Five Palestine solidarity activists, most of them Jewish, interrupted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech tonight at the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee conference. See the video above.
From the Move Over AIPAC press release:
The speech of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was interrupted repeatedly by protesters opposed to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The activists are from the Move Over AIPAC coalition led by CODEPINK: Women for Peace.
The protesters, 5 in all, rose one by one, unfurled banners, and chanted slogans. In response to Netanyahu’s claim that returning to the 1967 borders would be “indefensible,” activists called out that various aspects of Israel’s policy are indefensible. They were escorted out by security, but not before they made a highly visible protest against the theft of Palestinian land, the siege of Gaza, denial of the rights of Palestinian refugees, silencing dissent, and destruction of homes and schools.
“Growing up as the son of Holocaust survivor, I learned that it is everyone’s job to stand up for others when they are persecuted, and I learned what happens when we don’t defend humanity. Now, it is my job to stand up in support of Palestinians, saying, ‘bombing schools is indefensible, bulldozing homes is indefensible, ’” said Jewish American protester Rick Colbath-Hess, 53 from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“As a young Jewish person it is important for me to stand up today and tell Netanyahu and AIPAC that their voices do not represent me,” said Ariel Vegosen, 30, from Valley Stream, New York, “I will not allow my faith to be misused as a weapon, covering up the theft of Palestinians’ homes and livelihoods. Judaism teaches me to stand up when I see oppression— discrimination is not a Jewish value and does not make Israel safer. Occupying Palestinian land is indefensible.”
Ali Abunimah at the Electronic Intifada interviewed Sasha Gelzin, a CODEPINK activist who interrupted Netanyahu:
Gelzin told The Electronic Intifada by telephone, “The word indefensible has a more significant meaning than just borders. It also means ‘unjustifiable.’ We had to reclaim this word because all these types of Israeli apartheid are indefensible.”
Among the slogans the five protestors called out were:
- “Occupying land is indefensible”
- “Starving Gaza is indefensible”
- “Bulldozing homes is indefensible”
- “Silencing dissent is indefensible”
- “Displacing refugees is indefensible”
Gelzin said that as protestors stood up, AIPAC delegates immediately began chanting and booing in order to drown the dissenting voices out. The protestors were escorted out of the building but none were arrested, Gelzin said.