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The Hill: AIPAC Wants War With Iran. We Don’t!

AIPAC wants war with Iran. We Dont!

AIPAC wants war with Iran.

On March 6, 2012, Occupy AIPAC placed an ad in the Washington daily The Hill with an open letter to Congress from Americans of the 99% and a coalition of peace, justice, and interfaith organizations.

Click here to download the PDF file

To the Members of the United States Congress: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is on the warpath—this time with Iran. They say the U.S. should be willing to attack Iran or support an Israeli attack.

AIPAC pushed our government into the catastrophic war in Iraq by exaggerating Saddam Hussein’s threat and lying about weapons of mass destruction. Now they are repeating history, with AIPAC lobbyists vastly exaggerating Iran’s nuclear threat and eschewing negotiations. AIPAC continues to lobby for policies that prohibit a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians and support violations of international law. AIPAC’s views do not represent the values and interests of the majority of the American people who voted for you, who pay the taxes that fund our government, and whose family members serve in the U.S. military.

The majority of Americans do not want another war in the Middle East and the US can’t afford a war during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The Iraq war left thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead. We implore you not to repeat this tragic mistake. Say no to AIPAC, no to war with Iran and yes to diplomacy.

Citizens Occupy AIPAC Policy Conference and Mic Check Rep. Ros-Lehtinen

For Immediate Release

Citizens Occupy AIPAC Policy Conference and Mic Check Cong. Ros-Lehtinen:
Use Diplomacy, Not War on Iran

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Washington, DC—An AIPAC Policy Conference panel titled “Stopping Iran” had some unexpected speakers: activists with Occupy AIPAC who stood up and “mic checked” Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Israeli Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff. At about 2pm on March 5, four activists called out AIPAC for pushing for American support for an Israeli attack on Iran. One activist was violently attacked by an AIPAC member who used his tie to strangle the peaceful protester. Later in the afternoon two activists unfurled a “Don’t Bomb Iran” banner inside the AIPAC hall. Security promptly pushed them out of the hall, and also forcefully removed an AIPAC delegate who had nothing to do with the action, but was taken out for being a bystander.

The full People’s Microphone inside the panel said:
“Mic check!
Ros-Lehtinen is pushing war
based on lies.
We are the 99%
Wars benefit the 1%
Don’t bomb Iran!
Diplomacy not bombs.
AIPAC supports endless war.
We support peace.
Occupy Wall Street not Iran.
Occupy Wall Street not Palestine.
No war on Iran.”

Shortly after the people’s mic began, the crowd of AIPAC attendees reacted forcefully. Some of them climbed over chairs to reach the demonstrators, and one of the disruptors, Rick Colbath-Hess, was violently yanked down to the floor by his necktie. After the mic-check, Laura Kacere of Occupy DC and Ridgely Fuller of CODEPINK and Occupy Boston both stood on top of chairs and chanted “Don’t bomb Iran!” The AIPAC crowd responded by singing the Israeli national anthem, led by Representative Ros-Lehtinen, and the activists were eventually escorted out.

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The Real News: Occupy AIPAC Opposes War and Sanctions Against Iran

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130 organizations call for diplomacy with Iran and a US Middle East policy not based on unequivocal support for Israel.

AIPAC Works for the 1%

Chris Hedges | TruthDig

Chris Hedges gave this talk Saturday night in Washington, D.C., at the Occupy AIPAC protest, organized by CODEPINK Women for Peace and other peace, faith and solidarity groups.

The battle for justice in the Middle East is our battle. It is part of the vast, global battle against the 1 percent. It is about living rather than dying. It is about communicating rather than killing. It is about love rather than hate. It is part of the great battle against the corporate forces of death that reign over us—the fossil fuel industry, the weapons manufacturers, the security and surveillance state, the speculators on Wall Street, the oligarchic elites who assault our poor, our working men and women, our children, one in four of whom depend on food stamps to eat, the elites who are destroying our ecosystem with its trees, its air and its water and throwing into doubt our survival as a species.

What is being done in Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison, is a pale reflection of what is slowly happening to the rest of us. It is a window into the rise of the global security state, our new governing system that the political philosopher Sheldon Wolincalls “inverted totalitarianism.” It is a reflection of a world where the powerful are not bound by law, either on Wall Street or in the shattered remains of the countries we invade and occupy, including Iraq with its hundreds of thousands of dead. And one of the greatest purveyors of this demented ideology of violence for the sake of violence, this flagrant disregard for the rule of domestic and international law, is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.

I spent seven years in the Middle East. I was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. I lived for two of those seven years in Jerusalem. AIPAC does not speak for Jews or for Israel. It is a mouthpiece for right-wing ideologues, some of whom hold power in Israel and some of whom hold power in Washington, who believe that because they have the capacity to war wage they have a right to wage war, whose loyalty, in the end, is not to the citizens of Israel or Palestine or the United States but the corporate elites, the defense contractors, those who make war a business, those who have turned ordinary Palestinians, Israelis and Americans, along with hundreds of millions of the world’s poor, into commodities to exploit, repress and control.

We have not brought freedom, democracy and the virtues of Western civilization to the Muslim world. We have brought state terrorism, massive destruction, war and death. There is no moral distinction between a drone strike and the explosion of the improvised explosive device, between a suicide bombing and a targeted assassination. We have used the iron fist of the American military to implant our oil companies in Iraq, occupy Afghanistan and ensure that the Muslim world remains submissive and compliant. We have supported a government in Israel that has carried out egregious war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza and is daily stealing larger and larger portions of Palestinian land. We have established a network of military bases, some the size of small cities, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Kuwait, and we have secured basing rights in the Gulf states of Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. We have expanded our military operations to Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Egypt, Algeria and Yemen. And no one believes, except perhaps us, that we have any intention of leaving.

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ON TV (Arabic): Occupy AIPAC

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Press Conference at National Press Club on AIPAC and Israel’s Policy on Iran, followed by protest at White House

For Immediate Release

Press Conference: 11am, Monday, March 5, 2012, Morrow Room, National Press Club, 529 14th Street, Washington, DC 20045
Protest: 12:30pm, White House (Pennsylvania Ave)

Washington, DC—Veteran, Iranian-American and interfaith groups will challenge The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its support for an Israeli attack on Iran in a press conference, at 11am, Monday, March 5, 2012 as President Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The Conference and protest are timed to coincide with AIPAC’s annual conference, which has been laying the groundwork for a military confrontation with Iran.

Veterans for Peace National President Retired US Navy Commander Leah Bolger said, “Obama needs to talk sense to Netanyahu when he meets him on Monday.” Bolger emphasized that “we need the President to announce that he will not allow the United States to be drawn into war if Israel attacks Iran or provokes hostilities in some other way.”

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Jewish Activist to AIPAC: Stop Silencing Dissent!

Young Jewish activist disrupts AIPAC panel about “Israel on Campus”: Stop Silencing Dissent and Supporting Settlement Expansion

Liza Behrendt, 22 year old member of Young Jewish and Proud, the youth wing of Jewish Voice for Peace, stood up during a breakout session called “The Struggle to Secure Israel on Campus” to call attention to the silencing of Palestinians— and young Jews who support them — on U.S. campuses.  Liza stood on stage and unfurled a banner that read, “Settlements Betray Jewish Values” and “Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof,” the Jewish text from Deuteronomy meaning “Justice, Justice, You Shall Pursue.”

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The panel included officials from AIPAC, Stand With Us, The David Project, and Hillel, who discussed tactics for opposing human rights groups on campus, an in particular those that promote the use of Boycott, Divestment or Sanctions (BDS) to pressure Israel to be accountable to international law. Panelist Wayne Firestone, CEO of Hillel, last year issued controversial guidelines barring Hillel groups from partnering with organizations that support any facet of the BDS movement or that lack a specifically Zionist stance. “I felt it was necessary to confront Wayne Firestone, whose condescending guidelines barred my Brandeis University chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace from joining Hillel last spring. Hillel’s guidelines are part of organized efforts to enforce an ideological status quo among young Jews on Israel, but they are completely out of touch with what’s happening among young people,” said Liza Behrendt.

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Kate Gould: Lobbying Our Way Out of a US Attack on Iran

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Anonymous: Occupy AIPAC

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Protesters to rally outside of AIPAC Conference, Oppose war on Iran

For Immediate Release

11AM-2PM Washington, DC: While President Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres are speaking at the AIPAC Forum, some 400 Occupy AIPACers and local occupiers will demonstrate outside AIPAC Policy Conference urging Obama to engage in diplomacy with Iran.

Visuals: Giant letters to spell out “NO WAR ON IRAN”, puppets, mock checkpoint and Annexation Wall, flashmob, and more.

The hyperbolic rhetoric promoted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spread to American politicians in an escalating discourse over US Foreign Policy towards Iran. Hundreds of people will be countering this rhetoric with messages of peace in the Middle East.

“After 10 years of war, the American people need a foreign policy that focuses on diplomacy, not military intervention,” Medea Benjamin said. “We are rallying to demand that our current leaders not take us down the same path as past leaders did in Iraq.”

The Occupy AIPAC coalition is gathering to urge Obama to reject the Israeli administration’s push for war on Iran and insist on respect for Palestinian rights. Timed to coincide with the annual AIPAC policy conference from March 3-6, the Occupy AIPAC summit will be a long weekend of events and protests that draw attention to the role of AIPAC as a special interest lobby that maintains a stranglehold over US policies. As the Occupy Movement has focused public ire on the role of large corporations and powerful lobby groups, hundreds will gather in DC to protest AIPAC’s push for war.

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