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Confronting Genocide Denial and Advocating for Press Freedom

15 April 2024

By Isra Nadeem

On April 5th, President Biden received a letter expressing concern and outrage regarding an Israeli airstrike that resulted in the death of seven aid workers, including an American citizen. The letter urges President Biden and Secretary Blinken to reconsider the authorization of an arms package to Israel and calls for withholding arms transfers until a full investigation into the airstrike is completed. In addition, the letter urges Israel to ensure the safety of aid workers and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza. Last week, the Biden administration was pushing Congress to approve the sale of $18 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets to Israel. This decision has been met with criticism and increasing pressure to restrict U.S. arms sales to Israel due to its military actions in Gaza. Despite this, President Biden is standing by his decision to not limit arms sales to Israel during the ongoing conflict. With both of these things in mind, we began the week strong by thanking offices that signed the April 5th Letter.

Monday, April 8th

Recently, CODEPINK delegations protested at German diplomatic missions across the United States in support of Nicaragua's case against Germany at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The case accuses Germany of complicity in Israel's genocide, which has resulted in the deaths or injuries of over 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza. On Monday ICJ proceedings, demonstrators in various cities across the country picketed and delivered letters to German diplomatic missions, echoing Nicaragua’s requests to the World Court to order Germany and the United States to stop supplying weapons to Israel. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the US supplies 69% of Israel’s arsenal, while Germany supplies 30% of the weaponry. Benjamin Alvarez Gruber, a US correspondent for Deutsche Welle (DW), covered the story at the DC German embassy, where CODEPINK organizers Medea Benjamin, Julia Norman, and Palestinian American Moataz Salim led the delegation. Embassy officials responded with formality, stating that investigations take time and that there is no way to prove that war crimes are occurring. 

Tuesday, April 9th

On Tuesday, we attended a testimony to receive the Department of Defense's budget request for Fiscal Year 2025 and the Future Years Defense Program. This was where the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin recently testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee, requesting hundreds of billions of dollars for war next year. During the hearing, a clear message was conveyed to stop the genocide in Gaza. However, when a Senator asked Austin to respond to the protests, he denied the existence of genocide, stating that there was no evidence to support such claims. Despite the majority of Americans wanting a ceasefire and an end to arms shipments to Israel, Secretary Austin and most Senators have refused to represent the will of the people. We also joined in an action led by Christians for a Free Palestine. The aim of the action was to disrupt the lunch of Congress and their staff, in solidarity with Gaza. The group is demanding that Congress stops arming Israel, restores UNRWA funding, and calls for a lasting ceasefire.


Wednesday, April 10th

On Wednesday’s hearing, we took a bold step by disrupting Samantha Power, the USAID head and a so-called "genocide expert". As she testified to Congress, we stood up and called out her hypocrisy. Despite praising officials who resigned in protest of genocide in the past, Samantha Power refused to do so herself in the face of the Biden administration's support for the genocide in Gaza. It is unacceptable that she and other members of the administration continue to send bombs and ammunition to kill innocent Palestinians while pretending that they simply need more humanitarian assistance. We also visited John James' office, where he tweeted, "Code Pink is being funded by the CCP, who is also behind these protests." We take allegations of being funded by the CCP seriously and believe that John James, who is connected to AIPAC, should be exposed for his corrupt practices.

Thursday April 11th

On Thursday, we attended a hearing called "Fighting For A Free Press". Over 100 journalists have been killed in Gaza, and we came to remind people of these lives lost. Shockingly, the number of journalists killed in just 150 days has surpassed the total number of journalists killed throughout the world in all of 2022. The intentional targeting of journalists is a war crime, and we disrupted the hearing to demand action that would protect journalists in Gaza. Prior to the hearing, we read a statement from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and paid tribute to those who lost their lives due to Israeli violence, which was supported by US funding and complicity. These journalists are not just numbers; they have names, faces, lives, children, partners, and they are human beings whose lives were taken by Israel. To discuss freedom of press without acknowledging the death of these journalists is truly appalling and disrespectful. We also got the opportunity to directly confront Samantha Powers, and ask her why she talks about famine in Gaza but the reason for the famine. She remained silent during this encounter. 

Friday, April 12th

On Friday we reminded the progressive offices of the atrocities they are ignoring. Progressive views should recognize massacres and genocides. Every person who believes in justice and equality should stand up for the people of Gaza. It's crucial to address the challenges that people in Gaza are facing as they affect all of us. The bombings of women, children, and men with impunity in Gaza, and the intentional starvation of millions of civilians are issues that need to be resolved urgently. We encourage "progressive" members of Congress like Rep. Crockett to take a more active role in finding peace and calling for a ceasefire