Emily Henochowicz, the 21-year-old who lost an eye while protesting in northern Jerusalem two weeks ago, was holding a Turkish flag during the protest – before the full extent of the Turkish provocation and Turkish-IHH-terrorist involvement was learned.
Henochowicz, a visual arts student from Maryland who holds joint Israeli-U.S. citizenship by virtue of her Israeli father, arrived in Israeli earlier this year to study at the Bezalel Academy of the Arts in Jerusalem. She lost her eye on May 31 while taking part in an Arab protest against Israel’s take-over of a Turkish Gaza-bound ship that had occurred just a few hours earlier. A Border Guard tear canister, fired to disperse the protest which had begun to become violent, including rock-throwings, hit her in the eye. Henochowicz herself said she did not take part in any violence.
Henochowicz grew up with a natural affinity for Israel, and her family is a member of Congregation Har Shalom in Potomac, a progressive Conservative Jewish congregation. After a short time in Israel, however, she began to have doubts about some of Israel of Israel’s policies. “When there was a bombing in Gaza a year and a half ago,” she told the Washington Post after her injury, “I was really shocked, because I really didn’t think Israel would do something like that.”
She was apparently referring to an incident during Operation Cast Lead, when Israel finally responded militarily to years of Kassam rockets fired at its citizens by Hamas terrorists who found shelter in residential areas. The Post reporter did not ask her how she thought Israel should have responded to the rockets.
A YouTube video filmed by a Russian television channel shows Emily walking with a Turkish flag at the demonstration, in apparent solidarity with the Turkish deaths on the ship. The protest was held in light of initial reports speaking of up to 20 dead, before the wide publication of news of the radical Islamist-Turkish “takeover” of the humanitarian aspects of the flotilla, or of the Turkish involvement in the weapons that were found to be on board the boat.
Similarly, she was unlikely to have seen the videos showing the barely-armed Israeli soldiers rappelling unsuspectingly down into the hands of a waiting lynch mob, which were screened widely around the world only after the protest in which she took part.
Emily was treated for several days in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, and then returned to the U.S. Represented by Attorney Michael Sfard – known for representing left-wing and Arab organizations, and a former soldier who was jailed for refusing to serve in Hevron – she has filed a complaint demanding a criminal investigation of the incident.
The United States has asked Israel to investigate the incident, and Israel has said it would comply. An initial investigation showed that the tear gas canister was, in accordance with regulations, not fired directly at anyone, but rather richocheted off a wall onto the demonstrators.
The Washington Post reported that the Henochowicz family has granted few interviews, saying it hopes to avoid promoting hostility toward the Jewish state.