Monday, March 5, 2012

How The Israel Lobby Harms The 99%: Occupy AIPAC

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."
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has more influence over your government and your tax dollars than you do. Each year they hold a conference in Washington DC where they train thousands to lobby Congress for continued military aid to Israel in the form of credits for weapons systems. This is a 1% dream scenario, corporate welfare for defense contractors.

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.

1 comment:

chrisrushlau said...

Netanyahu to Obama, according to AP and actually recorded by and broadcast by NPR (today, 2PM news report), "You are us and we are you." I.e., the US is Israel and Israel is the US.
The definition of insanity (Einstein's famous definition might be termed neurosis) is that there is no external environment to which a person must in some degree submit her actions but rather the person will is supreme. Statements by crazy people, hence, brandish defiance of famous facts. The 99% in the US let the 1% destroy the world, the nation, and itself because the 1% does not pretend that the 99% supports this but is rather dragged along unwillingly. Netanyahu has now claimed that the 99% supports this Israel-Armageddon plan. He is saying, from the porch of his manor-house, that the slaves believe in slavery. This is a display of weakness. The slaves can now predict that their emancipation is possible, and thus be emboldened, however ironically, to take the measures to bring this about. It all starts with one person's "can't help but think" of what the other person is up to. When the other person brays out a "you are us and we are you", one really can't help but think, "this is the time of our deliverance."