Antony Blinken with hands painted like blood in the background

Demonstrators with CODEPINK raise 'bloody' hands as Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies about the fiscal year 2025 needs of the State Department at a joint Senate Foreign Relations and Appropriations Committee hearing. Washington, DC, May 21, 2024.

(Photo by Allison Bailey / Middle East Images / Middle East Images via AFP)

'Genocide Is Your Legacy!': Blinken Targeted by Protests at Senate Hearing

"You will be remembered as the butcher of Gaza!" one demonstrator, later arrested, screamed at the U.S. secretary of state. Others stood up to call the nation's top diplomat a "war criminal."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was targeted with protests and denunciations repeatedly during a Senate hearing on Tuesday as multiple disruptions resulted in arrests—some of them unnecessarily violent, said witnesses—by Capitol Police.

Organized by CodePink and American Muslims for Palestine, the protests at the joint Senate Foreign Relations and Appropriations committee hearing rebuked Blinken over policy in Gaza, where the U.S. has continued to back Israel's military assault despite the more than 35,000 people killed over the last seven months, most of them civilian men, women, and children who had nothing to do with the Hamas-led attack on October 7 of last year.

Among those victims invoked by name at Tuesday's hearing was 6-year-old Hind Rajab, a Palestinian girl killed in January by Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza when the car she was in with her family was shelled by tank fire. While Rajab survived the initial blast, she later died in the vehicle as the IDF fired on those who came to rescue her. Surrounded by her dead family members for hours and pleading for help over a phone to be rescued, she did not survive.

"Hind Rajab was 6 years old when Israeli soldiers killed her!" shouted Mohamad Habehh, with American Muslims for Palestine, at Blinken sitting before the committee. "You will be remembered as the butcher of Gaza!"

"You will be remembered for murdering innocent Palestinians!" Habehh continued as he was wrestled out of the room and into the hallway by security. "Genocide is your legacy! Genocide is your legacy!"

While some yelled and were removed for their disruptions, a large group sat or stood silently in the back of the hearing room with their arms raised, painted red to simulate blood-soaked hands.

Protesters target 'war criminal' Antony BlinkenPro-Palestinian demonstrators with their hands painted the color of blood hold a demonstration to call for a ceasefire in Gaza as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepares to testify before the Senate committee. (Photo by Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Olivia DiNucci, a CodePink activist who was arrested and, like Habeeh, later charged with resisting arrest, also disrupted the hearing as she called Blinken a "war criminal" who had the blood of "40,000 Palestinians on his hands."

In a statement, DiNucci explained how the U.S. government "has given billions to Israel, but our country urgently needs these funds for healthcare, housing, and addressing climate change." Blinken, President Joe Biden, and other elected leaders, she said "must end our complicity in this destruction and focus on building a just and equitable society at home."

During his testimony, Blinken said he disagreed with this week's decision by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, who on Monday submitted application for arrest warrants for Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" in Gaza.

'Arrest Blinken for War Crimes' says protesters signPolice escort a pro-Palestinian protestor holding a banner that reads 'Arrest Blinken for War Crimes' out of the room during U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's testimony on May 21, 2024. (Photo by Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Calling the move to obtain arrest warrants "totally wrongheaded," Blinken said during his testimony that it would only hamper efforts to free Israeli hostages taken by Hamas soldiers on October 7 and undermine negotiations to bring the assault on Gaza to an end. Blinken also indicated to lawmakers his willingness to help orchestrate some kind of sanctions against the ICC.

"We want to work with you on a bipartisan basis to find an appropriate response," said Blinken when asked about the potential for punitive measure against the ICC. "I'm committed to doing that."

Meanwhile, as Common Dreamsreported on Tuesday, international human rights in the wake of Khan's decision championed the move, with many echoing the standard that "no one is above the law."

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