1,000 Grandmothers’ Action Calls for End to Genocide


As the UN General Assembly on May 5 announced its adoption of a resolution in support of full-member status for Palestinian Statehood, activists from Code Pink and others were visiting the offices of U.S. senators in the Hart Senate Office Building to demand a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, an end to the genocide and end of funding for Israel.

The non-binding UN declaration approved by a 143 to 9 vote with 25 nations abstaining is highly symbolic but unlikely to become a reality any time soon. It does, however, demonstrate how global support has been eroding for Israel in its brutal genocide in Gaza.

In calling for an end to the violence, Code Pink honored Mother’s Day with two-days of action, “1,000 Grandmothers and their loved one’s calling to end Genocide” aimed at visiting both the Rayburn House Office Building, and the Hart Senate Office Building where they made their positions known to the legislator’s staff.

With Mother’s Day this weekend, they appealed for simple human compassion by asking “How many Palestinian children have had their mothers ripped from them by Israel’s relentless bombing of Gaza. How can we expect stability in Gaza when so many children will grow up without their mothers? What about the mothers that have survived but have lost the children that made them mothers in the first place?”

Meeting in the Hart Office Building foyer this morning on the last day of their visits while under the ever-watchful eye of the Capitol Police, the group rallied before departing on their office visits. As U.S. Army (Ret.) Colonel Ann Wright addressed the group, activists on the second-floor balcony unfurled large banners calling to “Stop Arming Genocide.” The unfurling was immediately ended with police pulling the banners away from the balcony edge.

Afterward, the group divided into two contingents, one who would visit all nine senators who are grandmothers and a second group who would visit several of the senators who have fully supported Israel in funding its genocide.

The group first visited the office of Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) one of 89 senators who voted in favor of funding the $95 billion foreign aid package of which $26 billion was appropriated for the Israel-Hamas war. After entering the office, several of the activists performed a die-in clothed in faux blood-stained shrouds accompanied by three people dressed in black wearing death masks.

Several activists spoke with a staff member passionately pleading for an end to the genocide in Gaza saying that “We are complicit in this” in using U.S. taxpayers’ money funding Israel in its genocide. They also called for providing immediate humanitarian aid to the population after which the gentleman promised to convey their message to the senator.

Brown, who voted for funding the Israeli war in Gaza while at the same time is calling for humanitarian aid, has received $878,299 in funding since 2017 from AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee).

Departing en masse, the group next visited the office of Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), the powerful head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Medea Benjamin of Code Pink observed that Cardin, who will not be running for office again, did not take advantage of standing on the right side of history by “doing the right thing” in not voting against funding for Israel. It should be noted, too, that Cardin is also a recipient of AIPAC funding and that he has received $913,485 since 2017.

While performing their die-in in Cardin’s office, a Capitol Police officer intent on asserting his authority ordered the participants to move aside to create a “corridor” by not blocking the crowded office floor. U.S. Army (Ret.) Sgt. Michael Marceau, who was critically wounded 54 years ago in Vietnam requiring 12 hours of emergency surgery, spoke of his personal experience on the devastation wrought by war in saying it was “time to stop the current shipment of all weapons and bombs to Israel and to stop all support for Israel.”

A foreign relations staff spokesperson for the senator briefly answered questions about Cardin’s position on Gaza saying that the senator would be issuing a statement later in the day clarifying his position. By days end, no such statement had been issued.

Moving on to the office of Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CN) it is hard to miss the irony on the reception room wall of a framed photograph to the 26 victims of the 2012 Sandyhook Elementary School shooting, that has a banner emblazoned with “Together we birth a culture of Peace.” That universal principal of peace and nonviolence borrowed in part from the United Nations founding carries little weight for Palestinians though when it comes to arming and funding Israel for its genocide in Gaza.

Speaking directly to the Pentagon’s Marine Corps liaison staff member, Medea Benjamin demanded that the senator issue a statement saying “Enough is enough, no more assault on Rafah. No more weapons.”  She went on to refer to a pending report that was leaked saying that the “four bureaus within the State Department have said Israel is violating U.S. law and international law.”

In describing student protesters, she said they were “the moral center of our country right now” for taking a position to see an end to genocide. This contrary to Mitch McConnell, who on Wednesday this week when speaking on Biden’s decision to pause delivery of weapons to Israel and the fact that student demonstrations were in part responsible, referred to the demonstrators as “campus Communists.”

A student from GW and a member of the encampment spoke briefly saying that “students are being terrorized sitting and peacefully protesting because they don’t want to be complicate anymore. We are tired, it’s not like we are going out there for fun. We’re exhausted of seeing all these dead children and women every day.”

Another speaker stated that “If you want to have any semblance of a quote unquote rules-based international order, we cannot keep defying international laws to protect a rogue genocidal state… it will collapse the party, (Democrats) it will collapse the international order.” 

Since 2017, Senator Blumenthal has also been the recipient of AIPAC funding that has added $389,981to his coffers.

Report and photo by Phil Pasquini

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