JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s much-anticipated speech to a joint session of Congress was disrupted today by a protester from an antiwar group tied to President Obama, WND has learned.
The heckler was identified as Rae Abileah, a 28-year-old Jewish-American activist who works as the national organizer for Code Pink. She coordinates Code Pink’s Middle East campaigns.
While Netanyahu was congratulating the U.S. for eliminating Osama bin Laden, Abileah stood up from the gallery and shouted: “stop Israeli war crimes.”
In a statement released shortly after the incident, Code Pink said, “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.”
This was not the first time Abileah heckled Netanyahu, WND has found.
Abileah was one of the five young Jewish leftists who interrupted Netanyahu’s speech at a meeting of the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America in New Orleans in November 2010.
Netanyahu used the incident to congratulate the U.S. for its democratic rule which, he said, creates a platform for freedom of speech and the freedom to protest. “You can’t have these protests in Tehran,” Netayahu said. “This is real democracy.”
In Netanyahu’s address today, he reiterated Israel’s strong ties to the U.S.; warned of Iran’s nuclear armament; offered a peace deal to the Palestinians and affirmed the right of Jews to the land of Israel.
Netanyahu also said Israel “will not return to the indefensible borders of 1967.”
“Israel will be generous on the size of a Palestinian state, but will be very firm on where we put the border with it,” Netanyahu said.
Code Pink, meanwhile, is led by Jodie Evans, the group’s co-founder. The group previously met with Hamas and with leaders of the Taliban.
Evans was a fundraiser and financial bundler for Obama’s presidential campaign.
WND reported that in January Evans and other Obama associates provoked chaos in Egypt in an attempt to enter the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to join in solidarity with the territory’s population and leadership.
WND has learned that Abileah was part of that delegation attempting to enter Gaza.
WND reported at the time those protests were led by former Weather Underground terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn – close Obama associates for years.
Also protesting in Egypt was Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the anti-Israel Electronic Intifada website. WND previously reported Obama spoke at pro-Palestinian events in the 1990s alongside Abunimah. At one such event, a 1999 fundraiser for Palestinian “refugees,” Abunimah recalls introducing Obama on stage.
Obama pals provoked Egypt chaos
The Egypt-Gaza saga began when the radicals arrived Dec. 31, 2009. Evans appealed to Suzanne Mubarak, wife of Egypt’s then-president, to allow some 1,400 activists to cross from Egypt into neighboring Gaza to march there, deliver humanitarian aid and stage a protest at an Israeli border crossing with thousands of Palestinian Gazans. Egypt’s Interior Ministry had said the march was illegal and a threat to national security.
Mubarak reportedly offered to allow only 100 activists to cross into Gaza. The decision was at first reportedly accepted by Evans but was later rejected, leading to protests throughout Cairo all week under a heavy police presence.
The rioters claimed some of the protests were violent.
A press release by organizers claimed: “Members of the Gaza Freedom March are being forcibly detained in hotels around town as well as violently forced into pens in Tahrir Square by Egyptian police and additional security forces. Reports of police brutality are flooding a delegate legal hotline faster than the legal support team can answer the calls. The reports span from women being kicked, beaten to the ground and dragged into pens, at least one confirmed account of broken ribs, and many left bloody.”
The website BigGovernment.com noted author Philip Weiss wrote of witnessing Ayers’ and Dohrn’s involvement in the debate about whether to accept Egypt’s offer of allowing only a limited number of protesters to enter Gaza.
“As for the Egyptian statement that only hooligans were staying behind in Cairo … Dohrn said that the principle of ‘All or none’ was a miserable one for activist politics. … A European man in a red keffiyeh screamed at her that she was serving the fascisti. Her partner Bill Ayers gently confronted him and asked him why he was so out of control.”
Dohrn later wrote on a blog that she was briefly detained at the U.S. embassy in Cairo following protests there by her group.
“Bill and I went to the American embassy at 10 a.m. and asked to see the ambassador. We were ushered into a holding pen a block away from the embassy building where we joined 35 people already there, surrounded by Egyptian soldiers,” she wrote.
Protests also were staged in front of other foreign embassies as well as in a public area in central Cairo.
Eventually, the protesters accepted the Egyptian offer of allowing about 100 marchers into Gaza. The marchers indeed entered Gaza and were reportedly met on the Gaza side by Hamas’ former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
“We have managed to overcome the occupation plans and we will surely meet at the al-Aqsa Mosque and in Jerusalem, which will remain Arab and Islamic,” Haniyeh declared.
Evans squarely blamed Israel for Egypt’s refusal to allow her group to cross en masse into Gaza.
“It’s obvious that the only reason for it is to make Israel happy. Israel is behind the refusal – what other excuse could there be?”
Close Obama associates
Abunimah traveled in some of the same political circles as Obama in the 1990s. Abunimah previously described meeting with Obama at a fundraiser at the home of Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, reportedly a former PLO activist. Khalidi was also a close associate of Obama.
“[Obama] came with his wife. That’s where I had a chance to really talk to him,” Abunimah recalled. “It was an intimate setting. He convinced me he was very aware of the issues [and] critical of U.S. bias toward Israel and lack of sensitivity to Arabs. … He was very supportive of U.S. pressure on Israel.”
According to quotes obtained by Gulf News, Abunimah recalled a 2004 meeting in a Chicago neighborhood while Obama was running for his U.S. Senate seat. Abunimah quoted Obama telling him “warmly” he was sorry that “I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race.”
“I’m hoping when things calm down, I can be more up front,” Abunimah reportedly quoted the senator as saying.
Abunimah said Obama urged him to “keep up the good work” at the Chicago Tribune, where Abunimah contributed guest columns that were highly critical of Israel.
Ayers, meanwhile, became a name in the 2008 presidential campaign when it was disclosed the radical worked closely with Obama for years.
Ayers helped launch Obama’s political career with a fundraiser in his home. Obama served on the board of a Chicago nonprofit alongside Ayers. The terrorist later hired Obama to serve as chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a job Obama later cited as experience that helped qualify him to run for public office.
While at the CAC, Obama and Ayers both granted funds to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN.
WND columnist Jack Cashill has produced a series of persuasive arguments that it was Ayers who ghostwrote Obama’s award-winning autobiography, “Dreams from My Father.”
Ayers and Dohrn were two of the main founders of the Weather Underground, which bombed the New York City police headquarters in 1970, the Capitol in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972. The group was responsible for some 30 bombings aimed at destroying the defense and security infrastructures of the U.S.
Characterizing the Weather Underground as “an American Red Army,” Ayers summed up the organization’s ideology: “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, Kill your parents.”
“Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon,” Ayers recalled in his 2001 memoir, “Fugitive Days.” “The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them.”
Ayers brandished his unrepentant radicalism for years, as evidenced by his now notorious 2001 interview with the New York Times, published one day after the 9/11 attacks, in which he stated, “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”
Ayers posed for a photograph accompanying the New York Times piece that showed him stepping on an American flag. He said of the U.S.: “What a country. It makes me want to puke.”