Rae Abileah: Why Did I Disrupt?

Rae Abileah protesting in Congress

Rae Abileah protesting in Congress

Do you know that our Congress gave 29 standing ovations to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he spoke on Tuesday? I couldn’t watch this hero’s welcome for a man who supports the continued building of illegal settlements, won’t lift the siege of Gaza and refuses to negotiate with the new Palestinian unity government. During the talk, I got up from my seat in the Capital Gallery and shouted, “No More Occupation! Stop Israeli War Crimes! Equal Rights for Palestinians!”

I was tackled, gagged, tossed to the floor and ended up in the hospital. You can read more about my experience here. The outpouring of support I have been receiving from all over the world has been astounding. A woman in Iraq said she was moved to tears seeing a Jewish-American speaking out. A man in Gaza wished me a speedy recovery and quoted the civil rights song “We Shall Overcome.” I even got a message of gratitude from Brad Pitt!

We have also had a great response to the protests, summit and other creative actions we organized this weekend opposing AIPAC, the powerful Israel lobby that has a stranglehold on Congress. People are thrilled to see Americans standing up to our government’s unconditional support for the crimes Israel commits with our tax dollars and we have received hundreds of emails and calls from people in all corners of the world.

In a few weeks, a courageous group of internationals, including many Americans, will have another chance to stand up for justice. The Gaza Freedom Flotilla will set sail from Europe in June with the goal of reaching Gaza, breaking through Israel’s inhumane siege. Last year, the Israeli military violently intercepted the flotilla in international waters, killing nine activists. This year, let’s do everything we can to ensure that the flotilla is not met with violence. Please send the members of the flotilla your support.

You can also write a letter to the folks in Gaza who are living under siege. The “Audacity of Hope,” which is the name of the U.S. boat on the flotilla, will deliver your letters when they set sail next month. Send your written letters to: LETTERS TO GAZA, 2010 Linden Ave, Venice, CA 90291 or email to kristencodepink@gmail.com.

Being a part of Move Over AIPAC this weekend was an incredible experience. Check out our photos and videos. We heard from excellent speakers at our summit; we coordinated a flashmob (that’s been seen by over 36,000 people); we created a people-powered flotilla; we had a dialogue booth, a mock-settlement expansion, and a street theater-style checkpoint. The creativity and dedication of this movement inspires me to believe that justice will prevail, and is within our reach, if we all work together.

Onward ever for justice,
Rae Abileah
Grateful member of CODEPINK

PS Being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance is not a free service (though we should all have universal healthcare!). Can you make a donation to support my medical and legal bills?