WASHINGTON – March 23 – Shortly after announcing Israel’s commitment to defense in his address to the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Gala, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was disrupted by a demonstrator. Rae Abileah, 27, from Half Moon Bay, CA, jumped onto AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr’s private table alongside the stage and unfurled a pink banner that said “Netanyahu: Build Peace Not Settlements!” Abileah shouted, “Lift the siege of Gaza! No illegal settlements!” as she was forcefully removed from the building. A second disruption came moments later from Joan Stallard, from Washington, DC, who shouted, “Stop the settlements!”
Today, Tuesday, March 23, at noon CODEPINK is planning to build a settlement (including homes and beds) inside Senator Schumer’s and Senator Lieberman’s offices (Hart Senate Building, offices 313 and 706). CODEPINK’s protests of the policies of AIPAC during their national conference this week have included daily morning protests, staging of a checkpoint for attendees, an afternoon press conference announcing the launch of a city-wide boycott of products illegally made in the settlements, and the release this morning of a spoof press release from AIPAC announcing that the organization was calling for a settlement freeze.
American Jewish peace activists are outraged at the influence that AIPAC has on U.S. policy. “AIPAC supports policies of aggression that damage Israel’s reputation, harm innocent Palestinians, and contribute to making America less safe in the world,” said Jewish-American activist Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK.”
CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities. CODEPINK rejects foreign policies based on domination and aggression, and instead calls for policies based on diplomacy, compassion and a commitment to international law. With an emphasis on joy and humor, CODEPINK women and men seek to activate, amplify and inspire a community of peacemakers through creative campaigns and a commitment to non-violence.