Why did I disrupt?

Israel/Palestine
on 46 Comments

Do you know that our Congress gave 29 standing ovations to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he spoke in the Capital on Tuesday, May 24? 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, when Netanyahu was praising young people rising up for democracy in the Middle East, and I took my cue to stand up from my seat in the Capitol Gallery, unfurl a banner, and shout, “No More Occupation! Stop Israeli War Crimes! Equal Rights for Palestinians!”
Immediately, I was tackled, gagged and violently shoved to the floor by other members of the audience, many of whom were still wearing their badges from the AIPAC conference this past weekend. Police dragged me out of the Capitol gallery, and an ambulance whisked me to the hospital, where I was treated for neck and shoulder injuries and put under arrest for disrupting Congress. After I disrupted, Netanyahu said to his Congressional audience, “You can’t have these protests in Tehran; this is real democracy.”

Is it? What kind of a democracy do we live in when free speech is met with brutality and arrest? In a real democracy, our representatives would be looking out for our best interests, not the interests of a foreign government, ie, Israel. I want my government to take an even-handed approach that respects the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians. But in our so-called democracy, special interest lobby groups like AIPAC have enormous power because of their ability to direct campaign contributions.

So we have a very skewed policy that ignores the rights of the Palestinians, allows repeated Israeli violations of international law, sullies the U.S. reputation internationally, and gives $3 billion a year of our tax dollars to the Israel military when we need this money here at home. Before we go preaching democracy abroad, we should make our own democracy more responsive to the public good, not the wishes of wealthy lobbyists.

 

On Monday night, May 23, five brave activists disrupted Netanyahu’s speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Gala and were also met with assaults. The young women who had spoken out were subjected not only to assault, but to sexual groping by male AIPAC attendees. But these activists felt compelled to speak out against Netanyahu’s claim that returning to the 1967 borders would be “indefensible,” when it is Israeli policies that are really indefensible: starving Gaza, occupying and stealing land, bulldozing homes, silencing dissent. (see videos here). The same day, at a press conference at the National Press Club about military aid to Israel and the dangerous role of the Israel Lobby, activist Allison Weir had her phone slugged out of her hand by an angry Zionist. This sounds eerily similar to the alleged democracy in Israel, where Palestinians and Israelis are routinely assaulted, arrested and jailed for speaking out against the Israeli occupation.

For the Palestinian people who live under Israel’s 44-year-old military occupation, violence dominates everyday life. Zinad Samouni of Gaza is a living testament to this oppressive reality. She lost 48 family members during Israel’s December 2008 bombardment of Gaza, and hers became yet another tragic story in a long history of home demolitions, land confiscation, and systematic violation of the Palestinians’ basic human rights. After the massacre of the Samouni family, Israeli soldiers left behind racist graffiti such as “Arabs need 2 die” and “1 is DOWN 999,999 TO GO.”

Young Jews like me hear stories like Samouni’s, and we see clearly that Israel’s actions do not embody our deepest Jewish and humanistic values, which have taught us to love our neighbors and work for justice. We read in the Torah (Leviticus 24:22), “You shall have one standard (mishpat ehad) for stranger and citizen alike. . .”  We also read in the Israeli equivalent of the Declaration of Independence, the Megillat ha-Atzmaut, that “[the State of Israel] will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex. . .”  This rich and long Jewish commitment to social justice and equality bears no relation to Zinad Samouni’s experience of living under a crippling blockade and losing her loved ones to a brutal military onslaught that made no distinction between civilians and combatants.

It was this schism that we sought to expose during disruptions of Netanyahu’s speeches at the AIPAC conference and in Congress. Some decried our actions as “rude”, and “inappropriate.” But after countless fruitless attempts to petition lawmakers through traditional channels, we felt the time was ripe for a nonviolent direct action that would speak truth to this head of state. Netanyahu is, after all, responsible for the violation of Palestinians’ lives and human rights.

My neck pain is a small price to pay compared with the sacrifices made by numerous Palestinian, Israeli, and international nonviolent protesters who’ve risked their bodies and lives to defend the basic human rights of the Palestinian people. For example, recently the Israeli army arrested brothers Bassem and Naji Tamimi, who have organized unarmed protests in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, and they are currently imprisoned without trial. Israel sent Palestinian Abdallah Abu Rahmah of Bil’in to prison for his role in organizing nonviolent protests against Israel’s illegal, land-confiscating wall. In March 2003, the Israeli Army bulldozed 23-year-old American Rachel Corrie to death when she attempted to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in Gaza. In March 2009, the army shot 38-year-old Tristan Anderson of Oakland, Calif., who was participating in a nonviolent anti-wall demonstration in the West Bank, with a high-velocity tear gas canister, causing a near-fatal head wound and brain injuries. These are only some of most egregious and visible examples of the daily violence faced by Palestinians and their supporters in their struggle to uphold human rights and international law.

What’s more, despite the growing nonviolent movement in the West Bank and Gaza, and the recent Palestinian Unity Agreement, in his speech to Congress, Netanyahu made it clear that the Palestinians have no partner for peace, and Congress would back his outrageous claims. In referring to the Occupied Palestinian Territory of the West Bank, he said, “And you have to understand this: In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers.” Someone should inform Mr. Netanyahu that his own Supreme Court has written that the West Bank is “held in belligerent occupation.”

The worst part of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress was not what he said, but the appalling spectacle of watching our elected officials who literally applauded this bald-faced lie about the West Bank and the other outrageous statements Netanyahu made. It occurred to me that right now when it comes to this issue our Congress is more an outpost of the Israeli Knesset than a representative body of the United States.

With Obama and our Congress pandering to Netanyahu and AIPAC, what hope do we have? AIPAC, while claiming to represent the interests of both the United States and Israel, is mobilizing fear, escalating hate, and controlling our elected officials through enormous campaign contributions.

President Obama, in his speech to AIPAC this past weekend, said, “You also see our commitment to Israel’s security in our steadfast opposition to any attempt to de-legitimize the State of Israel.” This reference to “delegitimization” is code for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), a Palestinian-initiated effort to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law. But the BDS movement is not delegitimizing Israel. Israeli policies, supported by AIPAC, that deprive Palestinians of basic human rights by stealing their land, demolishing their homes, stripping them of residency permits for Jerusalem, and that blockade and starve the entire population of the Gaza strip —  these are the things that delegitimize Israel.

The BDS Movement gives me hope about the future for Israelis and Palestinians. Our elected officials will not lead; they will not stand up to AIPAC, and they will not challenge these terrible Israeli government policies. So it is up to us to take the lead. By joining the BDS Movement, whether it is CODEPINK’s own Stolen Beauty campaign against occupation profiteer Ahava cosmetics, Jewish Voice for Peace’s TIAA-CREF Divestment Campaign, The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s many initiatives, or other campaigns that are happening in your community, you can take action to support human rights and a just peace for Palestinians.

It’s not every day that we have an opportunity to confront a war criminal like Netanyahu in person, but the boycott and divestment campaigns allows conscientious people to take a stand and to put our money where our values are — as was the case with the boycott of and divestment from businesses cooperating with apartheid South Africa, and the boycott of businesses in the Jim Crow South. Such campaigns provide an opportunity to those who profit from violence to turn aside, to nonviolently push for international law and accountability, and to follow the teachings of our faith. And I predict that these campaigns will continue to grow and rack up further victories, as long as entrenched injustices remain unaddressed.

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, 119 West 72nd Street #158, New York, New York 10023 or email to [email protected]

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 (see MoveOverAIPAC.org). During Move Over AIPAC, we heard from excellent speakers at our summit; we coordinated a flashmob (that’s been seen by over 30,000 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.

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.
My tradition teaches that, “Justice, justice you shall pursue,” (Deuteronomy 16:20) And I will keep continue pursuing justice, and justice will eventually prevail. Israelis and Palestinians will one day live together in true equality.
 

Rae Abileah is a national organizer with CODEPINK Women for Peace and a member of Jewish Voice for Peace. She lives in San Francisco, CA and can be reached at [email protected]

About Rae Abileah

Rae Abileah is a social change strategist and member of Jewish Voice for Peace who participated in the 21st Presbyterian General Assembly (http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2012/07/11/an-open-letter-to-presbyterian-clergy/). She is a Jewish-American of Israeli descent and lives in California. This month she traveled to Israel/Palestine to co-lead the 50th Interfaith Peace Builders delegation (http://ifpbd50.tumblr.com/). She can be reached at rae [at] raeabileah.com and @raeabileah.

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46 Responses

  1. Taxi
    May 26, 2011, 1:06 pm

    Sue the mother effers. Bang all your drums and tincans about it! Take it viral take it everywhere EXPOSE EXPOSE EXPOSE the bejeweled fascists!

    These zio outbreaks of mob-violence are getting way outta hand and worse and worse – it’s like the zios come to their events now rubbing their hands together at the thought that they get a chance to physically and violently assault protestors.

    This needs to be headlined in the msm! But it won’t!!

    So like what will it take for the media to stop their craven silence? Blood and teeth and bones on the floors of congress?

    • annie
      May 26, 2011, 1:18 pm

      i agree taxi. i learned how the public is educated thru litigation @ the litigating palestine conference @ hastings. get your foot in the door!

    • Potsherd2
      May 26, 2011, 1:54 pm

      Absolutely. The publicity of the lawsuit will be invaluable.

    • American
      May 26, 2011, 3:42 pm

      It’s not only mob violence.
      We all know about the bombings and violence of the JDL toward individuals.
      They go after everyone…lately as the USS Liberty suriviors have gotten more attention they have been threatened also.

      The Man With The Israeli Accent–USS LIBERTY Survivor’s Life Threatened
      “As surreal as it sounds this nevertheless is exactly what transpired on the evening of Friday, August 6, to Phillip F. Tourney, decorated war hero and survivor of Israel’s deliberate and pre-meditated attack upon his ship USS LIBERTY 43 years ago who was verbally threatened by a foreign national claiming to work for the government of Israel.”

      No stranger to threats, Tourney has been subjected over the years to a smorgasboard of such business resulting from his refusal to remain silent concerning the deliberate attack on his ship 43 years ago and the cover-up nursed along every day since. These threats have included middle-of-the-night phone calls where the names of his children and grandchildren have been read aloud, guns fired a mere few inches from the phone’s receiver, swastikas painted on his home and more.

      What makes this most recent threat more ominous in its nature (and indicating that the same interests responsible for murdering his shipmates 43 years ago are beginning to take Tourney’s “activism” these days more serious than before) is that this time it took place in a manner “up close and personal,” meaning in a face-to-face encounter in the lounge of a Holiday Inn located in Southern California.

      Vacationing the first week of August with Lisa, his wife of almost 30 years, as he sat in the lounge one Friday, August 6th evening, the seat to his immediate right was taken up by a well-dressed man speaking with an Israeli accent who wanted to strike up a conversation about–of all things–the USS LIBERTY. According to both Tourney and his wife, the man in question was in his mid-40’s, well-dressed and carried himself in a very “professional” way. Within seconds of the discussion’s beginning, the Israeli national referred to the LIBERTY as “that horse transport” (the lame excuse Israel has maintained these last 43 years in “mistaking” the USS LIBERTY for the El Quesir, an Egyptian horse ferry ¼ the size) thus conveying the message to Tourney that his new-found friend was indeed an official from the Israeli government. Tourney asked the man what he did, only to be told that he was a “doctor”. When Tourney challenged him to produce a business card, the “doctor” said he didn’t carry them, not bothering to disguise the slight smirk on his face underscoring the deliberate farcical nature of his response.

      Obviously trying to get Tourney unhinged (no doubt in the interests of creating a public scene that might eventually turn violent and leading to Tourney’s high-profile/media-intensive arrest) the Israeli then went on discussing the June 8, 1967 butchering of 34 Americans by the government of Israel in mocking, taunting tones.

      During the initial few moments of the verbal exchange, the man with the Israeli accent–wearing an outlandishly-over-sized watch–repeatedly put the watch menacingly and directly in Tourney’s face as if he–the Israeli–were a news reporter shoving a microphone in the face of a prospective interviewee. Tourney recognized immediately what was going on, indicated he knew he was being taped and told the man to get the watch out of his face. Again, it can be assumed the man with the Israeli accent was trying to provoke Tourney into some sort of physical action that could result in the police showing up and subsequent newspaper headlines damaging to the USS LIBERTY cause such as USS LIBERTY SURVIVOR ASSAULTS JEWISH DOCTOR IN HOTEL LOUNGE.

      Finally, unable to provoke Tourney into throwing that hoped-for first punch, from there the dialogue turned into something right out of an episode of the gangster mini-series The Sopranos. After telling Tourney that the men of the USS LIBERTY “got what they deserved that day”, the man with the Israeli accent admitted he was in fact not a doctor but rather an employee of the same people who murdered the men aboard the LIBERTY 43 years ago. Tourney asked the man what he did specifically, to which the response over and over was “many things“ and “I do whatever my government asks of me”.

      The Israeli national then went on to say that his bosses were “not happy” with some of Tourney’s recent “activities“. He mentioned specifically the radio programs Tourney has either hosted or appeared on in recent years as well as the book he recently co-authored along with independent journalist Mark Glenn entitled “What I Saw That Day…Israel’s 1967 Holocaust of American Servicemen Aboard the USS LIBERTY and Its Aftermath”. The man made clear the fact that his government–the government of Israel–planned on putting a stop to all of this sooner rather than later, adding that “We plan to pay a visit to your friend Mark Glenn soon as well”.

      At this point, Tourney, wanting to keep the man with the Israeli accent talking as much as possible, then asked how he planned upon silencing him. Was he (Tourney) going to be shot right there in the lounge in front of all present witnesses, and if not, when and where? The man with the Israeli accent merely maintained the same smirk on his face he had displayed before. Tourney then asked him when the next war was going to start, to which the foreign agent replied “Soon…My sources tell me between 30 and 60 days” and to which Tourney responded with another question “And what about me?”, to which the man with the Israeli accent responded “You are on the same list as the Iranians.”

      At this point, Tourney’s wife Lisa, hearing what was taking place a mere few feet off to her right and experiencing for the first time the kind of threats that her husband has endured for decades (but which he never shared with her) decided she had heard enough. She got up from her seat, went around her husband so she could stare eye to eye with her husband’s would-be murderer and let loose in the way any devoted wife would–She referred to the man with the Israeli accent as the devil and told him he had no right to do what he was doing, asking him who he thought he was threatening Americans in such a way.

      At this point, the elevated discussion was obviously attracting attention from the other patrons in the lounge and as if on cue, the man with the Israeli accent fawned surprise, shock and contrition, loudly protesting with apologies, all the more so as to make Tourney and his wife appear irrational, irascible and out of control and he the innocent victim. Shortly afterwards, hotel security showed up and the Tourneys left the lounge.

      Tourney’s first action upon arriving at his hotel room was to call the aforementioned co-author of his book Mark Glenn and relate to him what took place and make him aware of the fact that threats had been made against both of them personally by a foreign national claiming to work for the government of Israel.

      The following Monday, a visit to the FBI office in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho was made by Glenn where he met for close to an hour with a special agent and described in as much detail as he was capable of delivering the events of the prior Friday evening. According to Glenn, the agent doing the interview was courteous and professional but at an obvious disadvantage in terms of the nature of what had just taken place, as he seemed to have no working knowledge concerning the slaughter of Americans aboard the USS LIBERTY or even with violent Jewish groups tied to Israel’s Mossad operating in the U.S. such as the JDL or JDO, despite the fact that both organizations are categorized by both the US Justice Department and the US State Department as some of the most dangerous terrorist organizations operating on American soil.’

      • kalithea
        May 27, 2011, 12:52 am

        Wow! Scary stuff. JDL, isn’t that the organization started by that racist, Kahane?

      • Robert Werdine
        May 28, 2011, 9:06 am

        Yeah, scary stuff. And likely fabricated.

        The attack on the USS Liberty was a mistake. All of the evidence shows that. Why is that so hard to believe?

        What possible motive would the Israelis have for knowingly attacking a ship belonging to their strongest ally? It simply makes no sense.

        • Chaos4700
          May 28, 2011, 2:26 pm

          None of the evidence shows that. You are, quite literally, making shit up.

          Possible motive? Two words: Lavon affair. You going to deny that happened too?

        • Robert Werdine
          May 28, 2011, 4:28 pm

          Why did you even bother responding? you know the attack was an accident and there is not a shred of evidence that it was not.

          Tell me Chaos, why would the Israelis attack a ship of their strongest ally? what would they have to gain?

        • pjdude
          May 29, 2011, 6:25 pm

          right it was such a mistake they shot down the Liberty’s ensign twice.

          the point of flying an ensign is to idientify the countrythat the ship belongs too.

        • pjdude
          May 29, 2011, 6:26 pm

          us getting involved in the war on their behalf.

        • Robert Werdine
          May 30, 2011, 2:53 pm

          Please. If the point was to get us involved in the war, why then did the Israelis take responsibility for the attack immediately afterwards instead of blaming Egypt or Syria? Also, they were in the process of winning one of the most lopsided victories in the history of war. What did they need from us?

          Face it. The attack was an accident. There is simply no plausible motive for the Israelis to knowingly and deliberately attack a ship belonging to their strongest ally. None whatsoever.

        • annie
          May 30, 2011, 3:08 pm

          Face it. The attack was an accident.

          lol, had it lasted for 5 minutes that could be conceivable. no amount of attitude is winning this argument, not around here. you should take your hasbara myths (lies) to some other site.

        • Robert Werdine
          May 30, 2011, 4:34 pm

          “lol, had it lasted for 5 minutes that could be conceivable. no amount of attitude is winning this argument, not around here. you should take your hasbara myths (lies) to some other site.”

          Ah, that old stand-by: “hasbara.”

          Annie, the attack was an accident. That the attack lasted longer than five minutes does not prove otherwise.

          Here is what happened.

          On June 8, 1967, on the fourth day of the Six-Day War between Israel and the Arabs, the USS Liberty, an American intelligence gathering vessel, was strafed and bombed by Israeli Warplanes and then converged upon by torpedo boats in an obvious effort to sink her. After a brief exchange of fire and a torpedo that slammed into the Liberty’s starboard side, the Israeli vessels abruptly ceased attacking, and extended help and immediate medical attention to the Liberty’s crew. 34 Americans died and 171 were wounded in the attack. The Israelis, who said they had mistaken the Liberty for the Egyptian warship El Quseir, immediately apologized to the US for the attack, and assumed full responsibility. They would eventually pay some $12 million in compensation to the victims and their families, to survivors, and to the US government.

          A slew of American and Israeli inquiries, including a 1967 navy court of inquiry convened in Malta by Rear Adm. Isaac C. Kidd Jr., generally substantiated the Israelis’ explanation that the attack was an accident. But the inquiries also raised more questions than they answered, and these questions were by no means limited to those hostile to Israel; they were also harbored by some of Israel’s strongest supporters in the Johnson Administration. Why did the Israelis attack a neutral ship without provocation? How had they failed to see the Liberty’s flag or the painted markings on her hull after several overflights by their aircraft? How could they confuse the Liberty with the El Quseir, a smaller and slower ship?

          For the next three decades the absence of satisfactory answers to these questions would help spawn a cottage industry of books and conspiracy theories asserting that Israel had deliberately attacked the Liberty and that the US government had covered it up. And Israel’s motive? It was asserted that the Israelis had done so to prevent the Liberty from revealing their impending seizure of Syria’s Golan Heights, a move that Washington was said to have opposed. It was also asserted that the Israelis may have done so in an attempt to blame the Egyptians and thus draw America into the conflict. The Israelis, they argued, had thus killed 34 Americans in cold blood and the American government had covered it up, influenced, aided and abetted by the all-powerful pro-Israel lobby, at whose pleasure they serve.

          In 1997, the Americans and the Israelis released a bushel of top-secret documents and other evidence in observance of the 30-year declassification rule on the Liberty attack, and these cleared up many of the mysteries that had long dogged the incident. It was shown that despite a warning from the White House to the American Sixth Fleet to keep its ships within a 250 mile arc from the Egyptian coast, the Liberty’s handlers in the NSA disregarded the order and put the Liberty within 12.5 miles of the coast to eavesdrop on Egyptian military communications with the Soviet Union. Five communications were sent by the Navy’s European headquarters to the Liberty for her to pull back at least 100 miles. However, due to the Six Fleet’s bulky communications apparatus, the messages got diverted to the Philippines and did not reach the Liberty until the day after she was attacked. Furthermore, the request of the Liberty’s skipper for a destroyer escort was denied by the Sixth Fleet CIC on the grounds that “the Liberty is a clearly marked US ship in international waters…and not a reasonable subject for attack.” A request by the Israeli ambassador at the outset of the conflict that the US provide a naval liaison to coordinate communications between the two countries was refused by the US, and thus no one informed Israel of the Liberty’s presence in the area.

          Israeli aircraft spotted the vessel in the early morning of June 8. The pilot could not make out the flag, but spotted a hull marking that read “GTR-5″ and the headquarters identified the ship as the USS Liberty. However, with the change in watch in the Israeli HQ at 11:00am, the officers, following standard operating procedure for removing old information from the board, had erroneously assumed that the Liberty had left the area. When an explosion rocked an Israeli arms depot at El Arish, the Israelis, spotting a vessel they incorrectly assumed was an Egyptian warship bombarding them, sent three torpedo boats to engage it.

          The skipper of the Liberty then executed a 90 degree starboard turn to the south. The Israelis, pursuing what they thought was an Egyptian warship heading home, called in for air support, and two Mirage fighters raked the Liberty with bombs, napalm, and cannon fire. Transcripts of communications between the Israeli pilots and HQ show that after the second strafing run an Israeli pilot recognized the Latin markings on the hull of the ship and the American flag and reported it to HQ–who immediately ordered him and his wingmen to disengage. They also show a breakdown in communications between the torpedo boats and HQ, and that when the Israeli boat captain got close enough to identify the hull markings and the flag of the Liberty, he immediately broke off the attack and gave help and medical attention to the survivors.

          The minutes of the 1967 Naval board of inquiry show that a lack of sufficient wind obscured the flag of the Liberty, thus hiding it from aerial observation and that the attack was “a case of mistaken identity.” Audio tapes transcripts indicate that the Israelis did not know they were attacking an American ship and immediately disengaged when they did. Contrary to decades of conspiracy-mongering, there is, in all the hundreds of pages of declassified material from both countries, not a shred of evidence to support the contention that Israel deliberately sought to attack and sink the USS Liberty.

          The release of the material also went a long way toward discrediting Israel’s supposed motives for the attack. The theory, posited by Liberty crew member James Ennes Jr., and endorsed by JC Admiral Thomas Moorer and UN Ambassador George Ball among others, that Israel struck the Liberty to hide its seizure of the Golan Heights from Syria from the US is contradicted by diplomatic cables showing that Israel informed Washington of its intention to do so before the Liberty attack, and that Washington had not objected. Even without the evidence, however, it begs the question as to why the Israelis would leave any survivors on the Liberty, if this was indeed their intent. The other theory, that Israel attacked the ship in order to blame the Egyptians and thus pull America into the war is belied by the fact that the Israelis were winning the war and, most importantly, that they made no effort to blame anyone and took responsibility for the incident moments after the attack. There is, and remains to this day, simply no remotely plausible motivation for Israel to have knowingly attacked a ship belonging to its strongest ally.

          The facts behind the attack are thus beyond dispute, and there is absolutely no evidence of a “cover-up.” The release of the declassified material resolved all the previous ambiguities and answered all the questions. Any further skepticism is based on conjecture, not facts. The notion that there is still a conspiracy to “cover up” the truth can only rest on a spurious premise: that the lack of proof to substantiate a conspiracy is proof of a conspiracy to destroy all of the proof.

          The attack was an accident. Face it Annie.

        • pjdude
          May 31, 2011, 1:51 pm

          Please. If the point was to get us involved in the war, why then did the Israelis take responsibility for the attack immediately afterwards instead of blaming Egypt or Syria?

          crew members of the liberty managed to get a message to the sixth fleet that their attackers were Israeli. the Israeli flags on the torpedo boats

          Also, they were in the process of winning one of the most lopsided victories in the history of war. What did they need from us?

          dunno i don’t understand thugs and thieves probably the hope they could steal more land with our help.

          Face it. The attack was an accident. There is simply no plausible motive for the Israelis to knowingly and deliberately attack a ship belonging to their strongest ally. None whatsoever.

          why should i face a lie. all evidence despite your whiny lies says it was delibrate. you can lap up Israeli BS all you I’ll stick to the facts and evidence.

          they knew the sip was american as they were specifically jamming american frequncies.

  2. Jim Haygood
    May 26, 2011, 1:57 pm

    ‘So we have a very skewed policy that … gives $3 billion a year of our tax dollars to the Israel military when we need this money here at home.’

    Amen, sistuh! If Americans can’t or won’t understand the moral issues which you explain so well, they can at least grasp the pocketbook aspect.

    As repellent as Netanyahu’s triumphant rant was, it still deserves to be quoted over and over for its extravagant non sequiturs. Consider this masterpiece:

    My friends, you don’t need to do nation building in Israel. We’re already built. You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it. You don’t need to send American troops to defend Israel. We defend ourselves.

    If Israel is so self-reliant, then why does it need $3 billion a year from the US? If Israel is so rich that it could join the OECD ‘developed nations’ club last year, why does it get multiples of the aid sent to the poorest of the poor?

    Netanyahu seamlessly segues into calling US aid ‘an investment in a common future.’ UGH — we don’t want a common future with an apartheid state.

    To secure a common future with Israel, we’d need to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964, repeal the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and institute a white-only immigration policy. And that’s just for starters.

    Thanks, Rae Abileah, for confronting this racist thug. Keep disrupting!

  3. Justice Please
    May 26, 2011, 2:21 pm

    “I even got a message of gratitude from Brad Pitt!”

    Unfortunately, if he went public with it, the ADL would be all over him and dig up some scandals to destroy his career.

    But thank you Miss Abileah, you have much more courage than me and countless others. You’re a real hero, or heroine of you prefer :-)

  4. seafoid
    May 26, 2011, 2:27 pm

    Ms Abileah is a true Mensch (or whatever the female form is) in the finest tradition of Judaism.
    Congress are schmucks and Cossacks.

    • lysias
      May 26, 2011, 4:33 pm

      I don’t know about Yiddish, but in German “der Mensch” (plural “die Menschen”) means “human being”, and it can be used for both men and women. “Das Mensch” (plural “die Menscher”), on the other hand, is a regional and sort of contemptuous word for “woman”.

      • seafoid
        May 27, 2011, 4:07 am

        Mensch in yiddish means a decent person, someone who makes sure that his or her vine or fig tree isn’t enlarged at the cost of someone else’s according to “Just say nu”.

        Zionists can’t be Mensches.

        Hot a kop vee a shpilkeh kepl dee grais -Has a head the size of a pinhead
        Klert tsee a floy hot a pipik-Wonders if a flea has a belly button.

    • Justice Please
      May 26, 2011, 5:46 pm

      Technically “Mensch” is male because of its article “der”, but it’s used universally. It means “human being”, with no sex implied.

    • Mooser
      May 26, 2011, 7:00 pm

      It’s easy! The feminine of “Mensch” is, of course “Menschette”, just as the feminine of “moose” is “moosette” Everybody knows that!

      “Brush up your Yiddish!
      Go guttural now!
      Brush up your Yiddish,
      And the menschettes you will wow!”

  5. Leper Colonialist
    May 26, 2011, 2:31 pm

    Your courage is an inspiration. You did a great day’s work, keep it up.

  6. yourstruly
    May 26, 2011, 2:32 pm

    what’ll it take for the media to stop its craven silence?

    the u.s. equivalent of those eighteen miraculous days in tahrir square

    fear?

    abandoned

    based on?

    the future racing towards us

    palestine’s arrival??

    right on time

  7. Debonnaire
    May 26, 2011, 2:55 pm

    Good going.

  8. kapok
    May 26, 2011, 3:03 pm

    “Freedom” to stand outside the gates shaking our fists is highly over-rated.

  9. Amar
    May 26, 2011, 3:04 pm

    29 standing ovations. As someone commented elsewhere on the net, that is more a reaction of fear. The sort of response Stalin, Saddam Hussein or Kim Jong Il would get in their speeches.

    • yourstruly
      May 26, 2011, 4:20 pm

      their* fears?

      warranted

      based on?

      those magical eighteen days in tahrir square

      plus similar good tidings elsewhere

      their expressed fear?

      that for the jewish settler entity israel** the end is nigh

      their real fear?

      what’s to become of they themselves?

      depends on the outcome of their trials —

      location – a criminal court of justice, u. s. of a.

      date – yet to be determined

      “Members of the jury, on the charge of being dual loyalty traitors, how do you find the president as well as those member of congress who spoke at the 2011 AIPAC convention in our nation’s capital?”

      “all of them guilty as charged, your honor.”

      *these dual loyalty traitors

      **the entity, not its people

      • lysias
        May 26, 2011, 6:47 pm

        The congresspeople’s fear is just of not being re-elected and losing their sense of identity. Says it all about them that perpetuating their miserable careers is all that matters to them.

    • Leper Colonialist
      May 26, 2011, 6:20 pm

      link to counterpunch.org

      Uri Averneri [spelling?] makes that point:

      “It was all rather disgusting.

      “There they were, the members of the highest legislative bodies of the world’s only superpower, flying up and down like so many yo-yos, applauding wildly, every few minutes or seconds, the most outrageous lies and distortions of Binyamin Netanyahu.

      “It was worse than the Syrian parliament during a speech by Bashar Assad, where anyone not applauding could find himself in prison. Or Stalin’s Supreme Soviet, when showing less than sufficient respect could have meant death.

      “What the American Senators and Congressmen feared was a fate worse than death. Anyone remaining seated or not applauding wildly enough could have been caught on camera – and that amounts to political suicide. It was enough for one single congressman to rise and applaud, and all the others had to follow suit. Who would dare not to?

      “The sight of these hundreds of parliamentarians jumping up and clapping their hands, again and again and again and again, with the Leader graciously acknowledging with a movement of his hand, was reminiscent of other regimes. Only this time it was not the local dictator who compelled this adulation, but a foreign one.

      Sadly, this pretty much sez it all. We have to change this.

    • mig
      May 27, 2011, 11:01 am

      Amar :

      “”29 standing ovations. “”

      ++++ Thats called ” human yo-yo’s. ;)

      Dont know why they seated, i was waiting they to stand attention while their Master was speaking. Thats a quite insult methinks :D

  10. American
    May 26, 2011, 3:14 pm

    Thank you Rae!

  11. James North
    May 26, 2011, 3:27 pm

    A terrific message. Someday, when the history of Palestinian liberation is finally written, Rae Abileah will be mentioned by name.

    • yourstruly
      May 26, 2011, 4:31 pm

      any day now very well could be that someday, what with the future racing towares us

  12. pineywoodslim
    May 26, 2011, 4:10 pm

    Ms Abileah, my admiration and respect for your courage and your virtue cannot be fully expressed in words.

    I wish you a full and speedy recovery from your injuries.

  13. seafoid
    May 26, 2011, 4:26 pm

    Nice to see Rae and Code Pink getting right into the heart of AIPAC.
    Wouldn’t have been thinkable 15 years ago.
    Settler blogs now use the word Nakba. The right of return is back on the agenda.
    Things are changing.

  14. American
    May 26, 2011, 4:39 pm

    I just got off the phone with my Senator’s office—registering my objections to the US and congressional support of Israel and my reasons thereof.

    I got a very cordial hearing from the foreign relations legistation staffer..whether it does any good or not depends on how many people start calling them.

    So I will take up the effort of ONCE AGAIN of contacting the politicians on this …BUT….I want some company. Unless enough people do this to counteract the thousands of AIPAC people it won’t do any good.

    If you want to call toll free…….1- 877 -762- 8762….. the capitol switchboard…….just ask to be connected to the office you want.

  15. patm
    May 26, 2011, 4:45 pm

    Rae Abileah, thanks for this report and for your courageous disruption of Netanyahu’s speech.

    I must say I agree with Taxi and Annie: Challenge in court the people who assaulted you. We have photos of the thugs around you when the assault took place. They could be identified easily enough, I imagine.

    A lawsuit would be an ordeal, and I wouldn’t blame you for not embarking on one. But it would be educational, as the Rachel Corrie trial continues to be.

    Best of luck.

  16. David Samel
    May 26, 2011, 5:03 pm

    RAe, you deserve the 29 standing ovations and more. You’re an inspiration!

  17. Pixel
    May 26, 2011, 11:55 pm

    After I disrupted, Netanyahu said to his Congressional audience, “You can’t have these protests in Tehran; this is real democracy.”

    Is it?

    NO, it’s not. Period. End of story.

    End of story?

    NO, thanks to courageous people like you who are helping awaken others.

    Your protest was amazing; I was agog. You’ve got a pair of big ones and you know where and when to use ‘em!

  18. kalithea
    May 27, 2011, 12:59 am

    You are truly an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing your experience and for sharing all that information. Hopefully, more and more people will join the cause to free Palestinians of the scourge of Occupation thanks to people like you. You’re courage is truly remarkable. Keep safe; fight back and never give up!

  19. Bill in Maryland
    May 27, 2011, 8:59 am

    Thank you so much Rae for giving voice to this message: “No More Occupation! Stop Israeli War Crimes! Equal Rights for Palestinians!” Your courage, in the heart of a chamber hostile to the truth of these issues, is an inspiration to us all.

  20. Theo
    May 27, 2011, 9:12 am

    We spread democracy all over the world with bombers and guns, (remember Iraq, Vietnam, etc.), yet we don´t have it in our own country!!
    So thank you, Rae, for showing us what civil courage really means, because we already forgot how to defend our liberty and rights.

  21. MHughes976
    May 27, 2011, 11:00 am

    Does the fact that you have received so many messages of support and congratulation (I add mine) from so many unexpected quarters mean that your courageous protest received some coverage in the ordinary press or television? Do you think that you may gain, as a consequence, further opportunities to explain things publicly? That would certainly be a step forward.
    It’s interesting how free political speech stops short at the gates of parliaments except for members of the political class. Our dear parliament has moved to eject demonstrators not just from its precincts but from the area within its sight.
    People have been advising legal action but I’m ignorant about what the basis of this action would be. Presumably free speech for ordinary mortals does not extend to congressional galleries?

  22. zafarz
    May 27, 2011, 12:05 pm

    Rae is an inspiration for all. I hope more people, especially inside Israel follow her lead. Please read my tribute to her. link to bit.ly

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