US Airman Sets Himself on Fire Outside Israeli Embassy

( – The United States’ support of Israel as it battles Hamas in the Gaza Strip has angered many Americans. Activists have nicknamed President Joe Biden “Genocide Joe” for his decision to stand by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Senior Airman Aaron Bushnell was one of the individuals who did not support the conflict, and he demonstrated that in a shocking way.

Bushnell traveled to Washington, DC., on February 25, to protest the US’ involvement in the conflict. He walked up to the Israeli embassy just before 1 p.m. and started livestreaming on Twitch. He spoke into the camera and said he was an active-duty member of the Air Force and didn’t want to “be complicit in genocide.” The 25-year-old then said that he was going to “engage in an extreme act of protest” but said it was nothing compared to what the Palestinian people were experiencing “at the hands of their colonizers.”

The airman then set his phone down and walked up the driveway of the Israeli embassy. He began dousing himself in liquid and shouted “Free Palestine” repeatedly. Bushnell then lit himself on fire. As the active-duty service member burned, he continued screaming about ending the conflict in Palestine.

Authorities extinguished the flames, and first responders rushed him to the hospital, where he later died.

Bushnell worked as a cyber defense operations specialist for the Air Force. Col. Celina Noyes, an Air Force commander who oversees the airman’s unit, issued a statement saying the entire military branch was feeling the impact of the tragedy. She said they were extending their “deepest sympathies to the [airman’s] family and friends.”

Before Bushnell lit himself on fire, he posted one last message on Facebook. He said that people often ask themselves how they would have reacted if they lived during some of the worst points in American history, like the Jim Crow South or slavery. He claimed that’s what we are all living through now.

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