Category: Blogs

Why I Am Going To Occupy AIPAC. Won’t You Come Too?

Lisa, Codepink Maine coordinator | Went 2 the Bridge

I am going to occupy AIPAC in solidarity with my sisters who were assaulted last year: Rae Abileah in Congress during Netanyahu’s speech, plus four activists inside the AIPAC gala.

What is AIPAC? An acronym for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful lobbying group that makes sure $3 billion in U.S. aid to Israel (the 5th wealthiest nation in the world) continues every year, pressuring Congress and the White House on various foreign policies by means of campaign contributions and other inducements. AIPAC could be the poster child for the baneful effects of money on government decried by the 99%.

I am going to occupy AIPAC because my government targets people organizing to bring attention to apartheid and injustice in Palestine, harassing activists by means of search warrants, theft of their property, grand jury subpoenas, and terrorism charges; and that makes me scared, but I am inspired to face down my fear.

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Rae Abileah Invites You to Occupy AIPAC!

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Congress Sees Middle East Through AIPAC-Colored Glasses

During August recess this year, 81 members of Congress went on a junket to Israel funded by the Israel lobby group AIPAC (well, funded by the American Israel Education Fund, but they are really one and the same) to “learn first-hand about one of our closest friends and allies.” While the representatives insist they got a balanced view, their itinerary belies that claim: 95% of their time was spent hearing the Israeli government point of view, with only one token meeting with Palestinian reps.

CODEPINK has filed a complaint with the Congressional Ethics Committee stating that these trips—and the upcoming ones scheduled for December–violate the Congressional prohibition on traveling with a lobby group. We feel these Potemkin voyages are part of AIPAC’s grand plan to control and monopolize Congress, which is not just unethical, but dangerous. Their bias reinforces a disastrous U.S. policy of unconditional support for Israel that obstructs peace and runs counter to our national interests.

At a recent Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, entitled “Promoting Peace? Reexamining US Aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA)”, we got a glimpse of what happens when Congress views the Middle East through AIPAC-colored glasses. Here are a few of examples of their tunnel vision:

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Rae Abileah: Why Did I Disrupt?

Rae Abileah protesting in Congress

Rae Abileah protesting in Congress

Do you know that our Congress gave 29 standing ovations to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he spoke on Tuesday? I couldn’t watch this hero’s welcome for a man who supports the continued building of illegal settlements, won’t lift the siege of Gaza and refuses to negotiate with the new Palestinian unity government. During the talk, I got up from my seat in the Capital Gallery and shouted, “No More Occupation! Stop Israeli War Crimes! Equal Rights for Palestinians!”

I was tackled, gagged, tossed to the floor and ended up in the hospital. You can read more about my experience here. The outpouring of support I have been receiving from all over the world has been astounding. A woman in Iraq said she was moved to tears seeing a Jewish-American speaking out. A man in Gaza wished me a speedy recovery and quoted the civil rights song “We Shall Overcome.” I even got a message of gratitude from Brad Pitt!

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Spoof AIPAC Gala Program

To the surprise of many AIPAC participants to the Monday night Gala, they were handed a glossy update to the evening’s program with Bibi Netanyahu and US speakers. The light-hearted spoof included the musical revue “We Arm the World” by Israel’s vaudeville troupe The Dazzling Cluster Bomblets, a talk by Congressman Eric Cantor on how to best play the anti-semitism card, a Netanyahu keynote entitled “We’re Right and Every Other Country in the World is Wrong (except the U.S., Micronesia and Palau) and workshops such as How to Make Victims Look Like Aggressors: Lessons from the Mavi Marmara. Light-hearted but oh so true. We hope that it provoked some reflection from a few of the AIPAC revelers.

Download our spoof program

Penny for Your Thoughts…

Move Over AIPAC Dialogue Booth

Move Over AIPAC Dialogue Booth

At our gathering across from the AIPAC Summit, we’ll have two “Dialogue Booths” where we’ll be encouraging AIPAC attendees to come talk to us. Let’s hope we can get some good conversations going!

CODEPINK is Moving Over AIPAC!

CODEPINK interns, activists and artists Dara and Sanaa tell us why they are Moving Over AIPAC in DC May 21 – 24

Palestinian Author & Human Rights Advocate Nadia Hijab Invites You to Move Over AIPAC

New video: Nadia Hijab’s special announcement on why she will be speaking at the Move Over AIPAC Summit in Washington, DC May 21:

Clown Doctor Patch Adams and Activist Medea Benjamin on Why AI-PAC a Day is Too Much

Famous clown-doctor Patch Adams and CODEPINK & Global Exchange cofounder Medea Benjamin invite you to join us in DC:

Why I’m Going to Move Over AIPAC – A Young Jewish Perspective

by Rae Abileah (Originally posted on MondoWeiss.)

One year ago this week, on April 14, 2010, I was pulling a bleary-eyed all-nighter at the heated divestment on the UC Berkeley campus about divestment from US corporations profiting from the Israeli occupation.  I was there to testify in support of the bill as a young Jewish-American of Israeli descent. On March 18, UC Berkeley’s student senate had voted 16 to 4 in favor of divestment. A week later, the vote was vetoed by the student senate president. What was behind the defeat of the resolution?  One primary influence: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee – AIPAC.

In a shocking video, top AIPAC official Jonathan Kessler responded to a question about the divestment fight at Berkeley by saying, “We’re going to make sure that pro-Israel students take over the student government and reverse the vote…This is how AIPAC operates in our nation’s capital. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation’s campuses.” And indeed, this year, the perfect AIPAC-Manchurian candidate has taken office: UC Berkeley student body president Noah Stern is a former AIPAC intern (who committed well-documented voter fraud to get elected).

This year, from May 21-24, AIPAC will hold its annual convention, bringing more than 8,000 people from all over the country to our nation’s capital to discuss, commemorate and strengthen the special relationship between Israel and the United States. In addition to AIPAC’s die-hard supporters, more than 1,000 of those attending will be college students representing over 300 campuses from all 50 states, over a quarter of whom are student body presidents selectively targeted by AIPAC. Each year these students receive formal invitations in the mail, offering them a free trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the weekend-long AIPAC seminar followed by a full day of lobbying on Capitol Hill. The goal of this gathering: To secure the relationship between Israel and the United States, to promote further sanctions on Iran, and to ensure continued- if not increased- military aid to Israel. “A great resume builder,” the invitations typically say.

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