Mike Huckabee Supports Right-Wing Settlers, Activists Attacked After Anti-Settlement Demonstration

18 August 2009

On Monday August 17th, Governor Mike Huckabee attended a dinner with right-wing Israeli officials at the Shepherds Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem. The Shepherd’s Hotel was an Arab-run hotel that was bought over by Jewish-American millionaire Irving Moskowitz in 1985. Since then, plans to build another Jewish settlement on the site of the hotel in the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah have been underway. Mike Huckabee was here supporting the settler movement, claiming that Israel had the right to build wherever they wanted in their own country, even when East Jerusalem is acknowledged internationally as the occupied capital of a future Palestinian state.

Peace Now, an Israeli organization fighting against settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, organized the demonstration outside of the Shepherd’s Hotel the night that Huckabee visited. Also present outside the hotel was a group of more than 30 fundamental settlers, countering the Peace Now protest.

Participants of the Peace Now protest held posters asking Huckabee to go home, claiming that for the Evangelist right in the United States, “heaven is perpetual war”. An interview with a Jewish Israeli expressed exactly the feeling of the crowd that night: “Governor Huckabee is welcome here if it is with the intention of working with the Israeli people towards a goal the majority agrees on: peace. He is not welcome if it is to support the extreme-right minority, who are deteriorating prospects of peace, for the sake of his own future candidacy for Presidency in the United States.”

Later that night a group of volunteers from Palestine Solidarity Project were attacked by a settler who was countering the Peace Now demonstration, claiming that she had a right to this land even if it meant killing Arabs. The settler then grabbed the video camera from the hands of a volunteer and hit the rest of them until the police showed up and forced her to leave. She was not arrested or reprimanded by the police.

After the protest, settlers showed up in front of the evicted Hanoun house in Sheikh Jarrah, where the evicted family and Israeli and international supporters have been sleeping on the street since the eviction. The settlers were screaming “death to Arabs” until one was arrested. Amongst the commotion caused by the settlers, a relative of the Hanoun family who has been sleeping with them on the street was also arrested, and released the following day.

Huckabee is now touring other settlements in the Occupied West Bank, including Kiryat Arba in al-Khalil (Hebron).