Protestor who disrupted Netanyahu in Congress attacked, hospitalized, arrested

Rae Abileah a CODEPINK activist who disrupted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech in the United States Congress this morning was physically attacked, hospitalized and then arrested from hospital according to reports.

According to CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin:

Rae Abileah is in the hospital, after having been assaulted and tackled to the ground by members of the audience in the House Gallery during Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. Abileah, who is with the group CODEPINK: Women for Peace, interrupted Netanyahu with a banner that said “Occupying Land Is Indefensible” and shouting, “No more occupation, stop Israel war crimes, equal rights for Palestinians, occupation is indefensible.” She rose up to speak out just after the Prime Minister talked about the youth around the world rising up for more democracy. As this 28-year-old Jewish American woman spoke out for the human rights of Palestinians, other members of the audience—wearing badges from the conference of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee—brutally attacked her. The police then dragged her out of the Gallery and took her to the George Washington University Hospital, where she is being treating for neck and shoulder injuries.

“I am in great pain, but this is nothing compared to the pain and suffering that Palestinians go through on a regular basis,” said Abileah from her hospital bed. “I have been to Gaza and the West Bank, I have seen Palestinians homes bombed and bulldozed, I have talked to mothers whose children have been killed during the invasion of Gaza, I have seen the Jewish-only roads leading to ever-expanding settlements in the West Bank. This kind of colonial occupation cannot continue. As a Jew and a U.S. citizen, I feel obligated to rise up and speak out against stop these crimes being committed in my name and with my tax dollars.”

Abileah stands in solidarity with the Palestinian and Israeli activists who are routinely jailed and beaten for speaking out for democracy.

These actions were part of a week of protests called Move Over AIPAC.

In a subsequent update on the Move Over AIPAC website, it was reported that Abileah was arrested from George Washington University hospital.

Abileah was charged with disorderly conduct and disrupting Congress, as she told Democracy Now on 25 May video and transcript.

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Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.