Activist confronts Netanyahu at Washington conference

CODEPINK activist Midge Potts

The following press release was issued by CODEPINK on 9 November 2009:

At the Annual Conference of the United Jewish Federations in Washington, DC, during the plenary session by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, CODEPINK peace activist Midge Potts stood up with a banner that said “End the Siege of Gaza” and shouted “Stop the blockade of Gaza, Shame on you, Netanyahu.” She was dragged out of the meeting by security guards.

“When I heard that Netanyahu was speaking in Washington, DC, I felt compelled to do something,” said Potts, a Navy veteran, resident of Springfield, Missouri and candidate for US Senate. “Netanyahu’s Washington visit comes just after our Congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution rejecting the Goldstone report, a UN report that aimed to hold Israel accountable for its actions during the 22-day invasion of Gaza that left over 1,400 dead. As an American whose government is giving free rein to Israel’s war crimes and is paying — through our taxes — for the bombs and bullets that are killing Palestinians, I had to stand up. I hope my symbolic action will show the people of Palestine that there are many Americans who believe in human rights for all and are determined to change our government’s policy to reflect these values.”

During his talk, PM Netanyahu lauded the Israeli army, saying it was “as moral as any army on earth” and thanked both President Obama and the US Congress for rejecting the Goldstone report. “It is appalling to us, as peace activists, that Israel committed such atrocities against the people of Gaza and that the US Government is trying to cover up those crimes. As defenders of human rights, we must stand up and demand accountability.”

As part of CODEPINK’s commitment to human rights, it is working with a broad coalition to organize, in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, a massive march on 31 December from inside Gaza to the Israeli border. The March calls on Israel to lift the inhumane siege that is keeping 1.5 million people imprisoned. Already, participants have signed up from 32 countries. They include writers (American Alice Walker), actors (Syrian Duraid Lahham), members of Parliament (from France to the Philippines), diplomats (from Japan to the Netherlands), as well as doctors, lawyers, professors and students.