‘Shame on you’: Pro-Palestinian protests at White House Correspondents’ Dinner | Political News

US activists calling for an end to Israel’s war in Gaza held a rally outside the hotel where the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner is held, calling for President Joe Biden’s support for military operations and Western media coverage of the conflict. He blamed “underreporting.” .

But during his 10-minute speech at an event in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Biden made no mention of the war in Gaza or the serious humanitarian crisis there.

Protests at the celebratory event, which is usually dedicated to political scandals and violent hounding of presidents, journalists and comedians, came as anti-war demonstrations spread to U.S. university campuses, with students setting up encampments and police raids. Withstood mopping up. divest universities from companies that enable Israeli military operations in Gaza;

Protests in the US capital forced Mr Biden’s motorcade to take a different route from the White House to the Washington Hilton, where more than 100 protesters, some waving Palestinian flags, rushed to the “Shame on you,” he yelled at the customers as they entered.

At one point, the crowd chanted, “The Western media is watching you, and all the horrors you’re hiding,” and some demonstrators held bloody anti-aircraft cannons with “press” insignia on them. He was sprawled out on the sidewalk, motionless, next to a full-size model of Best.

Inside the Washington Hilton, where the dinner has been held for decades, the crowd cheered when someone unfurled a Palestinian flag from a window on the hotel’s top floor.

Since Israel’s war in Gaza began last October, Israeli forces have killed 142 media workers and arrested at least 40 Palestinian journalists, according to the Gaza government media office.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says 2023 will be the deadliest year for people in the profession in a decade, with around 75% of those killed worldwide reporting on the Gaza war. He said he was a Palestinian.

In his speech, Biden toasted “free press and democracy around the world,” but did not talk about the suffering in Gaza. He spent much of his speech poking fun at his main rival in this year’s presidential election, Donald Trump, and his advanced age.

His speech continued to focus on what he thought was at stake in this election, and how the incoming Trump administration will be more harmful to the country than his first term.

“We have to take this seriously. Eight years ago, we could have dismissed it as a ‘Trump meeting,’ but after January 6, that wasn’t the case.” He told the audience, referring to the Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol after Biden defeated Trump in the election.

One of the few mentions of Gaza came from Kelly O’Donnell, president of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA), who briefly noted that about 100 journalists had been killed in Israel’s war on Gaza.

Biden gives a toast at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C. [Tom Brenner/Reuters]

Ahead of the event, more than 20 Palestinian journalists published a letter calling on their colleagues to boycott the celebrations and accusing the Biden administration of complicity in Israel’s systematic killing of media workers in Gaza.

“The cost to us simply of fulfilling our journalistic duties is staggering,” the letter reads. “We are subjected to detention, interrogation and torture by Israeli forces, all for ‘crimes’ against journalistic integrity.”

One organizer complained that the WHCA, which represents hundreds of journalists covering the president, has been largely silent about the killings of Palestinian journalists since the first weeks of the war. WHCA did not respond to requests for comment.

American-Palestinian journalist Ahmed Shihab El-Din, one of the signatories of the letter, told NDMT it was “unacceptable” for members of the media to remain silent for fear of jeopardizing their job security. .

“We see journalists in Gaza not only being killed, but continue to be detained, tortured and even their families murdered,” he said.

“President Biden is enabling the destruction and destruction of Israel,” said Sandra Tamari, executive director of the U.S.-based Palestinian advocacy group Adalah Justice Project, which helped compile the letter from journalists in Gaza. It’s a shame that the media eats and laughs with them while they’re there.” Starvation among Palestinians in Gaza. ”

In addition, the Adalah Justice Project has signed a letter calling for protection for journalists in Gaza and has launched an email campaign targeting 12 media executives from various news organizations who will be attending the dinner.

“How can you still go when your colleagues in Gaza are telling you not to go?” one demonstrator asked the demonstrators who were on their way. “You are accomplices.”

People walk past a sign that says Shame on the Media.
Protesters try to block arriving guests outside the Washington Hilton, site of the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner. [Kent Nishimura/Getty via AFP]

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