Tag: AIPAC

Stand up to AIPAC in Cincinnati

Cincinnati ProtestStand up to AIPAC in Cincinnati

For years the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has served to prevent an honest discussion of the Israel-Palestine conflict and supported actions that block a peaceful resolution. This month they are fundraising in Cincinnati.

Come out and show that you don’t agree with AIPAC’s support of the most oppressive of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians and their constant drive for war with Iran.

FB event updates: https://www.facebook.com/events/509002149146920/

What: Protest AIPAC
When: Monday April 22nd, 5-7pm
Where: Meet on the street across from the JCC
(8485 Ridge Rd Cincinnati, OH 45236)

See you there!
Cincinnati Palestine Solidarity Coalition

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.

CODEPINK protester victorious over AIPAC assailant

Medea Benjamin | Mondoweiss

Rae Abileah at AIPAC's annual conference, 2011. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

It is not every day that the voices for justice triumph over the actions of the rich and powerful, especially when it comes to the Israel-Palestine debate. That’s why it is so important to acknowledge and celebrate the settlement just negotiated by CODEPINK activist Rae Abileah and her lawyers after suing American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) volunteer lobbyist Stanley Shulster.

It all started on May 24, 2011, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington, DC speaking before a joint session of Congress. Abileah, a 29-year-old Jewish woman who has traveled to the West Bank, Israel and Gaza, was in the audience. She became more and more appalled as she listened to Netanyahu’s speech and watched our congresspeople giving him a stream of standing ovations. “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 Palestinian unity government,” said Abileah.

So Abileah did what most people would never have the courage to do. She got up and shouted: “No More Occupation! Stop Israeli War Crimes! Equal Rights for Palestinians!” And she unfurled a banner that read: “Occupying Land is Indefensible!”

She was immediately grabbed, violently pulled toward the floor, and gagged—not by the Capitol Police but by a member of the audience, Stanley Shulster, a retired attorney from Ashland, Oregon, who had traveled to Washington DC to attend the yearly conference of the Israel lobby group AIPAC. An online bio for Shulster revealed that he was an unpaid lobbyist, a volunteer in the Israeli Defense Forces, and a Navy veteran. In his bio Shulster bragged that he “grabbed the woman who heckled the Prime Minister while he was speaking.”

Abileah was rushed to the hospital, where she was treated for neck and shoulder injuries. She subsequently had to undergo months of physical therapy, chiropractic care and other treatments to heal from these injuries.

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Israeli MK, AIPAC behind Senate bid to cut total number of Palestinian refugees

Barak Ravid | Ha’aretz

A Palestinian family from the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp sitting in the southern Sidon Municipality square, Lebanon Monday, June 4, 2007. Photo by AP

A Palestinian family from the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp sitting in the southern Sidon Municipality square, Lebanon Monday, June 4, 2007. Photo by AP

Capitol Hill in Washington was rocked late last month when the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment requiring the State Department, for the first time, to do a “count” of Palestinian refugees.

The amendment required the State Department to specify how many of the five million Palestinians who receive aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency are refugees who were personally displaced from their homes in 1948, and how many are descendants of those refugees.

Known as the Kirk Amendment, after its sponsor, Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), considered one of Israel’s strongest supporters in Washington, the bill conceals within its 150-plus words a fierce battle between Republican legislators and the State Department over the United States’ relationship with UN institutions.

Every year the United States allocates $250 million to UNRWA, which provides food as well as health, education and employment services to millions of Palestinians in Jordan, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. For years Congressional representatives have been trying to reduce U.S. contributions to the agency, on the grounds that UNRWA was born in sin and that its policies are anti-Israeli.

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Oregon Palestine solidarity & Occupy activists to protest AIPAC

For Immediate Release

Portland, Oregon. A coalition of peace, human rights, and Palestine solidarity organizations announced today that they would hold a demonstration outside the annual Oregon fund-raising dinner of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Sunday, April 29. The demonstration will protest AIPAC’s role in promoting a military attack on Iran’s nuclear energy facilities. The protest is also calling for an end to U.S. military aid to the Israeli apartheid government, which refuses to halt the construction of illegal settlements and routinely violates the human rights of Palestinians living under Occupation. Israel controls the lives of more than 4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip but denies them the right to vote or to exercise their right to self-determination.

Some Oregon political leaders have regularly attended AIPAC’s annual fundraiser in past years. This year the protesters are asking Oregon’s leaders to represent their constituencies’ opposition to another unjust war in the Middle East by boycotting AIPAC’s gala. Among the groups protesting are Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights (AUPHR), Jewish Voice for Peace – Portland (JVP), Occupy Portland, Peace and Justice Works – Iraq Affinity Group, and Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER).

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Al Jazeera: What role does AIPAC play in US elections?

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The American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most powerful pro-Israel lobby in the US, is holding its biggest annual conference yet with around 13,000 delegates in Washington.

For all those bidding to become the next US president, it has become an essential campaign stop. The group has strong ties to the religious right and evangelical voters. And it is a very influential force in Washington politics.

Demonstrators from the occupy movement held a small protest outside the event urging no war on Iran and no US tax dollars for Israel.

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10 Reasons Why the Israel Lobby AIPAC is So Dangerous

Medea Benjamin

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is one of the most powerful lobby organizations in the country. AIPAC’s clout helps fuel a never-ending cycle of violence in the Middle East.

Here are ten reasons why AIPAC is so dangerous.

1. AIPAC is lobbying Congress to promote a military confrontation with Iran. AIPAC – like the Israeli government – is demanding that the U.S. attack Iran militarily to prevent Iran from having the technological capacity to produce nuclear weapons, even though U.S. officials say Iran isn’t trying to build a weapon (and even though Israel has hundreds of undeclared nuclear weapons). AIPAC has successfully lobbied the U.S. government to adopt crippling economic sanctions on Iran, including trying to cut off Iran’s oil exports, despite the fact that these sanctions raise the price of gas and threaten the U.S. economy.

2. AIPAC promotes Israeli policies that are in direct opposition to international law. These include the establishment of colonies (settlements) in the Occupied West Bank and the confiscation of Palestinian land in its construction of the 26-foot high concrete “separation barrier” running through the West Bank. The support of these illegal practices makes to impossible to achieve a solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict.

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Will You Occupy AIPAC?

Dear friends,

We are excited to announce that plans for OCCUPY AIPAC are under way and we hope you will join us March 2-6 in Washington DC.

With the Occupy movement that has swept the country demanding social and economic justice, many have concluded that AIPAC—the powerful pro-Israeli government lobby that distorts U.S. policy in the Middle East— is a mandatory “occupy target”. Adbusters, the magazine that issued the initial visionary call for the takeover of Wall St. on September 17th, has declared: “The time has come for the Occupy Movement to demand an end to the Occupation of Palestine… We need a hashtag, #occupyAIPAC” (Kalle Lasn).

Timed to coincide with the annual AIPAC policy conference in March 2012, the Occupy AIPAC summit will be a long weekend of teach-ins, cultural performances, protests and creative direct actions, and a sneak preview of the forthcoming film Roadmap to Apartheid. Co-sponsored by The Nation, the Institute of Policy Studies, CODEPINK and Just Foreign Policy, the Saturday conference will feature educational panels on Iran, Palestine, the Arab Uprisings and the Occupy Movement (see the list of speakers). The Occupy AIPAC summit is endorsed and supported by a variety of organizations including the Interfaith Peace Builders (IFPB), the US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), Jewish Voice for Peace, Students for Justice in Palestine chapters, and over 120 other groups.

Right now AIPAC is trying to drag us into a disastrous conflict with Iran, just as they had pushed for the Iraq war. We must show our opposition by exposing AIPAC and standing against a war with Iran. AIPAC’s underhanded tactics and their manipulation of our political process destroys the possibility of a just peace in the Middle East. Recent public criticisms of the Israel lobby make the call to Occupy AIPAC all the more relevant.

Now is the time to make a large, people-powered push to show our opposition to the stranglehold the Israel lobby continues to hold over our government.

Register for the conference or support this summit with a donation. Your outreach and presence is critical to help us ensure a strong turnout, because now is the time to Occupy AIPAC, not Palestine!

In solidarity,
Medea, Rae, Alli and Sasha
The Occupy AIPAC team
http://occupyaipac.org
@occupyaipac

In addition to peace and justice groups around the country, we are reaching out to Occupy communities for support and participation (see the Occupy AIPAC GA resolution). If your group would like to endorse or join this effort, please email occupyaipac@gmail.com.

Visiting the Office of Congressional Ethics About AIPAC Junkets to Israel

By Medea Benjamin

Two members of CODEPINK, Tighe Barry and myself, along with Grant Smith from IRmep had a meeting with three lawyers from the Office Of Congressional Ethics (including the OCE’s director) about the complaint we submitted regarding AIEF/AIPAC trips to Israel. We walked them through our complaint, including the growing body of evidence that AIEF functions more as a lobbying slush fund than a legitimate charitable nonprofit.

OCE explained the rules from their more narrow perspective. They said that while AIPAC might be taking advantage of every loophole, the trips may not be illegal. OCE explained that without documentable “factual evidence” of wrongdoing, they won’t initiate an investigation— and that it is up to us to provide that evidence.

Such evidence could include proof of AIPAC lobbyists contacting members to arrange the trips, AIPAC lobbyists traveling with members on the same jet liner, or AIEF “retaining or employing a lobbyist.” The OCE’s definition of a lobbyist is extremely narrow—and AIPAC claims to employ only nine such individuals on its domestic disclosures.

While OCE agreed that AIPAC may quite likely have had a hand in these trips, and may even be overstepping the lines of legality, we simply need more proof to trigger OCE action.

When we revealed the fact that AIEF has no employees, that 66% of its board are also AIPAC directors, and that the trips were organized by AIPAC staff, OCE claimed that was not illegal. Employees, if they are not registered lobbyists but simply “work for” a lobbyist group, are allowed to “volunteer their time” to work for AIEF. We were told that it is also legal for the executive director of AIEF to have his salary paid by AIPAC (which is the case now), because he is not a registered lobbyist. If any of the AIPAC lobbyists were involved in any aspect of the trip, that would be illegal, but this would also be pretty much impossible for us to prove. (And OCE clarified that if any proof were obtained illegally/or involved attorney/client privileged information, they would not be allowed to accept it as evidence.)

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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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