CODEPINK activists disrupt Netanyahu (and use the AIPAC director’s table to do it)

Israel/Palestine
on 29 Comments

This week almost 8,000 people from all 50 states are in DC lobby for violence and to incite suffering and warfare. No, it’s not the NRA. It’s the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference, which this year focusses on asking Congress for tightening sanctions on Iran and continued military aid to Israel. The conference crescendo moment was the gala on Monday night, during which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed AIPAC.

Lo and behold, I found myself in the audience listening to the hate speech (including references to people the US targets to kill "in faraway places with strange names") spewing from the lavish stage. When the prime minister announced Israel’s commitment to defense, I could no longer remain silent. After all, what part of denying crayons, notebook paper, and select fruits to Palestinian kids in Gaza has to do with defense?! I jumped onto AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr’s private table alongside the stage and unfurled a pink banner that said “Netanyahu: Build Peace Not Settlements!” I shouted, “Lift the siege of Gaza! No illegal settlements!” as I was forcefully removed from the building. A second disruption came moments later from CODEPINK activist Joan Stallard, from Washington, DC, who shouted, “Stop the settlements!” We were both hauled out and no charges were pressed.

Weeks ago I purchased a ticket to AIPAC’s conference, and shortly thereafter received a certified letter in the post informing me that my registration had been cancelled and my ticket refunded. What list am I on?! I am happy to report that I attended the AIPAC conference anyway.

CODEPINK’s protests of the policies of AIPAC during their national conference this week have included daily morning protests, staging of a checkpoint for attendees, an afternoon press conference announcing the launch of a city-wide boycott of products illegally made in the settlements, and the release this morning of a spoof press release from AIPAC announcing that the organization was calling for a settlement freeze. Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 23, at noon CODEPINK is planning to build a settlement (including homes and beds) inside Senator Schumer’s and Senator Lieberman’s offices (Hart Senate Building, offices 313 and 706).

CODEPINK condemns AIPAC’s silence on the illegal settlements and calls for continued military aid to Israel, which last year was used in the attack on Gaza, breaking international law. With the new tensions between the Obama administration and the Israeli government over settlements, activists believe that now is the time to stop AIPAC from dictating US foreign policy in the Middle East. The timing is right to the break the detrimental influence of AIPAC, which demands unquestioning public and financial support for Israeli despite its illegal actions.

American Jewish peace activists are outraged at the influence that AIPAC has on U.S. policy. “AIPAC supports policies of aggression that damage Israel’s reputation, harm innocent Palestinians, and contribute to making America less safe in the world,” said Jewish-American activist Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK.”

AIPAC’s central message is that the United States and Israel are best friends. But what kind of friend supports another friend to break the law? What kind of friend watches her friend bully and hurt others and says nothing bad, rather affirming how great of a friend she is even amidst lots of other, potentially nicer or less messy, friendships? What kind of friend cannot tolerate criticism, must always be right even when immoral, and is always mooching money even when she’s one of the wealthiest kids in the class? The friendship between the US and Israel seems to be one of enabling abuse and silencing dissent. Sitting in the AIPAC room tonight and listening to the roll call of congresspeople and state officials present, it was clear to me just how deep this unhealthy relationship has manifested. What other country does the US call its best friend, "enduring and forever"?

There is another kid on the playground – the movement for justice for Palestine. And this force is growing every day and refuses to be silent in the face of injustice and violence. Each protest makes a difference, each moment spent sharing truth and spreading courage to resist occupation. Onwards for an end to the siege of Gaza and a full settlement freeze, and one day, justice with peace in Palestine and Israel.

Rae Abileah is a national organizer with CODEPINK Women for Peace. She can be contacted at [email protected]

About Rae Abileah

Rae Abileah is a social change strategist and member of Jewish Voice for Peace who participated in the 21st Presbyterian General Assembly (http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2012/07/11/an-open-letter-to-presbyterian-clergy/). She is a Jewish-American of Israeli descent and lives in California. This month she traveled to Israel/Palestine to co-lead the 50th Interfaith Peace Builders delegation (http://ifpbd50.tumblr.com/). She can be reached at rae [at] raeabileah.com and @raeabileah.

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29 Responses

  1. DICKERSON3870
    March 23, 2010, 1:07 am

    RE: “I jumped onto AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr’s private table alongside the stage and unfurled a pink banner” – Rae Abileah
    MY COMMENT: Nice ‘table dance’! So much incitement! (channeling Avigdor)

    • zamaaz
      March 23, 2010, 7:59 am

      The common attitude among militant (cum activists) characters is bulldozing circumstances…with or without formal cause they tend to short-circuit situations, in many cases – with temper loaded impulsively…I wonder with so many of them in the same cause they cannot formulate measures to pursuit their goals strategically, legally, and formally! But as for me that is a much better situation for everybody. It is not strange for Rae Abileah and Joan Stallard to be in a short-cut likewise kicked out of the room…Good for them!

  2. Jeffrey Blankfort
    March 23, 2010, 1:26 am

    It is refreshing to note how Rae Abileah and Code Pink have no problem recognizing the power of AIPAC over US Middle East Policy, a sordid fact of American political life that has eluded most of what passes for the Left as well as such luminaries as Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein (yes, he too!) and Stephen Zunes. But then none of them, I suspect, have ever set foot in an AIPAC event let alone protested one.

    In fact, in all of Chomsky’s writings about Israel and Palestine and US-Israel relations, I have never been able to find any mention of AIPAC. Indeed, he admitted that in a letter to a mutual friend a few years back. Wrote Chomsky, ” I don’t write about it, I don’t talk about it.”

    If there is Chomskyite out there who can find a reference to AIPAC that I missed, I would be happy to acknowledge it.

    • pineywoodslim
      March 23, 2010, 8:53 am

      Yes, since Chomsky has always minimized the importance of any Israeli Lobby by simply stating that the power elite of both nations have a comity of interests, I would be interested in what he would have to say about Gen. Petraeus’ recent statement regarding Israel putting the US military at risk.

      • Mooser
        March 23, 2010, 9:41 am

        Of course, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan put no Americans at risk, and accomplished oodles of good for America.
        You guys are gonna get so took by this. A guy makes the right noises for a few minutes or so and he becomes your hero.

    • sherbrsi
      March 23, 2010, 10:56 am

      If there is Chomskyite out there who can find a reference to AIPAC that I missed, I would be happy to acknowledge it.

      Here in this debate Chomsky directly confronts the issue of AIPAC, and he outright dismisses its influence and status.

      Influence of the Israel Lobby

      I find that it is not purely co-incidental that the person Chomsky chose to deliberate on the subject with is himself a follower and admirer of Chomsky’s work, and who on the offset denies that there is any fundamental difference in their outlooks at all. It is very telling that the most direct confrontation Chomsky had with this subject is with such a person. He has declined debates with other people more knowledgeable and dissenting on the issue.

      As far as his work goes, I have personally researched Chomsky’s work to find references to AIPAC (not extensively, admittedly, but to my own satisfaction). He not only denies the power of the lobby, but he is personally opposed to its examination (and he even finds the subject distasteful to discuss).

      Besides a very brief review of the book the Israel Lobby (which he reviewed after many requests asking for his personal input), scattered references here and there to the lobby (but notably not AIPAC) and a few occasional interview questions asked in discussion of the conflict, Chomsky doesn’t say anything about the Israel lobby but denies its power and influence as a “marginal irrelevancy.” Small wonder then that he keeps clear of mentioning its greatest manifestation and concentration of power, it would instantly discredit his own political position and literary work.

    • Les
      March 23, 2010, 6:33 pm

      The US media is the real Israel Lobby in the US that people need to comprehend. It is what creates public opinion. The hidden lobby’s disinformation campaign, called “news,” deliberately misleads the public. The campaign secondarily enables, if not encourages, politicians, especially Congressional Democrats, to take money from AIPAC and its ilk to do the Lobby’s bidding. It is the owners and operators ensconced in the upper levels of our media who we need to recognize as the real directors of the Israel Lobby. For example, this includes the New York Times and the paper’s paid propagandists such as Ethan Bronner that work full time to create the public opinion the Lobby wants and to keep our politicians in line. This secret lobby, not anything so public as AIPAC, needs to be understood so it can be disempowered and dissolved. The Israel Lobby is a subversive conspiracy that is not afraid to risk US security as General Petraeus has recently made public. Seeing it for what it is, is the first step to taking away its frightening power.

  3. eGuard
    March 23, 2010, 7:11 am

    Great. Is it to be heard or seen in the c-span report? Or am I to go through it once more?

  4. Taxi
    March 23, 2010, 8:56 am

    CodePink are the greatest, smartest, sexiest, funnest group of humanitarian activists AND they get their job done with dynamic zest!

    I love EVERYTHING about them.

    In fact I love everything pink, I’m not shy to say.

    • yonira
      March 23, 2010, 12:35 pm

      Taxi,

      what did they accomplish exactly here?

      • Taxi
        March 23, 2010, 1:12 pm

        Their antics are simultaneously righteous and amusing.

        link to codepink4peace.org

        There’s no zionist equivalent. All zionist activists are either religious zealots (no sense of humor) or hasbarados twisted by ignorance and hate (again, no sense of humor).

  5. pabelmont
    March 23, 2010, 9:18 am

    Forwards Pink! Do they merely DESCRIBE the settlements as illegal, or do they CALL for removal of settlements (bulldozing?) or for removal of settlers? Hope so. It’s lonely here on an apparent island of one calling for removal of the settlers.

    Would resettling 500,000 people be a “drag” for Israel (and for the settlers)? Sure, but less than the “drag” than the resettlement of the Palestinians in 1948 both because the numbers are smaller and because the receiving country (here Israel) would (in principle) welcome and provide for those displaced.

    And this “drag” would also be of a different flavor because the settlers knew (or should have known) that they were present illegally at international law (whatever Israeli municipal law may have provided), whereas the Palestinians were not present illegally in 1948. In other words, the settlements are an on-going illegality, an illegal invasion (even if, as may perhaps be, the occupation is (or once was) legal per se).

  6. sky7i
    March 23, 2010, 9:52 am

    Imagine what these slick disruptors could do with a pillow and 43 minutes in Netanyahu’s hotel room…

    • Chaos4700
      March 23, 2010, 12:03 pm

      An scandalous pillow fight for peace? Because I think it’s pretty much Israelis who have the monopoly making deadly objects out of nominally non-lethal things, like pillows, bulldozers and tear gas canisters.

  7. Chu
    March 23, 2010, 9:53 am

    Nice job! One voice against 7500 wahoo dittoheads.

  8. Chespirito
    March 23, 2010, 10:45 am

    YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!
    I salute you Ms Abileah and the great Codepink!
    And your fake AIPAC flier was great too, so much defter than the leaden, embarassingly unfunny antics of the Yes Men and Billionaires for Bush. (Sorry but it just has to be said.)

  9. annie
    March 23, 2010, 11:25 am

    here’s a pic of rae in case anyone is in the mood to gaze at here loverly pic. she is an amazing woman . young bright and beautiful and couageous.

    go rae, go code pink!

  10. aparisian
    March 23, 2010, 11:56 am

    I love code pink they are beautiful human beings! Go go CodePink! Go Go Rae!

  11. rachelgolem
    March 23, 2010, 2:07 pm

    My question for code pink is, why do they only complain about the US and Israel.

    Aren’t there any other problems in the world?

    They should call up the people Tibet and tell them, “Sorry, we can’t help you as long as Israel still exists. We can’t criticize China for anything because we never criticize non-white people no matter what they do.”

    And of course, Christians are not allowed to support Israel because Jesus was born in Alaska and his mother was an Eskimo.

    • Taxi
      March 23, 2010, 11:14 pm

      Here’s a link to their website – you’ll find your answers in here lazy-smartass:

      link to codepink4peace.org

      • rachelgolem
        March 24, 2010, 10:41 pm

        Arlight, Mr. or Mrs. Taxi,

        I went to the code pink website and I still don’t understand why I type in Tibet into the search engine, I get zero results.

        Any mention of how the Japanese are eating dolphins as sushi?

        I also missed any mention about how Che Guevara killed all the gay people he could find.

        And last but not least, no mention of any bad things that may have occured in Cambodia.

        There is no G-d but Marx and Chomsky is his messenger.

      • Chaos4700
        March 24, 2010, 10:56 pm

        Lady, there’s no fig leaf big enough to hide the crimes of Israel behind. Take your crazy WMD-addled neoconservative behind from back to the neither reaches of the birthers and the tea parties from whence ye came.

        The web site makes it pretty plain that Code Pink is against war. So naturally, Israel is at the top of that list.

      • Taxi
        March 24, 2010, 11:06 pm

        I gave you a flashlight down a dark tunnel and all you did was stab your eye out. Oh well….

        The clear hostile insinuations against codepink in your first posting, tell me you have no interest in giving them any credit for anything whatsoever. The reason? Because they’re against Israel and Aiapc: your only real concerns – not fucking dolphin sushi like you want us to believe!

        Hasbara robots who think they’re Einsteins are everywhere worming around and you’re one of them.

      • tree
        March 25, 2010, 12:09 am

        That’s number four in the list of how to make the case for Israel and win.

        4. Everybody sucks.

        link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

        Also, in case you missed it, Che Guevara died 43 years ago, so its a tad late to be protesting him. And the Japanese don’t eat the marine mammal known as a dolphin as sushi. They do eat mahi-mahi as sushi. (Another name for mahi-mahi is dolphin-fish.) Now that we’ve solved those two major world crises for you, perhaps you could move on to caring about wars and killings that the US is participating in. I’m assuming that you are American, as is Code Pink, and think that we as Americans have the right to petition our own government to stop killing people in our name?

        “There is no G-d but Marx….”

        Groucho forever!

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