“I think it’s important to point out that Israel has been unlawfully entering Palestinian land for decades, and as well the US continues to unlawfully enter lands around the world and commits horrific crimes against humanity – war crimes – and that is where we should be focused on ending unlawful entry.”
WASHINGTON DC – On Thursday Middle East Campaign Director for CODEPINK Ariel Gold was arrested at the launching of the new Israel Victory Caucus held by Representatives Ron DeSantis and Bill Johnson. She was charged with “Illegal Entry.”
The caucus is seen by CODEPINK as taking an extreme role against Palestinians by suggesting a military response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights concurs and issued a statement about the formation of the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus that is chaired by “Islamophobe Daniel Pipes and his Middle East Forum. The truly bigoted nature of this caucus is apparent in the Middle East Forum’s insistence that Israel’s defeat of the Palestinians is in their best interests and will enable them to become a ‘normal people.’ One would have thought that this type of colonialist rhetoric would have disappeared in the first half of the 20th century, but sadly it is alive and well with this new caucus.”
On Saturday Gold took part in the Climate March in the nation’s capital and told The Nation Report that she was arrested before she even sat down for the caucus, “I was told immediately that I was recognized as CODEPINK and as such I was not welcome and would have to leave.” She said that she registered ahead of schedule, showed her identification required of all entrants, but nevertheless was charged. She is confident that her charges will be dropped, “I was not unlawfully entering the room and I expect my charges to be dismissed.”
CODEPINK, since it was established in 2002, has advocated for peace and social justice and against the weaponry used to kill innocent civilians especially children and especially by the United States. Several members have been arrested or detained while interrupting speeches but also while participating in rallies or direct actions against war, violence, and against fossil fuel and mineral extraction.
At this event as Gold attempted to sit, she was told that she would have to leave by Capital Police. Upon exiting, Gold displayed a banner that read “Free Palestine” and began to speak,
“It was a public meeting to form a caucus in our Congress so I had every right to attend. So I decided that as I was leaving I would take out a banner and say a few words about Israel’s violations of international law and that Israel is an apartheid state built on racism and ethnic cleansing and entirely in violation of international law. It needs to be brought into accordance with international law and that is what our Congress should be focused on.”
Upon exiting, an unidentified attendee attempted to tear away the banner from Gold and accused her of supporting terrorism and accused Palestinians of terrorism.
The meeting continued with Daniel Pipes, President of the Middle East Forum as a speaker. CODEPINK has criticized Pipes for comments made by him in support of Israeli military approaches when he said that Israel should “return to the proven concept of victory,” leading the group to conclude that Pipes is encouraging Congress to back continued military resolutions, and even an escalation of violence through military responses. CODEPINK is advocating for negotiations that follow international law.
Since 1967 Israel has occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Gold says that instead of forming an Israeli Victory Caucus, that US Congress should stop international law violations and violations of human rights.
“I was proud to stand for Palestinian rights and [being arrested] was a very small sacrifice that I made, a few hours out of my day. I hope it had some effect. And that what I did was also in accordance with my values as a Jewish mother and in accordance with Jewish tradition to stand for justice and to stand with people who are oppressed.”