Young Jews resist AIPAC– even as Democrats’ ‘progressive’ thinktank sends a crew to speak there

US Politics
on 25 Comments

The AIPAC conference begins in Washington next Sunday, and resistance against the big Israel lobby group has already begun. Last Friday seven members of the generational Jewish group IfNotNow were arrested in an action at AIPAC’s offices in Los Angeles, and yesterday a couple of hundred mostly-young Jews marched again to say that AIPAC does not represent them. A number of groups including IfNotNow will be protesting AIPAC this coming weekend; Code Pink hopes to shut the conference down.

“We marched to bring attention to the growing crisis in the Jewish community over the occupation,” said Jeremy Oziel, an organizer of yesterday’s march in LA. “We believe we’re the generation that is going to end the support for the occupation, the ones that the community has been waiting for for a long time.”

Young Jews resisting AIPAC at LA march yesterday led by IfNotNow

Penina Eilberg-Schwartz said the group’s demands are centered on the Jewish community’s need to resist AIPAC, Israeli government actions, and Donald Trump’s racism. AIPAC has done more than any other organization to uphold the occupation, she said. “In its 50th year, and Trump’s first year, it is time for the Jewish community to come out against the occupation.”

The march was joyous, she said, because while the marchers have Palestinian suffering in the front of their minds, they are excited to be reclaiming Jewish identity from support for military occupation. “Our Jewish identities have been corroded by this disaster. This is where the joy is coming in: we love our Judaism, and we’re claiming it back.”

Meantime, there was also resistance to AIPAC among the chattering classes on the east coast. Leftwingers are focused on the fact that while Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, declares “Resist” on her twitter page, in fact, the word is her profile picture–

Neera Tanden’s twitter image

Tanden and three other officials of her Democratic Party-linked thinktank are due to speak at the AIPAC policy conference next week. They are: Brian Katulis, Hardin Lang, and Alan Makovsky.

Neera Tanden and Benjamin Netanyahu at Center for American Progress

Donald Trump represents “protofascism,” Tanden says; but at AIPAC, she will be together again with someone often charged with protofascism: Benjamin Netanyahu, the rightwing prime minister whom she hosted at the Democratic Party thinktank right after he had sought to submarine the president’s signature foreign policy achievement, the Iran Deal. Not to mention other AIPAC guests, neoconservatives Elliott Abrams and Bill Kristol.

Tanden is said to be good on economic injustice issues; so increasingly the Israel question is becoming the divide in the Democratic Party. Yesterday Tanden got into it with Linda Sarsour on twitter after Sarsour blasted the Democratic Party for continuing to seek to marginalize Bernie Sanders. At one point Tanden said the idea that the party had worked behind the scenes to knock down Sanders’s campaign last year “is an alternative fact.” (You can see Democratic Party officials trying to undermine Sanders over religion and commitment to Israel here— “for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God.”)

Having anything to do with AIPAC is all the more problematic this year because of Eli Clifton’s revelation that AIPAC gave $60,000 to an Islamophobe, Frank Gaffney.

Let’s be clear that many other liberals are speaking at the AIPAC conference, including Rob Malley, Bakari Sellers, Aaron David Miller, Daniel Shapiro, Tammy Zandberg of Meretz, and David Saperstein. They do so because AIPAC still represents the Jewish establishment, and access to power. Americans for Peace Now, the anti-occupation group, is a constituent member of AIPAC, despite the lobby’s rightwing policies, because it values the access/Jewish-solidarity.

I asked the young marchers from IfNotNow about the degree to which AIPAC is representative of American Jews over 40. They both said it misrepresents the American Jewish community, and they are going to end that imposture. Eilberg-Schwartz said the community of observant Jews of her parents’ generation are not comfortable with AIPAC’s stances in favor of the occupation, though they haven’t done all that much to resist it. “I do think that power AIPAC presents to the world is not actually due to the support of the Jewish community,” she said. “I think that is a veil.”

IfNotNow image for AIPAC resistance effort

P.S. I’ve been denied press credentials to AIPAC yet again this year. Going to have to watch what I can being livestreamed.

Thanks to Scott Roth.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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25 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson
    March 20, 2017, 1:16 pm

    RE: “I’ve been denied press credentials to AIPAC yet again this year.” ~ Weiss

    MY SNARKCASM: I have a call in to Shelly and Miriam to see if they can lean on AIPAC hard enough to make them cry U.N.C.L.E..

    Also, since you live in N.Y., you can always give Cuomo a call and ask him to intercede in your behalf. I’m confident AIPAC owes him big time!

    It’s just a matter of supplying the requisite amount of political muscle.

    We can do this thing, as they say in the Mafia!

    • JLewisDickerson
      March 20, 2017, 1:32 pm

      P.S. ■ The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Trailer

      • JLewisDickerson
        March 20, 2017, 1:49 pm

        P.P.S. ■ Storyline
        Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin are the two agents of the United Network Command for Law Enforcement (i.e., U.N.C.L.E.), who fight evil (primarily an organization of Bad people called, THRUSH) and use charm, wit, and a never ending assortment of gadgets.
        SOURCE – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057765/

      • JLewisDickerson
        March 20, 2017, 3:05 pm

        P.P.P.S.
        Sam Rolfe (I) (1924–1993)
        Writer | Producer | Soundtrack
        Sam Rolfe was born on February 18, 1924 in New York, USA. He was a writer and producer, known for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. L.(1964) and Have Gun – Will Travel (1957). He died on July 10, 1993 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
        Born: February 18, 1924 in New York, USA
        Died: July 10, 1993 (age 69) in Los Angeles, California, USA
        SOURCE – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0738222/

        P.P.P.P.S.
        ■ A SPECIAL ‘DO-LANG’ MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO OUR 45TH PRESIDENT, DONALD J. TRUMP:
        “He’s a soft-spoken guy, but he can’t shy away forever!”

        P.P.P.P.S.
        Everyone has a “bad hair day” every now and again.
        Before harshly judging President Trump, please first put yourself in his toupée (and take a good, hard look at yourself in the mirror).

      • Mooser
        March 20, 2017, 5:26 pm

        “Everyone has a “bad hair day” every now and again.”

        I think of my pate as a prayer. It faces toward Heaven and implores the Deity (reading from forehead to crown) for ‘MO’.

      • RoHa
        March 20, 2017, 6:17 pm

        And all the women in the headquarters carried guns and were prepared to use them!

        It was a great show, and I loved it. Did get a bit too silly towards the end.

      • RoHa
        March 20, 2017, 10:05 pm
      • Mooser
        March 22, 2017, 5:10 pm

        Okay, it’s more like (O at this point. Not like Illya Nutcrackin’s locks.

    • oldgeezer
      March 20, 2017, 7:57 pm

      @RoHa

      It was always silly but I loved it too. Instead of it becoming silly I would suggest you were older and more mature in tastes.

      Illya was the cool one.

      • RoHa
        March 20, 2017, 10:09 pm

        Older, yes.

        Still waiting for the “more mature in tastes”.

      • Mooser
        March 21, 2017, 1:19 pm

        “Still waiting for the “more mature in tastes”.

        Try the Mad magazine parody starring Napoleon Polo and Illya Nutcrackin.

      • oldgeezer
        March 21, 2017, 3:35 pm

        @RoHa

        Well personally I find I like higher quality wines while watching corny (or otherwise) shows now.

      • RoHa
        March 21, 2017, 11:41 pm

        I’m still happy with Chateau Cardboard.

        ( Mind you, it’s Australian, so it’s still far better than the fancy Froggy stuff, which is just a mixture of ethyl alcohol, glycol, and aniline dye from Les Industries Chemiques de France.)

  2. JWalters
    March 20, 2017, 8:30 pm

    Neera Tanden is probably one of many people in America whose guts are wrenched nightly by the support for crime and hypocrisy their job “requires” them to maintain.

    The Jewish American resistance fighters who are working to end this support for crime and hypocrisy are doing all those inwardly tortured people a great service.

    • BethlehemOlivesRedeem
      March 23, 2017, 10:24 am

      Why do you elevate Neera Tanden to such moral heights, JWalters? Unless your comment is some sort of nuanced sarcasm or facetiousness? She gives Netanyahu a loudspeaker, and she pooh-poohs the fact of the Zionist-led DNC torpedoing of the Sanders campaign, in effect supporting Trump’s electoral-college coup.

  3. xanadou
    March 20, 2017, 8:58 pm

    Inasmuch as I hope that the IfNotNow crowd prevails by fighting AIPAC from within, I hope I’m wrong in doubting that they will succeed.

    For the AIPAC employees this is about job security and they have a massive network in place that they will be able to use to their advantage, again. Why then waste precious time on charging petrifying windmills? AIPAC has been irrelevant to many for quite some time, but the fear of their once huge evil machinery still paralyses most. Vide the example of the continued obeisance paid by their self-declared detractors.

    Perhaps the best strategy would be to come together with sister organisations with similar goals re Palestine and the genocidal occupation, and regardless of religion (if any), age, gender, etc., unite in fighting for Peace in Palestine and let the usual suspects choke on the bone of contention in their collective throats fighting… no one, b/c most everybody of consequence will be elsewhere. No?

  4. Kay24
    March 21, 2017, 6:29 am

    So I guess this is a police state. I wonder if the Nazis had a database for those sympathizing with the Jews too.

    Israeli Ministry Trying to Compile Database of Citizens Who Support BDS
    Senior officials say attorney general vehemently opposes Minister Gilad Erdan’s bid, arguing his ministry has no legal authority to collect information on Israelis.
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.778516

    • just
      March 21, 2017, 5:42 pm

      Check this out, Kay24:

      “Gideon Levy on Israeli Ministry Trying to Compile Database of Citizens Who Support BDS”

      https://twitter.com/haaretzcom/status/844297839010205696

      ~and~

      “Israel Arrests BDS Founder Omar Barghouti for Tax Evasion

      Barghouti, a resident of Acre in Israel, is suspected of hiding $700,000 in unreported income in Ramallah and the U.S.”

      read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.778748?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

      BDS is a mighty movement… they appear more than a little afraid.

    • JWalters
      March 21, 2017, 8:50 pm

      The Nazis definitely compiled a database of Germans who opposed “The Party” for any reason. They also investigated relatives and known friends. All were subject to arrest on some charge or other.

      The NSA scoops up all digital communications in America (saving it for when they might need it), and shares the raw data with Israel, so Americans too are all potentially under surveillance by the Israelis.

      • Kay24
        March 22, 2017, 7:16 am

        Isn’t it ironic that Israel is aping the Nazis in more ways than one?

  5. Citizen
    March 21, 2017, 8:15 am

    In view of some thinking AIPAC power is on the downslide, will be interesting to see the coverage of AIPAC conference on main media, and also the coverage of protesters outside the building.

    • JWalters
      March 21, 2017, 8:56 pm

      Based on history one has to predict there will be minimal coverage (if any), and no REAL coverage or discussion of any disagreements with Israeli policies or actions. The top priority for the Israelis is to keep Americans in the dark about their crimes. The captured political class will go along with the captured media. Where have you gone Edward R. Murrow?

  6. JoeSmack
    March 21, 2017, 12:34 pm

    Frankly IfNotNow and CodePink have horrible politics, effectively trying to exclude Palestinian and anti-Zionist perspectives from their organizing. IfNotNow is chauvinist in its outlook, while CodePink is a standard white liberal org that similarly prevents criticisms of Zionism. Both groups only accept limited policy-related criticisms of Israel, and INN doesn’t even endorse BDS.

    Another organization, Al-Awda, was organizing a much more important rally at the same time. Unfortunately, after years of political repression (including police infiltration), internal fighting, and mismanagement by its Cleveland branch, Al-Awda backed out of the rally and it is basically just one guy and his friends.

    A very sorry statement about where we are in national politics in dissenting against the Israel Lobby. I’m hoping next year’s demonstration will be A) more attuned to ensuring the primacy of Palestinians (not just by having token Palestinians like at US Campaign but rather by having the Palestinian national narrative as the central theme); B) recognizing that AIPAC is not just bad for Jewish people but bad for the world; and C) will not allow Jewish voices to overshadow and marginalize other communities even in the realm of dissent.

  7. Ossinev
    March 22, 2017, 3:32 pm

    @Kay24
    “Isn’t it ironic that Israel is aping the Nazis in more ways than one?”
    Be careful out there.These kinds of “snide” remarks can lead to absolute Mayhem e.g.
    “@Ossinev, you are being called out for anti-semitism by making a snide remark that compares Israel to the Nazis but I don’t expect that would bother you”

    I am already on edge expecting a 3 a.m. knock on the door any day now by a Zio Enforcement Unit and I am really bothered about it.

    • Kay24
      March 22, 2017, 8:33 pm

      That kind of false outrage never seem to bother me. It is ironic that they choose to be sensitive to any comment that points out to Israel’s filthy policies.

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