Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder, 415-235-6517
Rae Abileah, CODEPINK national organizer, 415-994-1723
Jean Stevens, CODEPINK media coordinator, 508-769-2138

Press Release

CODEPINK Interrupts Israeli President at AIPAC Conference

Calls for Ending Occupation, Lifting Siege of Gaza, and Diplomacy with Iran
WASHINGTON -

During Israeli Pres. Shimon Peres' speech today at the annual AIPAC (American Israeli Political Action Committee) policy conference at the Washington Convention Center, CODEPINK members raised banners saying "Want Peace? End the Occupation," "What About Gaza?," and "No Money for War Crimes."

As the six activists were forcibly dragged away from the stage, they shouted similar phrases including "Tikun olam (Heal the world) for Gaza, too!", all meant to draw attention to widespread opposition to AIPAC's policies lobbied to Congress that include unconditional support and financing for Israel's militaristic policies including the recent devastating invasion of Gaza, building of illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the separation wall, refusal to negotiate with the Palestinians' democratically elected representatives, and threats to attack Iran.

"The brutal invasion of Gaza was a breaking point for me and many American Jews," said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin, who recently led a 60-person delegation to Gaza. "I was appalled by the devastation and the suffering I saw, particularly among the children. As a mother, I feel compelled to speak out against Israel's bombing of civilians and the ongoing siege that is so devastating to the lives of Gaza's 1.5 million people-most of whom are under 18."

While AIPAC claims to represent the U.S. Jewish community, its wholesale support of the Israel government goes against the majority opinions of the Jewish Americans. According to a recent survey by the Jewish lobby group J Street, 76 percent of American Jews support a two-state solution, 69 percent support negotiating with a Fatah-Hamas unity government, and 59 percent felt the Gaza invasion did not improve Israel's security.

"Like most American Jews, I grew up with a deep appreciation for the state of Israel," said Rae Abileah, a young American Jew of Israeli descent. "After witnessing the attack of Gaza on TV and hearing the calls for crippling sanctions on Iran, I can no longer avert my eyes to the other side of the story most rabbis still aren't talking about. I am joining the dozens of Jewish organizations, and the growing global movement, advocating a change in the Israeli policies of occupation and aggressive violence. It's high time to drop the victim narrative so that we may all survive, and one day thrive as neighbors."

CODEPINK activists inside the AIPAC conference (with its theme "Relationships Matter") were: Medea Benjamin, 56, Rae Abileah, 26, Blaine Clarke, 29, Christianna Reinstein, 21, Desiree Fairooz, 53, and Tighe Barry, 52.

"The most important relationships for Israel to cultivate are not with U.S. Congressional allies but with the Palestinian people," said Christianna Reinstein, a student of Middle Eastern studies who joined the protest inside the AIPAC conference today. "AIPAC's lobbying of Congress has not made Israel more secure and has hurt American efforts to improve relations in the Arab world."

For more information, please call Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder, at 415-235-6517, Rae Abileah at 415-99401723 or Jean Stevens, media coordinator, at 508-769-2138. Visit www.codepinkalert.org/gaza.

###

CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs.

World Leaders Must Commit to End Covid-19 Patents: Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus

Decrying the "brutally unequal global rollout of Covid-19 vaccines," Yunus wrote that "there is still time for world leaders to say never again."

Andrea Germanos ·


Addressing Crisis 'Existentially Imperiling' Its People, Vanuatu Declares Climate Emergency

"We are in danger now, not just in the future," said Prime Minister Bob Loughman.

Andrea Germanos ·


'Grotesque': Disgust as Trump Reads Names of Uvalde Victims at NRA Convention

Former President Donald Trump and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas were among those pushing a "good guys with guns" theory that "utterly failed" the latest victims of a mass shooting.

Andrea Germanos ·


Wall Street-Funded Democrat PAC to Spend $1 Million in Bid to Unseat Tlaib: Report

"Imagine spending $1 million to oust Rashida Tlaib instead of organizing in Detroit to make sure Michigan goes blue," quipped one progressive group.

Brett Wilkins ·


Parents Demand Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty 'For the Sake of the Children'

"We cannot remain silent as the fossil fuel industry and world leaders rob our children of a livable future," parents from 32 nations wrote in an open letter.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo