"AIPAC uses money and racist bullying to ensure congressional complicity in the genocide of Gaza," said Jewish Voice for Peace.
Thousands of Jewish-led protesters descended on the New York offices of the American Israel Public Affairs Council on Thursday, taking aim at both AIPAC and Democratic lawmakers who take millions of combined dollars from the lobby group while opposing a Gaza cease-fire.
Led by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the demonstrators marched from Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza outside the United Nations—where earlier this week the U.S. for the third time vetoed a Security Council cease-fire resolution—to AIPAC's nearby New York headquarters on Third Street.
During the march, protesters carried large letters spelling "DUMP AIPAC" and a banner reading "AIPAC Funds Genocide," as well as signs listing the names of New York Democrats who take campaign cash from the group while opposing a Gaza cease-fire. Members of Congress named and shamed at the rally include House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries ($829,835 in lifetime AIPAC contributions), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ($348,818), and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer ($101,570).
Other activists occupied the offices of Schumer and Gillibrand. JVP said 18 people were arrested for refusing to obey police orders to leave.
"If you want to know one reason why more electeds aren't calling for a cease-fire—even though a cease-fire is the overwhelming demand from the people—look no further than AIPAC," said JVP. "AIPAC uses money and racist bullying to ensure congressional complicity in the genocide of Gaza."
"Last cycle, AIPAC endorsed over 100 lawmakers who voted to decertify the results of the 2020 election, allying themselves with the far-right," the group added. "AIPAC is threatening our safety here in the U.S. in order to ensure unconditional U.S. support for Israeli violence."
Jewish Voice for Peace Action said the demonstrators are "calling on Congress to listen to the will of the people and reject AIPAC as the extremist warmongers they've always been."
JVP posted on social media: "With over 30,000 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, we demand our electeds stop answering to a far-right group and start listening to their constituents. #DumpAIPAC now!"
The protest came a day after progressive Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) led condemnation of AIPAC for a social media post accusing progressive cease-fire supporters of keeping Hamas' "rapist monsters armed and in power in Gaza."
"It is appalling that AIPAC is targeting women members of Congress who have survived sexual assault with this horrific rhetoric," Ocasio-Cortez fired back. "Each and every day, their role in U.S. politics becomes a greater scandal. They are the NRA of foreign policy."
Many of Israel's staunchest supporters on both sides of the partisan aisle have taken AIPAC contributions. The group was the number one donor to both Jeffries and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) during the last election cycle.
AIPAC has also been a top contributor to lawmakers like Reps. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), who not only vocally support Israel, but also attack colleagues like Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)—the only Palestinian American in Congress—and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for their pro-Palestinian views. AIPAC was by far Gottheimer's largest contributor in the 2022 electoral cycle, donating more than $216,000 to his campaign. The same goes for Torres, who received over $141,000 from the group during the same period.
Last month, over 200 House lawmakers from both parties sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemning the South Africa-led genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice. Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Kathy Manning (D-N.C.) led the letter. AIPAC is the top donor to both of their campaigns.
AIPAC is expected to spend upward of $100 million this cycle in an effort unseat over half a dozen progressive U.S. lawmakers who have been critical of Israeli genocide, apartheid, occupation, settler colonization, and other human rights crimes against the Palestinian people.
Meanwhile, Jewish-led groups like JVP and IfNotNow have led a historic nationwide wave of protests against the ongoing Israeli onslaught on Gaza, in which more than 100,000 Palestinians have been killed or wounded. These demonstrations have filled the streets of cities from coast to coast, shut down major transit hubs, occupied landmarks, disrupted President Joe Biden's campaign events, and much more.