Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mic Check Inside AIPAC: "No War On Iran!"

For Immediate Release 
March 5, 2012
Rae Abileah, CODEPINK codirector & Occupy AIPAC organizer, 415-994-1723
Rick Colbath-Hess, 617-354-6471

Citizens Occupy AIPAC Policy Conference and Mic Check Cong. Ros-Lehtinen:
Use Diplomacy, Not War on Iran

Washington, DC—An AIPAC Policy Conference panel titled “Stopping Iran” had some unexpected speakers: activists with Occupy AIPAC who stood up and “mic checked” Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Israeli Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff.  At about 2pm on March 5, four activists called out AIPAC for pushing for American support for an Israeli attack on Iran.  One activist was violently attacked by an AIPAC member who used his tie to strangle the peaceful protester.  Later in the afternoon two activists unfurled a "Don't Bomb Iran" banner inside the AIPAC hall.  Security promptly pushed them out of the hall, and also forcefully removed an AIPAC delegate who had nothing to do with the action, but was taken out for being a bystander. 

The full People’s Microphone inside the panel said:
“Mic check!
Ros-Lehtinen is pushing war
based on lies.
We are the 99%
Wars benefit the 1%
Don’t bomb Iran!
Diplomacy not bombs.
AIPAC supports endless war.
We support peace.
Occupy Wall Street not Iran.
Occupy Wall Street not Palestine.
No war on Iran.”
Shortly after the people's mic began, the crowd of AIPAC attendees reacted forcefully. Some of them climbed over chairs to reach the demonstrators, and one of the disruptors, Rick Colbath-Hess, was violently yanked down to the floor by his necktie. After the mic-check, Laura Kacere of Occupy DC and Ridgely Fuller of CODEPINK and Occupy Boston both stood on top of chairs and chanted “Don’t bomb Iran!” The AIPAC crowd responded by singing the Israeli national anthem, led by Representative Ros-Lehtinen, and the activists were eventually escorted out.

“As an active member of the Occupy movement, I believe it is important for people to recognize that AIPAC doesn’t represent American or Jewish interests, but the interests of the 1%,” said Laura Kacere, 25 years old from Washington DC. “AIPAC demonstrates this through its powerful grip over Congress, influencing our government to make choices that do not reflect the best interest of the 99%. In this case, AIPAC is pushing for war on Iran which would be disastrous not only for Iran, Israel, and the entire Middle East, but for the US as well.”

According to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Cong. Ros-Lehtinen has received $243,240 in campaign contributions from the Israel Lobby, including $34,500 in the last election alone. She recently introduced a House companion to Senator Lieberman’s Senate Resolution 380, which seeks to lower the threshold for the US attacking Iran. 

“The Obama administration needs to focus on diplomacy rather than be dragged into another war we can’t afford,” said Rick Colbath-Hess, 52 from Cambridge, MA.  “In the past three years, the Obama administration has had discussions with the Iranian government for only 45 minutes –that is hardly what one would call ‘diplomacy.’”
Outside the convention center, Occupy AIPAC demonstrations continued today with a protest against war on Iran staged in front of the White House, where President Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss Iran.

The Occupy AIPAC coalition is gathering to urge Obama to reject the Israeli administration’s push for war on Iran and insist on respect for Palestinian rights. Timed to coincide with the annual AIPAC policy conference from March 3-6, Occupy AIPAC aims to draw attention to the dangerous role of AIPAC as a special interest lobby that maintains a stranglehold over US policies. As the Occupy Movement has focused public ire on the role of large corporations and powerful lobby groups, hundreds have gathered in DC to protest AIPAC’s push for war.


chrisrushlau said...

Israel's strategy is to immobilize its enemies with helpless laughter.

chrisrushlau said...

Now that I've watched the video, the singing of the national anthem was sad. Suicide is sad. The self-confidence of despair is really awesome. The demonstrators did "get through" to the room, though. They created a "wait, what are we doing here?" moment. And singing the national anthem was not a reasonable answer, nor the Congresswoman's strategic briefing about mic-checks in groups of three. It reminds me of intelligence briefings from my mess sergeant in Iran. Always ridiculous.

chrisrushlau said...


chrisrushlau said...

So is the current "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" episode ridiculous? I think some of the Israeli leadership think they can set off an 1848-like wave of Reaction. 1848 had a wave of liberal revolutions across Europe, all of which failed, ushering in the likes of Bismarck. Reaction with a capital R. The revolution of rising expectations might be deemed as unrealistic as liberalism in 1848, time to shut it down with force, the whole thing: unions, regulations, rights, and replace it with the treatment of the public as if it were a military force (like Prussia's public education system, designed to make better soldiers). I don't think this rollback is possible. In 1848 you could kill a person or twenty and have nobody notice. You could crush disturbances. Now, it only takes one guy with a big mouth--you notice, I notice, how careful the AIPAC people were to "kid-glove" the interruption (despite the one zealous citizen-cop's gung-ho-ness). But that new deal, where you can't just laugh at people's suffering any more, may not have reached the attention of some Israeli leaders.