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Jewish Event at Florida Synagogue Disrupted by Antisemitic Demonstrators

A planned protest against famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz at Temple Emanu-El in Miami Beach turned violent over the weekend as video taken inside the synagogue shows one person assaulted and officers grappling others.

Dershowitz spoke Sunday at Temple Emanu-El, one of the city’s oldest synagogues, discussing the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the aftermath of the attack and how to go forward. He had spoken to the congregation last year and was invited back.

South Floridians who have opposed Israel’s counterattacks in Gaza called on people to protest Dershowitz’s talk. An email to the Herald calling for the protest said organizers were “Jews in South Florida who stand for justice and all those standing for a ceasefire and an end to Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people.”

Three people obtained tickets to the event. Each told the Herald they had planned to stand up and speak in opposition as Dershowitz talked. As planned, each person disrupted the event to varying degrees of force, according to the video.

Monica Uszerowicz, one of the trio, told the Herald she shouted at Dershowitz that “the response [of Israel] is unprecedented… and genocide is not a Jewish value.”

Immediately met with boos, she said police officers escorted her out and put her in handcuffs. She was released outside.

“I was actually pretty shocked to be handcuffed,” said Uszerowicz, 37, who lives in South Florida. “I’ve seen other folks disrupting public figures who are supporting and normalizing this genocide…and between being handcuffed and the violence [the other protester] faced, I’ve never seen that in a setting like this.”

Moments later, fellow protester Amanda Rose Fischer was physically retaliated against, the video showed. She was almost immediately grabbed from behind, Rose Fischer said, before a man pulled her by the neck and began hitting her.

A Miami Beach police officer then intervened and tackled her to the ground, the video showed. Like Uszerowicz, she was dragged out in handcuffs and released outside.

“As a Jewish person and the granddaughter of survivors, I feel it’s my obligation to stand up for other people who are undergoing this kind of terrorism and brutality,” Rose Fischer, 46, told the Herald. “I never threatened anybody. I tried to defend myself with my words by telling people not to put their hands on me. And I was hurt because of it.”

About three officers later pulled out the third protester who spoke. They, too, were cuffed and released. The trio joined other protesters outside the synagogue as the demonstration continued.

Dershowitz told the Miami Herald he had experienced such disruptions before. He said he tried to allow the trio to speak and ask questions.

“I always say that opponents of my view get first opportunities to ask me questions before those who support my views,” he said. “It was an attempt to disrupt me, not an attempt to debate me.”

Noting he could not hear what the protesters were saying, Dershowitz did see the fight break out.

“I said stop it; I don’t want anybody to fight. The folks have a tactic of trying to provoke people into fighting,” he told the Herald.

He emphasized that he admonished those who fought the protesters as they had a right to speak, but not to disrupt.

Temple Emanu-El, 1701 Washington Ave., did not respond to a request for comment from the Herald.

Rose Fischer said after being released that she had to “beg” several Miami Beach police officers to question and charge the man who attacked her inside the synagogue.

After the speaking event, officers pulled him aside and talked briefly before letting him go, she said. Officers told her that because the assault would be a misdemeanor charge, the officer’s hands were tied and to try the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, she said.

The state attorney’s office told her they would request the police report and ultimately decide on charges, but Rose Fischer is doubtful charges will come.

“I am nervous the police report is biased,” she said, adding that officers did not give her medical attention.

Miami Beach police officers did, however, inform all three protesters that they would be arrested if they returned to Temple Emanu-El, according to the trio.

Miaimi Beach police did not respond Tuesday to the Herald’s query about the incident.

Dershowitz said he could not comment on whether the event attendees involved in the fight need to face charges, though he did say the protesters shouldn’t. He felt protesters, at most, could get a warning from officers.

Rose Fischer said she would pursue other legal options.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article285990586.html