Violent ‘Hagee-ite’ Assaults AFP Editor
Longtime AMERICAN FREE PRESS copy editor John Tiffany was physically attacked by a supporter of Christian Zionist leader John Hagee outside the Washington, D.C. Convention Center late on the afternoon of July 21.
Tiffany, along with other staffers of AFP and supporters, was peacefully protesting Hagee’s appearance at the convention center. Also in attendance to support Hagee were several pro-Israel U.S. congressmen.
Tiffany was not the only person attacked by the Hagee follower. Also violently attacked was Medea Benjamin, the leader of Code Pink, an anti-war, pro-peace organization that has been critical of Israel’s behavior in the West Bank and Gaza.
Although a police officer was present and witnessed the incidents, he refused to honor Ms. Benjamin’s request that the Hagee supporter, who had fled into the convention center, be arrested. A further effort to contact the D.C. police by Ms. Benjamin resulted in the arrival of another police officer, but as this article was being prepared for this issue there still was no indication that the criminal had been taken into custody.
Michael Collins Piper (who witnessed the assault on Tiffany) noted: “The assailant’s name, based on his name tag, appeared to be Harold Lightstone and it appeared that he was from the state of New Jersey. The assailant was an older man, considerably taller and heavier than Ms. Benjamin, who is a slight, slender woman. The assailant used a heavy carrying bag—possibly laden with weights—which he wielded as a weapon, swinging it at Mr. Tiffany repeatedly, shouting angrily and loudly as he did so.
Mr. Tiffany did not strike back; rather, he attempted to make his way away from the attacker who continued his assault until surrounded by others who were seeking to stop him.”
“Although I did not see the attack on Ms. Benjamin,” said Piper, “Ms. Benjamin herself indicated that she had been attacked by this man, and others subsequently confirmed that to me.”
Had Ms. Benjamin or anyone from AFP engaged in any physical violence against Mr. Hagee’s supporters, one can rest assured that they would now be in custody facing criminal charges.
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(Issue # 31, August 2, 2010)