Blinken called "Butcher of Gaza" as protesters interrupt Senate testimony

Washington DC - Several pro-Palestine activists were arrested Tuesday for disrupting Secretary of State Antony Blinken's testimony in a Senate committee hearing.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Biden administration policy toward Israel and Gaza.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Biden administration policy toward Israel and Gaza.  © REUTERS

Blinken appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to speak about the US government's approach to Israel's war on Gaza.

In his remarks, the top US diplomat condemned International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants issued against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, claiming they compromised negotiations for a potential ceasefire and hostage release deal.

Calling the ICC prosecutor's move "extremely wrongheaded," Blinken slammed the "shameful equivalence implied between Hamas and the leadership of Israel."

Israel committing crime of extermination against Palestinians, UN report finds
Israel-Gaza War Israel committing crime of extermination against Palestinians, UN report finds

The State Department issued a report earlier this month noting that Israel has likely used US-supplied weapons to break international law. The release came amid urgent concerns for Rafah, a southern Gaza city where millions of forcibly displaced Palestinians have sought refuge and are facing mass evacuation orders in advance of a planned Israeli invasion.

Blinken reiterated that President Joe Biden's administration continues to arm Israel – despite growing global alarms.

"The president stands behind the proposition that we will always make sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself. No one has done more, not only throughout his career but over the last eight or so months, to make sure that that's the case, and that will continue," Blinken said.

Pro-Palestine peace activists arrested during Blinken testimony

A pro-Palestine protester with a sign reading "Criminal" is removed by police during Secretary of State Antony Blinken's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
A pro-Palestine protester with a sign reading "Criminal" is removed by police during Secretary of State Antony Blinken's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  © REUTERS

Blinken's testimony was repeatedly interrupted by activists with CODEPINK and American Muslims for Palestine.

Protesters were dragged out of the room while calling Blinken a "war criminal." CODEPINK said in a press release that four people had been arrested and two people charged with resisting arrest during the action.

"Over 35,000 Palestinians have been murdered in Gaza with American taxpayer dollars," an activist named Mohamed said.

Joke of the Day for June 11, 2024: Get your funny on
Joke of the Day Joke of the Day for June 11, 2024: Get your funny on

"Their blood is on your hands. You will be remembered as the butcher of Gaza," he added.

Blinken along with Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are facing a historic lawsuit accusing them of complicity in Israel's genocide. A federal judge in Oakland dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds in late January but affirmed there is a likely case genocide is happening in Gaza with "unflagging support" from the Biden administration. Plaintiffs have appealed the dismissal, with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granting a motion to expedite the case.

The International Court of Justice in January ruled that there is a plausible case Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.

"Your legacy is genocide. You’re just as guilty as Netanyahu. You’re killing our families, Blinken," Mohamed charged.

Capitol police arrest another pro-Palestine activist during Blinken hearing

Pro-Palestine protesters hold up painted "bloody hands" as Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Pro-Palestine protesters hold up painted "bloody hands" as Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  © REUTERS

CODEPINK also reported that Capitol police arrested another of its staff members as she exited the hearing room on Tuesday.

The feminist antiwar organization said the activist, named Julia, had simply raised her red-pained hands without saying anything, attributing the arrest to the targeting of pro-Palestine groups.

"The Capitol Police know our faces well at this point; we are there daily. Julia's arrest today is nothing short of political repression and intimidation," CODEPINK's National Co-Director Danaka Katovich said in a press release.

"Earlier today, they assaulted our members at a hearing, and now they are threatening to hold our members in jail for doing nothing at all. In what democracy do police forces arrest recognizable activists?" Katovich continued.

"Julia's arrest and assaults on our activists earlier today signal a larger state of repression we are entering in our fight for a free Palestine."

A video shared by CODEPINK shows officers threatening to charge Julia with resisting arrest.

Cover photo: REUTERS

More on Israel-Gaza War: