Driver Charged After Allegedly Hitting Pro-Palestinian Protester With Car

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A group protesters who gathered on Tuesday to urge Columbia University to divest from Israel said a man intentionally drove his car into their group, hospitalizing one person.

A group of about 25 protesters picketed outside of the home one of the university’s Board of Trustees in the Upper East Side on Tuesday morning, according to USA Today.

Police told the outlet that an argument broke out between protesters and a driver, and that as the protesters attempted to leave the area, the driver drove at the crowd, hitting one person. Three people, including the driver and the injured protester, were arrested, police said.

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

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A press release from the Columbia University Apartheid Divest student organizing group alleged Kahane grabbed the protester’s arm when they tried to hand him a flier. He then moved to park across the street from the group of protesters.

As they began to disperse, the group alleged, Kahane circled the block before plowing into the group of students, striking one de-escalator, who attempted to stop the car as it surged forward. After it struck the first student, another moved in front of the vehicle, forcing it to stop.

The student who was struck was also arrested, but was transported to the hospital where they were “handcuffed to the bed.” The NYPD told The Daily Beast that Novak remains in the hospital where they are being treated for minor injuries.

Kahane has been charged with second degree assault, the NYPD spokesperson said. Novak was charged with criminal mischief and unlawful assembly, while Rozendaal was charged with criminal mischief.

Last week, Columbia University sent hundreds of police officers into campus to forcibly clear out protesters occupying Hamilton Hall and protesting for divestment on the campus lawns. The same week, a mob of pro-Israel protesters descended on an encampment of pro-Palestine protesters at UCLA, attempting to tear down their barricade, and throwing bottles and fireworks into the encampment.

On Monday, Hamas accepted a ceasefire deal proposed by Egypt and Qatar, which would have brought an end to Israel’s violent military campaign in Gaza, which has killed over 34,700 people according to the Associated Press. Israel balked at the deal, and proceeded to seize Gaza’s vital border crossing in Rafah.

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