A retired U.S. Army colonel confronted Palestinians and their supporters during a “teach in” Wednesday at Congressman Daniel Webster’s office in The Villages.
The group had objected to Webster’s commentary published in Villages-News.com in which he set forth the reasons he co-sponsored a resolution supporting Israel. Webster wrote that Israel’s military actions were justified given the rocket attacks by the Palestinian group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
Tahrir Filastin, who is 17 years old, handled the confrontation with the highly decorated combat veteran, identified only as Col. Henry, with respect, even when the colonel swore and made threats. Filastin explained that he was taking issue with the “one-sided” opinion piece authored by Congressman Webster, who has an office at the Sumter County Annex at County Road 466 and Morse Boulevard.
Filastin explained that Zionism, the movement to reinstate Israel, gained momentum after World War I. Prior to 1948 the Palestinian and Jewish people lived in harmony with each other, Filastin said.
“We have nothing against Judaism and those who practice it. The issue lies with the Zionist right-wing settler colonial government of Israel, that focuses on the destruction of Palestine for the advancement of the state of Israel,” he said.
He also argued that “Palestinians face humiliation everyday” and are treated as subhuman.
“This Israeli state does not act alone, it has the support of the United States” Filastin said.
At that point, the colonel began to use threatening language.
One of the ladies in the audience suggested that law enforcement should be called. Henry did an about face, retreated to his car and left the area.