Members of Jewish Voice for Peace stage a sit-in

Members of Jewish Voice for Peace stage a sit-in at Rep. Hakeem Jeffries' office in Washington, D.C. on March 12, 2024.

(Photo: @JvpAction/X)

Jewish Progressives Stage Sit-In at Hakeem Jeffries' Office to Protest AIPAC Influence

"Our Jewish communities are rising up to say, 'Never again is now,'" said organizers.

Sharpening their focus on the influence that pro-Israel lobbyists have had for decades on U.S. policy regarding Palestinians, Jewish progressives on Tuesday held a sit-in at the Capitol Hill office of U.S. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, one of the largest recipients of campaign funds from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The protesters, who are members of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Action, prominently displayed a sign reading, "AIPAC gave $829,835 to Hakeem Jeffries, who opposes cease-fire," before proceeding to the New York Democrat's office.

The sign referred to AIPAC's contributions to Jeffries throughout his career.

"Our Jewish communities are rising up to say, 'Never again is now,'" said JVP Action. "We refuse to be bystanders as the Israeli government wages a genocidal campaign in our name and funding by U.S. tax dollars."

At the sit-in, the organizers held signs saying, "AIPAC funds genocide" and, "Jeffries: Reject AIPAC."

Israel has killed at least 31,184 Palestinians since it began its U.S.-backed bombardment of Gaza in October, and at least 25 people have died of starvation due to Israel's blockade on nearly all humanitarian aid. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East said Tuesday that more children have been killed in Gaza in the last four months than the number of children killed worldwide in wars over the last four years.

JVP Action is among several rights groups that announced a new coalition, Reject AIPAC, on Monday. AIPAC and its political action committee are planning to spend $100 million this election year to unseat lawmakers it views as insufficiently supportive of Israel.

As JVP Action noted Tuesday, while Democratic lawmakers who continue to back Israel's assault on Gaza may retain the support of AIPAC, they are out of step with Democratic voters, 77% of whom are demanding the U.S. call for a cease-fire in Gaza.

"If members of Congress vote to send Israel more bombs and weapons now, it's because AIPAC demands it," Justice Democrats, another member of the coalition, said Monday. "Reject AIPAC because Palestinian lives should matter more to our leaders than campaign checks."

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