CODEPINK Protestor Assaulted in Congress Earns Apology, Compensation

Codepink: Women for Peace

For Immediate Release: Monday, July 30, 2012

AIPAC Volunteer Lobbyist, IDF Veteran Who Assaulted Young Jewish Peace Protestor in Congressional Gallery
Apologizes and Pays Compensation
Woman who disrupted Israeli Prime Minister was hospitalized for injuries, now satisfied by settlement

Washington, D.C.-Rae Abileah, a peaceful demonstrator from CODEPINK who was physically injured on May 24, 2011, in the U.S. House of Representative Gallery, while protesting during the speech of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, reached a settlement in a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with defendant Stanley Shulster. The settlement provided for compensatory damages, an apology, and a joint statement.

Mr. Shulster is a professed volunteer lobbyist for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, volunteer in the Israeli Defense Forces, and retired attorney. Ms. Abileah will donate a portion of the received funds to legal and medical aid for peaceful Palestinian protesters in the West Bank.

Joint Statement of Rae Abileah and Stanley Shulster:

We have reached an agreement in the lawsuit brought by Rae Abileah against Stanley Shulster. Our agreement resolves Ms. Abileah’s claim that Mr. Shulster assaulted her while she protested during a speech at the U.S. Capitol by Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and Mr. Shulster’s defense that he did not assault her.

Mr. Shulster apologizes for any physical or emotional harm caused by him to Ms. Abileah. He agrees that he should have let the Capitol Police handle the situation. Ms. Abileah accepts this apology.

Mr. Shulster respects the right of Ms. Abileah to hold a different view on the Israel-Palestine conflict and believes she holds this view in good faith.

Ms. Abileah respects Mr. Shulster’s right to hold a different view on the Israel-Palestine conflict and believes that he holds this view in good faith.

Each party recognizes the right, as Americans, to agree to disagree peacefully.

“The settlement of my case has led to accountability for the assault against me intended to silence me from expressing my opposition to Israel’s violence against the Palestinians,” said Rae Abileah, who is a Jewish-American of Israeli descent and is the co-director of CODEPINK.

“Today, the justice system worked to protect non-violent protestors and promote dialogue rather than violence,” said Lynne Bernabei, one of Ms. Abileah’s attorneys.

Incidents of violence toward advocates of human rights for Palestinians have been on the rise in recent years. In 2010, an AIPAC conference attendee elbowed a protester in the face as he walked into the D.C. Convention Center, and video footage of the 2011 AIPAC Annual Gala shows the assaultof a young woman who held a banner reading “Silencing Dissent Delegitimizes Israel”.

On November 14, 2010, members of the pro-Occupation group Stand With Us (SWU) entered a meeting of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and sprayed pepper spray into two JVP members’ eyes. “When our regular chapter meeting suddenly filled with furious, disruptive Jews, I wondered what about us bothered them so much,” Glen Hauer, a longtime JVP member, said. “We are only doing what our tradition teaches all Jews to do-seeking justice.”

Attacks on peaceful protesters in the West Bank by the Israeli Defense Forces and Israeli settlers have lead to severe injuries and death. Demonstrators in Palestinian villages such as Bil’in are frequently subjected to tear gas, rubber bullets, and arrest.

Ms. Abileah’s protest and subsequent assault was widely covered by news sources including CNN, ABC, NBC, San Francisco Chronicle, Yediot Ahronot, Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, and Aljazeera. Ms. Abileah is available for interview upon request.