We are excited announce that we have a delegation from the Middle East and North Africa that will be joining us at the Move Over AIPAC conference. The delegates are coming from Palestine, Kuwait, Tunisia, Algeria, Bahrain, Israel and Lebanon. They are part of the Leaders for Democracy Fellows Program for Emerging Leaders run by Maxwell School’s Executive Education Department. Let’s make sure they feel welcomed!
Join Us as We Call for a Meaningful Peace Process and an End to Israeli Abuses
Mark your calendars!
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will be visiting the US May 21-24. In a move contrary to supporting democracy and justice, President Obama will be addressing AIPAC on Sunday morning. This is a critical time to send a message to Netanyahu and our elected leaders that we want an end to Israeli violations of human rights and the start of a real peace process.
Join us at the following creative protests that are part of the week’s Move Over AIPAC campaign
The Arab democratic spring, striving to end authoritarian rule and establish freedoms and social justice, has not been welcome by all. Israel and its main lobby in the U.S., the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), for instance, appear to have been caught off guard and visibly disturbed by the seemingly irreversible transformations that these uprisings promise to bring about in the Arab world and, to an extent, the world at large.
Having stood on the wrong side of history during the Tunisian and then the Egyptian revolutions, supporting the despots and authoritarian regimes against the people, Israel has a lot to lose from the democratic winds of change in the region. When Hosni Mubarak was about to be overthrown by the people’s revolution in Egypt Israel launched a diplomatic campaign to convince key Western capitals to support him lest stability is lost and Israel’s other tyrannical friends in the region feel abandoned.
In Tunisia, as well, the vaunted electronic surveillance apparatus of the former dictator Ben-Ali was run in close cooperation with Israel, as exposed by Tunisian civil society organizations. With more of Israel’s friends in the region being dethroned, it is becoming abundantly clear how much Israel and its Western partners have invested in safeguarding and buttressing the unelected, autocratic regimes in the Arab world, partially to make a self-fulfilling prophecy of Israel as the “villa in the midst of the jungle” — the myth often repeated by AIPAC. The impact of debunking that myth cannot be overstated. Israel has, for decades, extracted billions of dollars, not to mention diplomatic, political, and scientific support from the U.S. and European states partially based on this misleading image of Israeli democracy, and despite all the evidence to the contrary. A state that has been imposing an occupation regime for almost 44 years on Palestinians in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza, that has denied on racial grounds millions of refugees their UN-sanctioned right to return home, and that is regularly condemned by its chief benefactor and ally, the U.S. government, for its “system of institutional, legal and societal discrimination” against its own Palestinian minority carrying Israeli citizenship cannot reasonably be regarded as a “democracy.”
CODEPINK interns, activists and artists Dara and Sanaa tell us why they are Moving Over AIPAC in DC May 21 – 24
We are pleased to announce that Ambassador Charles Freeman will be presenting his book America’s Misadventures at the Move Over AIPAC Conference on Saturday, May 21st at 12:30pm. Freeman has served as an American diplomat in China, Thailand and Africa, and as the United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1989 to 1992. He is a past president of the Middle East Policy Council.
Freeman was nominated in 2009 as chair of the National Intelligence Council because of his diverse background in defense, diplomacy and intelligence. News of his nomination infuriated the pro-Israel lobby and AIPAC launched a libel campaign against him. Ultimately, Freeman withdrew his nomination, publicly stating that, “I do not believe the National Intelligence Council could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country.”
Hedy Epstein | MondoWeiss
At the end of one of my first journeys to the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 2004, I endured a shocking experience at Ben-Gurion Airport. I never imagined that Israeli security forces would abuse a 79-year-old Holocaust survivor, but they held me for five hours, and strip-searched and cavity-searched every part of my naked body. The only shame these security officials expressed was to turn their badges around so that their names were invisible.
The only conceivable purpose for this gross violation of my bodily integrity was to humiliate and terrify me. But it had just the opposite effect. It made me more determined to speak out against abuses by the Israeli government and military.
Yet my own experience, unpleasant as it was, is nothing compared to the indignities and abuses heaped on Palestinians year after year. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is based not on equal rights and fair play, but on what Human Rights Watch has termed a “two-tier” legal system – in other words, apartheid, with one set of laws for Jews and a harsh, oppressive set of laws for Palestinians.
New video: Nadia Hijab’s special announcement on why she will be speaking at the Move Over AIPAC Summit in Washington, DC May 21:
Famous clown-doctor Patch Adams and CODEPINK & Global Exchange cofounder Medea Benjamin invite you to join us in DC:
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.