throwing one at someone is about as likely to kill them as throwing a machete at them.

David Schraub said...

Unlike a machete, throwing a baseball bat doesn't kill people in Rambo movies.

More seriously, I think the fact that the machete is a bladed weapon probably would be decisive.

chingona said...

Okay. Certainly, seeing someone heft a machete at you is more threatening because of the blade.

I'm undoubtedly influenced in this by thinking of and having used machetes as tools. Just as I don't think of a kitchen knife as a "weapon," though it can be used as one.

You can't really do that thing that knife-throwers do with daggers with machetes because of how they're weighted. You really need to be wielding it yourself to do anything with it. And then, yes, it obviously can be and has been a deadly weapon.

David Schraub said...

I think that the state of mind of someone chucking a machete at you at close range has to be with the knowledge that fatal injury could result (by more than freak chance). Also, the more I read this story, the less clear I am whether the machete was thrown or swung at the victims, which would make the whole debate moot.

Travis Hughes said...

No, machetes are excellent throwing weapons, and it would be easy to seriously maim someone with even a glancing blow.

Video of machete throwing demonstration: