“Judaism yes! Zionism no! Israel has got to go!” Today hundreds of activists marched to AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference) to condemn Israeli influence on American foreign policy, and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
Meriem Abou-Ghazaleh, a young Syrian-Palestinian activist, led the chant. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be Free!” she chanted.
“This is not a fight against Judaism,” she told News2Share. “This is a fight against Zionism, a politically corrupt ideology that literally goes against entire Jewish faith and values.”
“We demand an end to AIPAC’s influence over American foreign policy,” said event organizer Abbas Hamideh. “They can say it’s anti-semitic, but nothing could be further from the truth.”
“We wanted to take a look at what AIPAC is and how AIPAC influences American foreign policy, not just in Palestine, but they also want to send the American people to war,” Hamideh told News2Share. “We ask them to wake up and understand why AIPAC exists and how much power they have over influencing foreign policy.”
“We need to wake up and shut this place down.”
AIPAC has been consistently protested every year by the Palestinian community but tends to get the support of both Republican and Democrat politicians. While in the 2016 race only Bernie sanders declined to attend, several Democrats running for president in 2020 have declined to attend, which marks a considerable progress for the anti-AIPAC crowd.
The issue is particularly spotlighted given Representative Ilhan Omar’s comments that AIPAC influences American foreign policy because “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby!”
Omar’s comments were popular with protesters Sunday, some of whom quoted her and included her face on their signs.
The event also comes in the aftermath of Donald Trump declaring Golan Heights to be rightfully owned by Israel, a decision praised by Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu but condemned by anti-Zionist activists, who see it as Syrian land occupied by Israeli forces.
Photos by Alejandro Alvarez: