CODEPINK Press Release
March 1, 2015
Call for an End to AIPAC Sabotaging Iran Talks and Israel’s Human Rights Violations
Washington, DC –– During a large CODEPINK mobilization to oppose the Israel lobby AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), 5 activists were arrested while blocking the entrance to the center where AIPAC is holding its annual policy conference. Ariel Gold, Dooler Campbell, Sierra Ramirez, Beth Harris, and Karima Williams were all removed by police from the front of the Washington Convention Center while chanting “Netanyahu: War Criminal! Free, free, Palestine!”
Activists attended the demonstration organized by CODEPINK coined #ShutDownAIPAC. The purpose of the rally was to draw attention to AIPAC’s role as a special interest lobby that maintains a dangerous stranglehold over US policies and diverts US tax dollars from American needs and into Israeli militarism. Through lobbying and creative actions, activists have been urging the US government to advocate instead for diplomacy with Iran and an end to the brutal occupation of Palestine.
“In a time when delicate negotiations are under way with Iran,” said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin, “it’s irresponsible and dangerous for AIPAC to be pushing for more sanctions on Iran, which would completely derail the nuclear talks. Today activists gathered to protest outside of the AIPAC policy conference to show opposition to AIPAC’s warmongering policies and to send a clear message to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that he is not welcome here in Washington DC.”
Activists are encouraged that at least 45 members of Congress have announced they are boycotting Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session of Congress on Tuesday.
“With the politicization of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech and the growing divide between Democrats and Republicans over Speaker Boehner's invitation to the foreign leader, now is the time to confront the influence of the Israel lobby AIPAC,” said CODEPINK organizer Anna Kaminski. “The 45 congresspeople skipping Netanyahu's speech could mark the beginning of a more independent Congressional stance towards Israel, and a more even-handed US policy.”
More demonstrations will take place on Monday and Tuesday during Netanyahu’s tour in Washington DC, and a full schedule of events can be found at codepink.org/shutdownaipac. Photos and video from the action can be found at facebook.com/codepinkalert.