Free Palestine

Screenshot from a video taken of the disruption May 19 at the FIDF Gala – See the full video here

By Michael Jacobs | mjacobs@atljewishtimes.com

A crowd of about 500 supporters of the Israel Defense Forces got an unwelcome surprise during the Friends of the IDF Southeast Region gala Tuesday, May 19.

Two women jumped up while Chairman Garry Sobel was speaking late in the gala and chanted “Free, free Palestine,” followed by a song about freedom. The women wore shirts highlighting Gaza casualty figures from last year’s Operation Protective Edge.

The disruption lasted about 30 seconds before the two women, Caitlin Green and Asia Parks, and their partner in the stunt, Rise Up Georgia’s Jim Chambers, were hustled out of the Georgia Aquarium ballroom by a combination of security and gala guests.

FIDF raised more than $500,000 with the night’s tribute to the women of the IDF. FIDF officials declined to comment on the disruption.

Chambers made a cellphone video of the brief protest and shared it on Facebook and Twitter. Also making the social media rounds was a clip shot outside the aquarium of an Atlanta police officer seeking identification from the women.

Chambers, a grandson of Cox Enterprises matriarch Ann Cox Chambers, paid $604 for four tickets to the gala: three under-35 tickets for himself, Green and Parks, plus a full-price ticket for Palestinian activist Hasan Jubran, who was not there. denied entry. Chambers said he planned to offset the FIDF contribution by giving $1,200 to an unspecified Gaza relief organization.

“Creating a disruption in an environment where it would not remotely be expected, and at a moment when a speaker touting the glory of the Gaza war heroes could be interrupted,” was worth the expense, Chambers said.

Protesters from Jewish Voice for Peace and other groups spent nothing to operate outside the aquarium, where they greeted arriving guests with the same calls to “free Palestine.”

Correction: This article originally said that Palestinian activist Hasan Jubran was denied entry; that information came from Jim Chambers. FIDF denies that security barred Jubran from entering the gala; instead, he simply did not show up.