I’m very privileged to have Medea Benjamin on World Focus today. She’s the cofounder of the women-led peace group Code Pink, and the cofounder of the human rights group Global Exchange. She’s been an advocate for social justice for 40 years, and I would say is one of the leading international people in the movement for peace and justice. Welcome, Medea.
Medea: Thank you, Blase.
Blase: You just got back from a trip to Palestine. What can you tell us about it?
Medea: Well, first of all that it was a surprise that we got in, since my organization Code Pink is one of the six groups in the US that had recently been put on an Israeli government list as one of the organizations whose leaders would be banned from coming in because we support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and really Jody Evan, myself, and my partner Tye Barry went in to test the ban. Some say the ban hasn’t been put in effect yet but will be in March. In the meantime we were able to go in, which was great because we were able to meet with a number of our partners on the ground and be in solidarity. We spent a day with the Tamimi family. The daughter has become famous after slapping an Israeli soldier, which also landed her in prison. The other family members, many are already in prison as well, including her mother, and then we spent time in Hebron, a town that is full of right wing, nasty reactionary settlers who on a daily basis are attacking and humiliating the Palestinians who live there. And then we did lots of other things like meeting with groups like Bethelsem that documents many of these abuses, and a group in Jeruseleum which is documenting what is happening with the taking over of more and more land in East Jeruseleum. We were left with a sense of renewed horror at the kind of racist, apartheid society that has been constructed by the Israeli government, and awe and inspiration from the Palestinians who have been resisting non-violently in such a determined and ongoing way. (Read More)