Tag: Occupy AIPAC 2012

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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Question: What do you and Benjamin Netanyahu have in common?

Occupy AIPAC

Occupy AIPAC

Answer: you will both be in Washington DC for policy conferences in just a few weeks…

Dear friends,

It’s true. This year, both Netanyahu and Peres will be present at the annual AIPAC Policy Conference, along with a high number of our Congressional representatives. With the objective of pushing for war on Iran and justifying the ongoing, egregious violations of Palestinian rights, AIPAC will convene in Washington DC.

Register now to join the hundreds of people who will be coming between March 2 and 6 to protest against AIPAC and take part in the Occupy AIPAC counter-summit.

Under the banner of Occupy AIPAC, this long weekend will include a policy summit with panels on Iran, the Arab uprisings, Palestine/Israel and AIPAC, film screenings, mass protests, a teach-in on diplomacy and alternatives to war, creative actions, a cultural night, workshops, and a Capitol Hill policy briefing on the impact of U.S. military aid to Israel on Palestinians.

Featured speakers and performers will include author Suad Amiry, Egyptian activist Dina Darwish, Managing Editor of The Nation Roane Carey, Iranian activist Sanam Anderlini, lawyer and advocate Diana Buttu, Jadaliyya co-founder and editor Bassam Haddad, poet Remi Kanazi, AMP co-founder Hatem Bazian, comedian Said Durrah, activist Bill Fletcher Jr., Iran analyst Jamal Abdi, author Phyllis Bennis, and more!

Now is the time to make a large, people-powered push to oppose the Israel lobby’s stranglehold of our government. During this weekend, we will challenge the Israel lobby in their pursuit of war with Iran and promote a just foreign policy in the Middle East- in the streets and with our teach-ins and discussions.

Register for the conference and/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!

Chris Hedges to Speak at Occupy AIPAC

Chris Hedges speaks at Occupy AIPAC

Chris Hedges

We are excited to announce Chris Hedges will be our closing speaker!

Chris Hedges was the Middle East Bureau Chief for the New York Times. He is an Arabic speaker and spent seven years in the region, including many months in the Israeli occupied territories. Hedges, who was part of a team at the paper that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for their work on global terrorism, is an outspoken critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians as well as a fierce opponent of the Iraq war. He left the New York Times after being issued a formal written reprimand to stop speaking out against the invasion and occupation of Iraq, a restriction he refused to accept.

Hedges has authored nine books including the best sellers War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle and Death of the Liberal Class. His newest book, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, which he wrote with the graphic illustrator Joe Sacco, is due out in June.

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

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.

Occupy AIPAC to Host a Sneak Preview of ‘Roadmap to Apartheid’

Join us on Friday night, March 2nd in Washington DC for a sneak preview of the soon to be released film, Roadmap to Apartheid. With a discussion led by Nehad Khader.

Nehad Khader is an educator, artist, and curator from Philadelphia. Her graduate work focused on art and authoritarianism and art and resistance. She is currently working on a multimedia piece about her mother’s first return to Haifa.

When: Friday, March 2, 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Where: Busboys and Poets on 5th&K

Filmmakers Ana Nogueira and Eron Davidson make a bold and necessary analysis of the current situation in Palestine. Narrated by Alice Walker, Roadmap to Apartheid explores in detail the apartheid comparison as it is used in the enduring Israel-Palestine conflict. Visit http://roadmaptoapartheid.org/ to learn more or support their work.

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General Assembly Resolution: Occupy AIPAC!

Corporate Flag of America

Corporate Flag of America (via Adbusters)

As the Occupy Movement articulates demands for social and economic justice in the United States and around the world, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has become a mandatory target.

AIPAC and its dozens of affiliate groups through which it funnels campaign donations have our Congress in their thrall. Not only is this stranglehold unacceptable, but it also endangers our country as many of AIPAC’s purported policies are out of alignment with our national security interests.

AIPAC’s lobbying has resulted in Israel’s receiving 3 billions dollars a year in U.S. military aid. Our tax dollars are used to purchase U.S. weapons, which are used to police a brutal military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. U.S. made and subsidized helicopters, weaponized bulldozers, and tear gas canisters are used against Palestinian civilians to devastating effect.

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Rae Abileah Invites You to Occupy AIPAC!

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New Co-sponsors for Occupy AIPAC Conference

We are excited to announce that the policy panels for the conference portion of our program are being co-sponsored by the Institute for Policy Studies and Just Foreign Policy. Both have a rich history of providing valuable resources and organizing to promote justice.

The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), Washington’s first progressive multi-issue think tank, has served as a policy and research resource for visionary social justice movements for over four decades — from the anti-war and civil rights movements in the 1960s to the peace and global justice movements of the last decade. Some of the greatest progressive minds of the 20th and 21st centuries have found a home at IPS, starting with the organization’s founders, Richard Barnet and Marcus Raskin. IPS scholars have included such luminaries as Arthur Waskow, Gar Alperovitz, Saul Landau, Bob Moses, Rita Mae Brown, Barbara Ehrenreich, Roger Wilkins and Orlando Letelier.

Today the Institute’s work is organized into more than a dozen projects, reflecting our public scholars’ diverse areas of expertise. In practice, these projects collaborate strategically to pursue three overarching policy goals: Peace, Justice and Environment. Read more about the history of IPS.

Just Foreign Policy is an independent and non-partisan membership organization dedicated to reforming U.S. foreign policy by mobilizing and organizing the broad majority of Americans who want a foreign policy based on diplomacy, law and cooperation. Read more about Just Foreign Policy.

Suad Amiry to Join Occupy AIPAC

We are pleased to announce that Suad Amiry will be joining our cultural event ensemble on Saturday night, the 3rd of March 2012!

Suad Amiry is a comedian and author of the bestselling book, Sharon and My Mother-in-Law. Suad, an architect by training, is also the director and founder of the Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation. The center was founded in 1991 and is the first of its kind to work on the rehabilitation and protection of architectural heritage in Palestine.

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Save the Date: Occupy AIPAC, Not Palestine!

Save the Date

Join us in Washington D.C. March 3-5, 2012 for Move Over AIPAC: Time for a New Middle East Policy!
This not-to-miss weekend will include panel discussions, cultural events, music and poetry, creative protests, Congressional visits, and more!

We will have three exciting plenaries on Palestine, the Arab Spring, and Iran, with a focus on the impact of the Israel lobby in shaping US policy towards the Middle East.

Come join in creative direct action and protest outside the annual AIPAC Policy Conference to show our Congress and President Obama that we do not support the AIPAC stranglehold over US foreign policy.

We will also be hosting a cultural night on Saturday, March 3rd, devoted to the poets, musicians and comedians of Palestine. Performances will include author of Sharon and My Mother-in-Law Suad Amiry, Palestinian-American poet Remi Kanazi and many more.

It’s time to #Occupy AIPAC, not Palestine!
Stay tuned as we develop our program for this exciting weekend gathering.

Brought to you by CODEPINK.  To endorse or join the organizing team, email occupyaipac[at]gmail.com.