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Occupy AIPAC Confronts Bibi Netanyahu's Insane Push for War with Iran

Activists gathered in Washington, DC to try to "disrupt business as usual."

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But Occupy AIPAC activists worked to confront that agenda throughout the counter-summit. While protesting against a war with Iran was the top priority, their disruptions of AIPAC panels inserted the plight of Palestinians into the discourse, at least temporarily. “Don’t bomb Iran; equal rights for Palestinians,” shouted one activist who interrupted Senator Carl Levin, D-Michigan, on March 6. And when Liza Behrendt of the youth wing of Jewish Voice for Peace disrupted a panel on “securing Israel on campus,” she criticized Israel lobby groups for stifling dialogue about “freedom for Palestinians” and unfurled a banner that read, “Settlements betray Jewish values.”

March 6 was AIPAC's big lobbying day. Some 14,000 AIPAC delegates will blanket Capitol Hill and push for more congressional members to sign on to resolutions that would, as Robert Wright of the Atlantic wrote, “move America further down the path toward war with Iran.”

Occupy AIPAC planned to protest AIPAC's war push by doing their own lobbying of Congress, and their legislative agenda also touched on Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights.

Still, organizers of Occupy AIPAC recognize they are waging an uphill battle.

“We're seeking to kind of put a cog in the wheel, disrupt business as usual, by trying to get reality inserted in that discussion on the Hill,” said Rae Abileah, a CodePink organizer who was assaulted after she disrupted Netanyahu's speech to Congress last year. “We're in a really dire spot. We don't have any illusions that we're going to shift Congress this weekend.”

More importantly for Abileah is attempting to change “public opinion about the threat of a war with Iran.” But with a corporate media propaganda push that has hyped the threat of Iran, and no end in sight to the Israeli government's war push, that battle for public opinion will also be an uphill fight.

Alex Kane is AlterNet's New York-based World editor, and a staff reporter for Mondoweiss. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

 
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