CODEPINK Press Release
CODEPINK Protesters Arrested in Congressional Hearing for Calling on Secretary Kerry to Stop Funding Israel
February 25, 2015
Washington, DC –– Two CODEPINK peace activists, co-founder Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry, were abruptly arrested by Capitol Hill police before a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing featuring Secretary of State John Kerry. Benjamin and Barry stood up before the hearing began and thanked Secretary Kerry for his diplomatic efforts with Iran, and asked why he was advocating for over $3 billion of America’s federal budget to go to Israel, which is trying to sabotage the Secretary’s nuclear talks with Iran. Quickly the Capitol Hill police snatched both activists out of their seats and removed them from the room without warning.
“I’m appalled that my colleagues were arrested for simply asking Secretary Kerry about funding Israel over $3 billion US taxpayer dollars while it continues to sabotage the State Department’s diplomatic efforts with Iran,” said Alli McCracken, CODEPINK National Coordinator who was in the hearing with Benjamin and Barry. “Why won’t the Secretary stand up to Netanyahu, who is bullying his way into Washington DC this weekend and embarrassing President Obama by disregarding diplomatic protocol? It’s long past time to end unconditional US aid to Israel.”
“This is another dark day for free speech in the United States,” said CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans. “For too long, the Israel lobby AIPAC has had a dangerous stranglehold over US foreign policy. As gravely concerned American citizens, we have the right to bring our grievances to our government without being arrested for voicing our opinions. The charges against Medea and Tighe should be dropped immediately and our constitutional rights respected.”
During Netanyahu’s visit to Washington DC, CODEPINK and ally organizations have organized four days of political action in opposition to Israeli policies and the influence of the Israel lobby (AIPAC) over US foreign policy. A schedule of events can be found atwww.codepink.org/ShutDownAIPAC.