Tag: Rae Abileah

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.

Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »

AIPAC Member Identified as Assailant of Rae Abileah

For Immediate Release

AIPAC MEMBER IDENTIFIED AS ASSAILANT OF PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATOR DURING PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU’S SPEECH TO THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS

A recent response to a subpoena from the United States Capitol Police has revealed the main assailant of a peaceful demonstrator who was physically attacked and injured on May 24, 2011, to be Stanley Anthony Shulster, allegedly a member of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). According to the lawsuit, Mr. Shulster, a retired lawyer, admitted to assaulting Rae Abileah, a member of CODEPINK, in the House of Representatives while she protested the Israeli occupation of Palestine during the speech by Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel. The Capitol Police issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Shulster for this attack.

Mr. Shulster’s biography on the Jackson County, Oregon Republican Women website identifies him as “an Unpaid Lobbyist,” and a “Volunteer in the Israel Defense Forces Medical Unit and a member of AIPAC.” The bio states: “At the last AIPAC meeting in May of 2011 Stan was present to hear the stirring address that Prime Minister Netanyahu gave to Congress and he grabbed the woman who heckled the Prime Minister while he was speaking.” (http://jcrw.us/node/362)

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach also attested to the assault when he wrote in his blog, “The elderly gentleman to my right, whom I had been talking to just before the speech started, pulled the flag out of her hands, cupped his hands over her mouth, and assisted in subduing her.” (http://j.mp/wUcCke) Additional witnesses have been identified by the U.S. Capitol Police.

Continue reading »

Rae Abileah Invites You to Occupy AIPAC!

YouTube Preview Image

CODEPINK Organizer Files Suit Against Attackers

Rae Abileah, a peaceful demonstrator who was physically attacked and injured on May 24, 2011, while protesting the occupation and oppression of Palestinians during the speech of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, filed a civil action in District of Columbia Superior Court today against the unknown individuals who attacked her in the House Gallery, and caused her serious physical injury.

Ms. Abileah is a 28 year old American Jew of Israeli descent, who works as the Middle East Campaigns Coordinator for CODEPINK, a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice organization that seeks to end U.S. wars and the U.S. funded occupation of Palestine. After a security check by the Capitol Police, she was given a seat in the House Gallery, as were other individuals who were given passes by members of Congress for the May 24, 2011 session. About 10 minutes after Mr. Netanyahu began speaking, Ms. Abileah stood up from her seat in the Gallery and opened a banner that read “Occupying Land is Indefensible,” and shouted, “No more occupation. Stop Israeli war crimes! Equal rights for Palestinians! Occupying land is indefensible!”

Four to five other persons sitting in the House Gallery began to attack her, including one man who used his hand to attempt to gag and suffocate Ms. Abileah, and then violently yanked her head back, injuring her neck. As a result of the attack, Ms. Abileah suffered severe emotional trauma and sustained a neck strain, swollen neck and muscle strain, and has since suffered from frequent headaches.

Continue reading »

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!

Continue reading »

Jewish Protester Disrupts Netanyahu During Congressional Address

Rae Abileah protesting in Congress

Rae Abileah protesting in Congress

Rae Abileah, an organizer with CODEPINK, was injured yesterday after disrupting Prime Minister Netanyahu during his address to a joint session of Congress.

From the peace group CODEPINK, Rae is a 28 yr. old Jewish American of Israeli descent. She has traveled to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and witnessed firsthand the reality of occupation and oppression. “Prime Minister Netanyahu says that the 1967 borders are indefensible. But what is really indefensible is the occupation of land, the starvation of Gaza, the jailing of dissenters and the lack of equal rights in the alleged Israeli democracy. As a Jew and an American taxpayer, I can’t be silent when these crimes are being committed in my name and with my tax money.”

Ms. Abileah grew up on Half Moon Bay and presently lives in San Francisco. She was arrested and charged with disrupting Congress.

This protest is part of the week-long series of actions, organized by CODEPINK as part of a coalition of groups gathered in Washington D.C. for a campaign named Move Over AIPAC. During Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC yesterday, 5 individuals interrupted Netanyahu and were removed from the building.

YouTube Preview Image

See more videos and news:
MondoWeiss | Why did I disrupt?
Al Jazeera | Interview with Rae Abileah
CNN | Why Rae Abileah says she disrupted Benjamin Netanyahu’s Tuesday address to Congress
YNet News | ‘AIPAC activists beat me’
Jerusalem Post | Netanyahu heckler arrested after being hospitalized
San Francisco Chronicle | SF Code Pinker interrupts Netanyahu before Congress
CNN | Heckler interrupts Israeli PM Netanyahu
ABC News | Benjamin Netanyahu heckled in Congress
Ha’aretz | Heckler yells ‘stop Israeli war crimes’ during Netanyahu’s speech to Congress

Protester Disrupting Netanyahu in Congress Arrested at Hospital

See press release and videos: http://bit.ly/lUU82f
Photo available for use: http://bit.ly/jBbsdp

Police arrested CODEPINK peace activist Rae Abileah at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington DC. Abileah was taken to the hospital after having been assaulted and tackled to the ground by AIPAC members of the audience in the House Gallery during Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Abileah 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.

Continue reading »