Archive: July, 2012

CODEPINK protester victorious over AIPAC assailant

Medea Benjamin | Mondoweiss

Rae Abileah at AIPAC's annual conference, 2011. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

It is not every day that the voices for justice triumph over the actions of the rich and powerful, especially when it comes to the Israel-Palestine debate. That’s why it is so important to acknowledge and celebrate the settlement just negotiated by CODEPINK activist Rae Abileah and her lawyers after suing American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) volunteer lobbyist Stanley Shulster.

It all started on May 24, 2011, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington, DC speaking before a joint session of Congress. Abileah, a 29-year-old Jewish woman who has traveled to the West Bank, Israel and Gaza, was in the audience. She became more and more appalled as she listened to Netanyahu’s speech and watched our congresspeople giving him a stream of standing ovations. “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 Palestinian unity government,” said Abileah.

So Abileah did what most people would never have the courage to do. She got up and shouted: “No More Occupation! Stop Israeli War Crimes! Equal Rights for Palestinians!” And she unfurled a banner that read: “Occupying Land is Indefensible!”

She was immediately grabbed, violently pulled toward the floor, and gagged—not by the Capitol Police but by a member of the audience, Stanley Shulster, a retired attorney from Ashland, Oregon, who had traveled to Washington DC to attend the yearly conference of the Israel lobby group AIPAC. An online bio for Shulster revealed that he was an unpaid lobbyist, a volunteer in the Israeli Defense Forces, and a Navy veteran. In his bio Shulster bragged that he “grabbed the woman who heckled the Prime Minister while he was speaking.”

Abileah was rushed to the hospital, where she was treated for neck and shoulder injuries. She subsequently had to undergo months of physical therapy, chiropractic care and other treatments to heal from these injuries.

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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.

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