Anti-Israel agitators interrupt Blinken Senate testimony, hauled out by Capitol police

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At least four anti-Israel agitators were hauled out of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing by Capitol police while Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified about his department’s budget on Tuesday. 

While Blinken began his opening statement, a man stood up shouting the name of a 6-year-old boy reportedly killed in Gaza. 

‘Blinken, you will be remembered as the Butcher of Gaza,’ the man yelled as officers pulled him out of the hearing room. ‘You will be remembered for murdering innocent Palestinians.’ 

As other protesters started to speak up, Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., instructed an officer to remove the individual.

Cardin warned that anyone who was speaking would be removed, but that did not deter an elderly woman who repeatedly shouted, ‘Stop the genocide,’ while being escorted out by police. 

Blinken began his prepared statement again, when a woman suddenly rushed toward his table shouting, ‘Blinken is a war criminal. He is a war criminal. The blood of 40,000 people is on his hands.’ 

‘The blood of 40,000 Palestinians is on his hands,’ she continued as Capitol police officers physically pulled her from the room. ‘He is a war criminal. He is a war criminal. Blinken is a war criminal.’ 

A fourth person, another female protester, was then removed while shouting, ‘Blinken, you are funding a genocide in Gaza. There have been seven mass graves outside of hospitals.’

 ‘This is sick. This is deranged. You are a war criminal. Shame on you,’ she yelled. 

Blinken is advocating before Congress for President Biden’s more than $60 billion budget request for the State Department and the Agency for International Development. Blinken is testifying before the Democrat-controlled Senate first, before the full Foreign Relations Committee, and later Tuesday, before the Appropriations subcommittee.

On Wednesday, the secretary of state is scheduled to return to the Capitol to testify before the Republican-controlled House Foreign Affairs Committee and an appropriations subcommittee. 

During Blinken’s testimony, Cardin, joined by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., John Fetterman, D-Penn., Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Katie Britt, R-Ala., and John Thune, R-S.D., released a statement condemning the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s decision to pursue arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister. ICC prosecutor Karim Khan also accused three Hamas leaders of war crimes and crimes against humanity

‘These actions by the ICC jeopardize efforts to bring about sustainable peace in the Middle East. It puts at risk sensitive negotiations to bring home hostages, including Americans, and surge humanitarian assistance,’ the bipartisan group of senators wrote. ‘The application for arrest warrants also draws a false equivalence between Israel with its longstanding commitment to the rule of law, and Hamas’ theocratic, autocratic, and unaccountable rule over Gaza. To state the obvious: Israel is a functioning democracy, while Hamas is a terrorist organization.’ 

Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Biden administration would be willing to work with Congress to respond to the ICC’s decision to pursue arrest warrants against Israeli leaders. 

‘The extremely wrongheaded decision by the ICC prosecutor yesterday, the shameful equivalence implied between Hamas and the leadership of Israel. I think that only complicates the prospects for getting such an agreement,’ Blinken said, referencing cease-fire talks. ‘We’ll continue to forge ahead to to do that. But that that decision, as you said, on so many levels, is totally wrong headed. And we’ll be happy to work with Congress, with this committee on an appropriate response.’ 

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