Obama: “I Wouldn’t Feel Comfortable if I Didn’t Have at Least One Heckler”

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 21 2013 1:23 PM

Obama: “I Wouldn’t Feel Comfortable if I Didn’t Have at Least One Heckler”

Well, that may not have been the reaction the heckler was hoping for. He heckled, President Obama turned on the charm, and got a standing ovation.

Just as he was urging young Israelis to choose peace, a man standing to Obama’s left began yelling in Hebrew, according to the pool report, cited by the Hill. It seems the heckler was shouting about Jonathan Pollard, the American who is serving a life sentence for spying on the United States for Israel. Pollard, who was granted Israeli citizenship while in prison, has turned into a cause célèbre in Israel and among Jews in the United States, with many pro-Israel groups, and members of the government, calling for his release.

Advertisement

The president paused for a second, and then said, “This is part of the lively debate that we talked about.” The crowd loved it and went from booing the heckler to applauding until most of the audience had risen to their feet.

“I have to say, we actually arranged for that because it made me feel at home. I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I didn’t have at least one heckler,” Obama said.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.