Archive: December, 2012

Video: Activists crash private AIPAC fundraiser in San Francisco

Ali Abunimah | Electronic Intifada

Activists briefly disrupted a private fundraiser of the powerful Israel lobby group AIPACat the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco on 4 December.

A video posted on YouTube shows three activists, who had been among a group demonstrating outside the hotel, marching into the private ballroom where the fundraiser was being held.

They were quickly surrounded and expelled, but not before shouting “Free Palestine” and other slogans at the attendees.

Captions in the video explain the activists’ motivations:

Outside the hotel activists staged a noisy demonstration demanding among other things an end to US military aid to Israel.

We had been demonstrating at the Israeli consulate for weeks, standing, yelling, outside, often in the rain. After a short demo some of us were still dissatisfied. We wanted to be sure fundraiser attendees received our message. We hand-wrote some notes and delivered them…

One of the notes read, “Your $$$ goes to help fund the slaughter of innocent children and civilians. FREE PALESTINE.”

The video captions direct people to stopaipac.org for additional information.

AIPAC has increasingly become a target of Palestine solidarity protests, especially at its annual policy conference, under the banner of Occupy AIPAC.

Time to call out the campus Israel Lobby

Tom Pessah | Mondoweiss

Imagine you are a student activist trying to get tobacco products banned from your university. You insist that cigarettes cause cancer, as so much research has shown. Your opponents are other students who claim the connection is tenuous and controversial, that student government should not make judgments on complex health issues, and that some students are so attached to their cigarettes that their very identities would be under attack if such a measure were passed. What if these students called themselves regular smokers, but were in fact trained and sometimes paid representatives of Philip Morris and Marlboro? How much credibility would they have on campus?

The answer depends on whether opponents of tobacco products buy into the frame of two symmetrical student groups – “pro-smokers“ and “anti-smokers,” or whether they call out their opponents for being representatives of external bodies.

One of the biggest failings of pro-Palestine student movement in many U.S. schools is buying into the symmetry frame. We’ve largely accepted the idea that efforts to divest from Israeli apartheid are promoted by pro-Palestine student groups, and opposed by pro-Israel ones (“the Zionists”) – as if these are two symmetrical parties.

But this is a completely false picture. Groups like Students for Justice in Palestine truly are grass-root organizations. Despite persistent rumors about their secret Saudi oil money, SJP chapters hold bake sales to send students their national conferences. On the U.C. Berkeley campus, attention was diverted from SJP’s cookies and brownies by the College Republicans, who put on a lavish spectacle involving students in swimsuits. The SJP sale raised a little under $6.

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