As Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is crossing the Atlantic heading to Washington to deliver Tuesday's controversial speech to Congress on Iran, activists are spending Sunday trying to shut down the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
AIPAC has been called “the most important organization affecting America’s relationship with Israel,” and one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the US.
At least 5 CodePink activists had been arrested by early Sunday afternoon:
— Yasmine El-Sabawi (@yasmineelsabawi) March 1, 2015
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Netanyahu left Israel's Ben Gurion airport Sunday morning telling reporters: “I’m going to Washington on a fateful, even historic, mission."
Netanyahu will speak to the AIPAC conference on Monday and deliver his speech to Congress on Tuesday before returning home.
On Sunday, a group representing nearly 200 of Israel’s top retired military and intelligence officials slammed the move as a direct assault on the US-Israel alliance, claiming it will actually bring Iran closer to a nuclear bomb.
“When the Israeli prime minister argues that his speech will stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, he is not only misleading Israel – he is actually strengthening Iran,” General (res) Amnon Reshef, the former head of Israel’s armoured corps and the founder of Commanders for Israel’s Security, said at a press conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday morning.
Reshef was joined by five other generals who called on Netanyahu to cancel his speech, warning of its dangers to Israeli security.