Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday was disrupted by a left-wing protester calling to stop the Israeli occupation in Palestine.
The heckler was identified as Rae Abileah, a 28-year-old Jewish-American activist, of Israeli decent, who works with human rights organization CODEPINK.
Abileah stood up from the gallery as Netanyahu was congratulating the United States for the killing of Osama bin Laden and shouted “stop Israeli war crimes.”
In a statement released shortly after the incident, CODEPINK 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.”
Netanyahu was unfazed by the incident and congratulated the U.S. for its democratic rule which 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."
On Monday, Netanyahu was again interrupted by left-wing protesters who heckled him and criticized his policies toward the Palestinians as was speaking before the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.
Protesters from the group Move Over AIPAC, at least some of whom say they are Jewish, stood up, held up banners and made statements criticizing Israeli defense policies.
Netanyahu's speech at the Jewish Federations General Assembly in New Orleans in November 2010 was marked by repeated heckling from Jewish students in the audience, protesting loyalty oath legislation and Israel's occupation of the West Bank, before being escorted away.
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