Bar Ilan University's student union, on Sunday, canceled a scheduled lecture by animal rights activist and veganism guru Gary Yourofsky after news emerged of an altercation between him and an Israeli journalist.
According to Hebrew daily Ma'ariv, Yourofsky assaulted Ma'ariv reporter Herel Segal last week when he saw him wearing a leather jacket at a shoot for a documentary about the activist.
Segal recounted the incident in his column on Sunday, writing that Yourofsky charged at him from the moment he laid eyes on the jacket.
"Now, Gary Yourofsky's face is centimeters away from mine. I can see the hairs in his nose. He is taunting me to deliver the first punch after he wished that my wife and children would be raped because I am wearing a leather jacket. The man is a psychopath. He is looking for blood," wrote Segal.
"I am scared," Segal wrote. "The last thing I need is a brawl with a lunatic with blood in his eyes, who was banned entry into Britain and Canada because of violent activity."
Segal said that Yourofsky toppled him off his chair and punched his cameraman before onlookers separated them.
Following the incident, Segel filed a complaint at the police station.
"The student union cannot provide a stage for a violent man who assaulted a reporter. We cannot abide by statements of the sort he uttered about raping women and children. Therefor, despite our support of humane treatment of animals, we decided to cancel the lecture," read a statement by the union.
Yourofsky told Maariv in response: "I don’t understand what the fuss is about, it was just a loud argument between two people, which heated up."
Yourofsky, an American Jew, is no stranger to controversy. In a July interview to Ha'aretz he compared the slaughter of animals for food to the mass murder of Jews in the Holocaust.
“I agree that a lot of people make too many Holocaust comparisons. However, here’s why the comparison is valid. In America today – right now, as we speak − 30 million animals are killed by the meat, dairy and eggs industry. This is the longest running holocaust in the history of mankind. Billions of animals have been killed. By numbers, the Jewish Holocaust doesn’t even start to compare with the animals’ holocaust."
According to the website of the now defunct Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow (ADAPTT) he has been arrested 13 times and banned from entering five countries, including the UK and Canada.
At the same time, Yourofsky has a huge following, with nearly two million people having viewed his 70-minute long lecture on veganism on YouTube that has been translated to 27 languages.