Parents of Activist Flee NYC Home
NEW YORK (AP) _ The parents of an American activist who visited a besieged Yasser Arafat in his West Bank headquarters have fled their Brooklyn home after receiving death threats, another son said Wednesday.
Adam Shapiro, 30, a member of a group in solidarity with Palestinians, has been denounced by some who compare him to John Walker Lindh, the American who fought for the Taliban.
His schoolteacher parents, Stuart and Doreen Shapiro, have left the state for an undisclosed location, son Noah Shapiro said. He said uniformed police officers were posted outside his home in Brooklyn.
He said his parents, who are Jewish, decided to leave after receiving threats by phone and e-mail. Callers told the Shapiros they were ``fake Jews″ and equivalent to terrorists, Noah Shapiro said. One caller ``said my family could go burn in hell and he’d like to take us there,″ he said.
Fliers also were put up asking people to call a telephone number to hear a recording that offered the Shapiros’ purported home address.
``We think Adam Shapiro is the John Walker Lindh of the Jewish community,″ said Ron Torosin, a spokesman for the Jewish youth group Betar. ``He’s a despicable, terrible individual who should be held accountable for his actions.″
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish group, said he called law enforcement officials on behalf of the Shapiro family. He called the threats against the Shapiros ``sinister and serious. We find it reprehensible to target anybody based on what they believe and what they stand for, whether or not we believe in their actions.″
Adam Shapiro, who says he does not follow any particular religion, made numerous TV appearances and was quoted in news accounts describing the siege by Israeli troops on Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah. The invasion followed a series of terrorist bombings, including one that killed 25 people at a Passover meal on the first night of the holiday.
Shapiro said he was trying to help evacuate wounded Palestinian guards when he was trapped inside the compound.
``I can’t express the shock and sorrow that I’m feeling that people would respond in this way, with such hatred,″ he said by telephone Wednesday.
Shapiro was trapped with Arafat for 24 hours, sharing breakfast with the Palestinian leader and about six aides Saturday morning. Israeli troops let Shapiro leave the compound that evening.
Shapiro is part of the Palestinian-led International Solidarity Movement that has appealed to foreigners to bring attention to conditions among Palestinians. He has been living in Ramallah for three years.