Under pressure from Israel and local Jewish groups, Mayor of Bayreuth (Germany) Brigitte Merk-Erbe has rescind her decision to give country’s prestigious tolerance prize, the Wilhelmine-von-Bayreuth-Preis Award to the US-based anti-war and human-rights NGO CODEPINK.
Medea Benjamin along with Hedy Epstein, Ariel Gold, Leslie Harris, and US Army Colonel Mary Ann Wright have sent a letter to Brigitte Merk-Erbe exposing Israeli and the Organized Jewry’s lies about CODEPINK.
“As the co-founder of the peace organization CODEPINK, and as a proud Jewish woman, I am disappointed to learn about the recent allegations by Benjamin Weinthal of the Jerusalem Post that CODEPINK is a so-called anti-Semitic organization. This accusation undoubtedly stems from our history of Palestine solidarity work, criticism of Israeli government policies, and participation in the non-violent boycott of Israeli settlement products (which are manufactured in violation of international law),” wrote Benjamin.
“If deeply-held German guilt over what happened to Jews during the Holocaust prevents any critical discussion about Israeli policy in the present, that would be the true anti-Semitism. I urge you not to take these accusations seriously in your consideration of the work of CODEPINK and to honor the work of this important organization,” wrote Hedy Epstein, a German citizen.
“Criticism of the Israeli government is in accordance with a long Jewish tradition to engage in struggles for freedom and justice. This is especially important today with Israel being in continuous violation of international law. Since 1967, Palestinians in the West bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza have lived under a brutal military occupation where they are denied basic human rights. Since 2008/2009 Israel has engaged in three major military operations in Gaza, massacring thousands of Palestinians, including over 500 children in the summer of 2014. Given the current situation in Israel/Palestine, it is imperative that people work to change Israeli policies,” wrote Ariel Gold.
“The rationale for the accusation that CODEPINK is an anti-Semitic organization is difficult to understand, especially considering that many members are, themselves, Jewish. Disagreement with some policies of the Israeli government regarding Palestinians is no more anti-Semitic than disagreement with some policies of our own U.S. government is anti-American or against any religious group,” wrote Leslie Harris.
“I am a 29 year veteran of the US Army and retired as a Colonel. I also served 16 years in the US Diplomatic Corps, in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia, the last four postings as Deputy Ambassador. I resigned from the U.S. Government in March 2003 in opposition to my country’s war of choice on Iraq,” wrote Ann Wright.
The women-led NGO was founded on November 17, 2002, by two Jewish women activists, Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin. The NGO opposed the US war against Iraq, Somalia, Libya, and covert wars against Syria, Iran, Lebanon, and drone war in Pakistan. It demonstrated at Netanyahu speech at AIPAC conference and tried to handcuff Henry Kissinger for war crimes.
Last year, Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin took a peace delegation to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Read their Diaries here.
None of these ladies believe that Israel has no right to exist. They all believe that a ‘toothless’ Palestine state over land occupied by Israel in June 1967 is needed for the survival of Israel.