|Hundreds chanting outside AIPAC's annual conference after Israel's best buddy Obama spoke March 4. Besides threatening Iran with military action, the U.S. president absurdly maintained: “we will always reject the notion that Zionism is racism."|
And if you're going to sell weapons, you need to have wars. So a major focus of the AIPAC conference this year is also promoting a preemptive strike on Iran. Because they might be developing the capability to build nuclear weapons of mass destruction. If this claim gives you the sensation of deja vu, it's because AIPAC was a key player in making similar claims about Iraq in the run up to attacking that country in 2003.
Occupy AIPAC is this year's version of an annual effort to bring attention to the immense, pernicious influence of the Israel lobby. CODEPINK organizer Rae Abileah explained:
Each year at AIPAC's policy conference in Washington, D.C., the president, powerful senators and members of Congress parade across the stage in order to prove their loyalty to the Israeli government... AIPAC Director Howard Kohr will likely appear on stage this March at the 2012 AIPAC conference to make the annual roll call, rattling off the names of congressional representatives, diplomats and dignitaries present in the room as if he is the auctioneer at an estate sale. And in a way, he is.Jeffrey Blankfort summed it up at the excellent Occupy AIPAC summit on Saturday when he said that the role of AIPAC is to "shape the opinion of the American public, and keep Congress in line as well." How this is accomplished was the focus of the summit, and I promise to report in more detail on excellent contributions from Phyllis Bennis, Allison Weir, Chris Hedges, and many more. (Go here for my live-tweets from the summit using the hashtag #OccupyAIPAC.)
A good weekend of action which allowed me to meet people who regularly contribute to my education (Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss! Josh Ruebner of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation ); the chance to hug people I was formerly only facebook "friends" with (Elizabeth Barger of The Farm! Nancy Krickorian of the Stolen Beauty Ahava boycott campaign!); and the chance to be in action with my Pink sisters (Ann Wright, Joan Stallard, Ridgely Fuller and Desiree Fairooz to name only a few that were on hand) as well as CP's hard-working staff, and a slew of new acquaintances.
|Strong leadership by Palestinian young women was a feature of this year's protest of AIPAC.|