By Mahmoud El-Yousseph
How funny it is that people will support our Constitution and the right to free speech only when it applies to them, but when it comes to Israel, the rules never applied. You can question the existence of God Almighty, insult Jesus (peace be upon him), or even call our Commander-In-Chief by any name in the book and no one will give a rat. But if you dare to challenge Israel, you are committing America’s number one sin.
That is what happened to 28 year-old Jewish-American Rae Abileah during the address of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint session of Congress in May. Miss Abileah, a peace activist and member of pro-Palestinian group, CodePink, yelled, “No More Occupation! Stop Israeli War crimes! Equal Rights for Palestinians!”
She was quickly tackled to the ground by members of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), beaten, then arrested at George Washington University Hospital following her medical treatment. She was released a few hours later. Miss Abileah is facing charges of disrupting Congress this month.
Flashback: In September 2009, President Obama became the first president to be called ‘liar’ in front of a joint session of Congress by a Republican senator. South Carolina’s Joe Wilson, pointing angrily at the President, blurted at the top of his voice: “You lie!” when Obama was addressing the Congress on health care. A few minutes later, Sen. Wilson again interrupted the President by shouting, “Not true!”
Do you wonder what happened to Sen. Wilson? No, he was not thrown out of the Capitol, was neither assaulted nor sanctioned. Absolutely no charges disrupting Congress were ever filed against him. So why was Rae Abileah treated differently? Why does America bend its knees and bow its head to Israel?
Unlike the powerful Jewish lobby or US lawmakers, who acted like cheerleaders to a foreign leader, Miss Abileah delivered a message of peace to people who could not hear it in the same way from someone who had not been where she was, who had not done what she did. Miss Abileah visited Palestine and lived among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. She was an eyewitness who spoke with an authority.
She was an eyewitness to the Israeli war crimes committed daily against Palestinians, including the uprooting of olive trees, home demolitions, land confiscation, midnight raids and arrests, targeted assassinations, and of course, the illegal and inhumane siege of Gaza. All these crimes are committed by Israel with full financial support and diplomatic cover, courtesy of the USA.
Sadly, Abileah’s story was barely covered by lame stream news media in the US., whereas it was a front page story in the Israeli press. Her message to Israel and our nation is: You will not commit such crimes with my name, with my religion and with my money and get away with it.
Abileah is also an active member of Jewish Voice for Peace. On June 3, 2009: Code Pink flew a banner that said “End the siege of Gaza” at President Obama’s Muslim-outreach speech at Cairo University.
This fearless truth-telling Jewish woman should be praised for her courage and unwavering support for peace, justice and freedom in Palestine. For that, I say God bless, speedy recovery, and thank you Rae Abileah!
– Mahmoud El-Yousseph is a retired USAF veteran. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: [email protected]