Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Voice They Could Not Silence

Why Rae Abileah says she disrupted Benjamin Netanyahu's Tuesday address to Congress
TEN MEN AROUND HER, AND NOT ONE MENSCH. Peace activist Rae Abileah needed hospital treatment after raising her voice against Netanyahu in Washington DC. Five other protesters were also injured.

IT wasn't all standing ovations for Binyamin Netanyahu in Washington, though with almost thirty of these the supposed representatives of the American people gave a performance that said more for their physical agility than their political sense or morality.

Here is America's Democracy Now radio station commenting:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech was warmly received by Democrats and Republicans in Congress on Tuesday. According to ABC News, he received 29 standing ovations during his address—four more than President Obama received during his State of the Union address earlier in the year. However, there was at least one dissenting voice inside the halls of Congress on Tuesday. Rae Abileah, a Jewish-American activist of Israeli descent with the peace group CodePink, disrupted Netanyahu’s speech. Standing in the congressional gallery, she yelled, “No more occupation! Stop Israel war crimes! Equal rights for Palestinians! Occupation is indefensible!” As she screamed, members in the audience tackled her to the ground, and undercover security forces later dragged her outside. She was taken to George Washington University Hospital where she was treated for neck and shoulder injuries. At the hospital, police arrested Abileah and charged her with disorderly conduct for disrupting Congress.

“Netanyahu is the Main Obstacle to Peace”: CodePink Activist Disrupts Israeli PM Speech to Congress

The campaigning group Jewish Voice for Peace has condemned the violent way Rae Abileah was treated, though if anything JVP was less shocked over this behaviour than over the enthusiasm with which congress applauded Netanyahu.

Five of the Jewish peace campaign's members were attacked the night before when they protested at a meeting of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee(AIPAC), Israel's main lobbying organisation in Washington, reports JVP deputy director Cecilie Surasky.

Declaring it "unbelievable" that US politicians greeted the Israeli premier's speech so warmly, Cecilie Surasky says: "To put it simply, Netanyahu proved yet again that he prefers settlement expansion and Jewish domination of Palestinians to any kind of true peace agreement that would benefit both peoples. He claimed that Israel isn’t occupying anyone—ignoring nearly 44 years of increasingly brutal Israeli control over the lives of millions of Palestinians".

Going through some of Netanyahu's assertions and answering them, the JVP leader urges fellow-Americans to protest to their political representatives over what happened, and says people outside America should write to President Obama about it.

Calling for an end to America's $3 billion annual military aid to Israel,Rae Abileah is a member of both the women's group Codepink, and Young, Jewish and Proud, formed by young JVP supporters. Interviewed from hospital on al Jazeera she said some of the people who attacked her were not Congress security, but visitors, members of AIPAC.

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And for more pictures of the incident, see:

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