Driver charged after allegedly hitting pro-Palestinian protester with car

Driver charged after allegedly hitting pro-Palestinian protester with car
Driver charged after allegedly hitting pro-Palestinian protester with car

A group of protesters who gathered on Tuesday to demand that Columbia University divest from Israel said a man intentionally drove his car into their group, sending one person to the hospital.

According to USA Today, a group of about 25 protesters protested outside the Upper East Side home of a member of the university’s board of trustees on Tuesday morning.

Police told the news agency that an argument broke out between protesters and a driver. As protesters tried to leave the area, the driver drove into the crowd, hitting one person. Three people, including the driver and the injured protester, were arrested, police said.

A New York Police Department spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast that the driver was Reuven Kahane, 57. Maryellen Novak, 55, who was hit by the car, was also arrested, as was another protester, 63-year-old John Rozendaal.

Columbia cancels university-wide graduation ceremony due to Gaza protests

A press release from Columbia University’s Apartheid Divest student organization claims that Kahane grabbed the protesters’ arms as they tried to give him a flyer and then parked across the street from the group of protesters.

As they began to disperse, the group claims, Kahane circled the block before speeding into the group of students, hitting a de-escalator driver who was attempting to stop the car speeding forward. After hitting the first student, another got in front of the vehicle and forced it to stop.

The student who was hit was also arrested but taken to the hospital, where he was “handcuffed to the bed.” The NYPD told The Daily Beast that Novak is still in the hospital, where he is being treated for minor injuries.

Kahane was charged with second-degree assault, the NYPD spokesman said. Novak was charged with criminal damage and unlawful assembly, while Rozendaal was charged with criminal damage.

Last week, Columbia University sent hundreds of police officers onto campus to violently disperse protesters occupying Hamilton Hall and protesting for divestment on the campus lawn. That same week, a mob of pro-Israel protesters stormed a camp of pro-Palestinian protesters at UCLA, attempted to tear down their barricade, and threw bottles and fireworks into the camp.

On Monday, Hamas accepted a ceasefire proposed by Egypt and Qatar that would have ended Israel’s violent military campaign in Gaza, which, according to the Associated Press, has killed more than 34,700 people. Israel backed away from the agreement and then occupied the Rafah border crossing, which is important for Gaza.

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