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No War on Iran: Occupy AIPAC

April 23, 2012

Photo by Lauriel Schuman.

by Jamie Partridge

A coalition of peace, human rights, and Palestine solidarity organizations will hold a demonstration outside the annual Oregon fund-raising dinner of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Sunday, April 29. The demonstration will protest AIPAC’s role in promoting a military attack on Iran’s nuclear energy facilities. The protest is also calling for an end to U.S. military aid to the Israeli apartheid government, which refuses to halt the construction of illegal settlements and routinely violates the human rights of Palestinians living under Occupation. Israel controls the lives of more than 4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip but denies them the right to vote or to exercise their right to self-determination.

Some Oregon political leaders have regularly attended AIPAC’s annual fundraiser in past years. This year the protesters are asking Oregon’s leaders to represent their constituencies’ opposition to another unjust war in the Middle East by boycotting AIPAC’s gala. Among the groups protesting are Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights (AUPHR),  Jewish Voice for Peace – Portland (JVP), Occupy Portland, Peace and Justice Works – Iraq Affinity Group, and Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER).

At  AIPAC’s recent national convention , Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  tried to justify a military assault on Iran. Such an attack would violate the United Nations Charter, which forbids the use of force except in self-defense. The Iranian government has said that its nuclear energy program is for peaceful purposes. Iran is a signatory to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and is under an inspection regime by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Both the IAEA and U.S. intelligence agencies have determined that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. Israel, on the other hand, has refused to sign the NPT and is believed to have between 200-400 nuclear weapons.

“AIPAC represents a minority, radically right-wing position in its lobbying for the Netanyahu government,” explained William Seaman, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace.  “They do not represent Jewish opinion in the United States or in Israel, which is one reason groups like JVP and other Jewish organizations are challenging their disproportionate influence on our political process.” Polls show that AIPAC does not speak for most American Jews.

The protest will take place outside the Mittelman Jewish Community Center, 6651 SW Capitol Highway in Hillsdale, beginning at 4 p.m. on April 29. Demonstrators are committed to nonviolence and oppose all forms of racism, including racism against Jews. They are asking Oregon residents and political leaders to say No to war on Iran, No to funding Israeli apartheid, and No to AIPAC and the lobbies of the 1%.

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2 Responses to No War on Iran: Occupy AIPAC

  1. scott Patrick on April 28, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    I would like to suggest an action that will help illustrate and communicate the essence of the plight of the Palestinians. Due to the sanitized news media, most Americans do not know how bad it is living under Israeli occupation. We need to communicate it in a way that they will easily grasp. At the same time, it should expose and shame the occupiers. To do this I would like to first make reference to the Warsaw Ghetto and the similarities with the Palestinians. The Warsaw Ghetto was a place that the Jews were forced to live(at gun point) by the Nazis, after having been forced out of their homes. It became a “walled in” area and the Jews were kept as prisoners unable to leave without the permission of the military. What could be brought in, was controlled by the soldiers. The water and the electricity was frequently shut off, similar to what happens to the Palestinians. It is a reversal today with the IDF and the settlers who hate and want the Palestinians to be killed or driven from the land. Sadly, this is how the Nazis felt and treated the Jews. I could go on, but I feel that if someone is not familiar with the Warsaw Ghetto, they should read and see photos to get a better understanding. My suggestion is going to seem so simple that you may miss the deep significance. You go out and buy bright yellow material and you then cut it into triangles. With either fabric glue or with thread and needle you attache two together with one upside down. You are making a “Jewish” star. You then write with a waterproof black marker, a large letter “P” in the middle. You then pin this on your clothing in the area of your left chest. You do this everyday and when people ask you, tell them why you are wearing it. If you are met with “haters” or people who accuse you of being “antisemitic”. Ask them what they did to stop the Nazis from killing and abusing the Jews. They will say that they where not alive then. Ask them if they had been, would they have done something. After they have answered in the affirmative, tell them that this is today and it now the Palestinians that are being made to suffer. Many will try and say that the Palestine’s are violent, terrorist, and hate Israelis. To this you can ask, if it was reasonable for Jews to hate the Nazis that abused and killed them? Was it unreasonable for Jews to act as freedom fighters and to resist with violence. You can leave them with one more question to consider. Was it wrong for Jews to bomb and blow up the King David Hotel while Israel was called Palestine and was occupied by the British? There was not regard for the innocent loss of lives of the men, women and children that were staying in the hotel. I would not waste too much time with talking to this types of person. Most of them are very set in their prejudicial thinking. You really want to focus on those Americans who have never considered the facts and will join in and help. That is the group that will really make a difference. You will then start to see more and more wearing the yellow star in solidarity. You may start to see young children and seniors with a yellow star. Hopefully, even the Palestinians will wear the star. I could only hope that it would be global and that it would be to the “shame” of the Israelis that they have forgotten that mercy is a virtue of great importance. That is it. A simple yellow star that speaks volume. It will be to the shame of our politicians that turn a blind eye to the cruelty and injustice. We do not stop until the Palestinians are free. Art is power.

  2. Jim Santagata on April 30, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    Why is it that Oregon is so much in the forefront of trying to make Americans aware of the truth regarding the Israeli persecution of Palestinians? Why is the Salem News such a leading voice in this respect, while my own state’s NY Times and Wall St Journal treat the deaths of innocent Palestinians, including so many women and children, like non-events? Is there something special in the drinking water in Oregon? If so, PLEASE pump some of that special ingredient into the drinking water of every other state! Maybe then we will cease going off to illegal war after illegal war at Israel’s bidding, cease sacrificing our own bright young Americans while Israeli soldiers fight only in totally absolutely unfair battles against Palestinians armed with harmless home-made rockets, hardly ever risking their lives at all, armed with the most modern and devastating weapons paid for with American tax dollars? I loudly, vigorously applaud Oregonians in their efforts to make the truth known!

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