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Netanyahu’s Speech Disrupted, Activist Hospitalized
WASHINGTON - May 25 - Rae Abileah, a Jewish-American activist of Israeli descent with the peace group CodePink, disrupted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s congressional address yesterday, Democracy Now! reports. Standing in the gallery, Abileah unfurled a banner reading “Occupying Land Is Indefensible” before shouting, “No more occupation, stop Israel war crimes, equal rights for Palestinians, occupation is indefensible.” Seconds earlier, Netanyahu talked about the youth around the world rising up for democratic principles.
According to Democracy Now!, as Abileah rose up, members of the audience tackled her to the ground and people in the hall cheered, drowning her out. She was escorted out of the chamber by security forces and taken to George Washington University Hospital where she was treated for neck and shoulder injuries. While at the hospital, police arrested and charged Abileah with disorderly conduct for disrupting Congress.
RAE ABILEA, codepink.rae at gmail.com,
MEDEA BENJAMIN, medea at codepink.org
In addition to her work with CodePink, Abiela works with Move Over AIPAC [American-Israel Public Affairs Committee], which held a conference this weekend in Washington, D.C. coinciding with AIPAC’s own annual convention. On her disruption of Congress, Abilea said this morning: “I spoke the truth about what’s going on in Israel. The war crimes and occupation, oppression and inequality that Palestinians are suffering from must end and it was absolutely despicable to see our Congress pandering to Netanyahu.”
She added: “And after I spoke out, Netanyahu said: ‘This is what’s possible in a democracy. And you wouldn’t be able to get away with this in other countries…’ And I think that is ridiculous and absurd. If this is what democracy looks like, that when you speak out for freedom and justice, you get tackled to the ground, you get physically violated and assaulted, and then you get hauled off to jail, that’s not the kind of democracy that I think I want to live in.”
Benjamin is a co-founder of CodePink and an organizer with Move Over AIPAC.