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Anti-AIPAC signs in Tel Aviv rally against Iran war

I missed the small demonstration – around 1,000 people – against the strike on Iran yesterday, but one thing that caught my eye this morning were a couple of pictures of signs denouncing AIPAC that friends shared on Facebook. It seems that more Israelis are becoming aware that AIPAC is not simply a “pro-Israel” lobby, but a rightwing group that defends the settlement policy and is currently pushing for war with Iran.

Anti war and anti AIPAC signs in Tel Aviv rally, March 24 2012 (photo: Arie Yampuler)


Demonstration against attack on Iran, Tel Aviv, 24 March, 2012 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

Protesters are not the only ones to point out the role that AIPAC plays in shaping the lives of Israelis. In a recent Haaretz op-ed titled “AIPAC, Buy me,” playwright (and former Maariv correspondent in Washington D.C. Boaz Gaon wrote:

… these “lovers of Israel,” those who like to stand next to gigantic blue and white flags, have no interest in improving education in Israel, or bettering the country’s housing or health-care systems, or improving its culture and scientific research. They have no interest in honing the country’s legal system, particularly on matters of religion and state, nor do they care about narrowing gaps between rich and poor, men and women, or Jews and Arabs. In short, they care little about the prosaic realities of daily Israeli life. These realities can’t be seen from the lobby of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, and they are obscured by the cherry blossoms in the Washington area. These are the realities of my Israel. That’s not the same thing as the Israel that is supported by the Yesha Council, which is, in turn, funded by the evangelical Christian right.

…I’ve come to understand that my own existence, and that of my children, merely shatters the sweet illusion of Israelis as matchsticks used to build a spectacular model of Noah’s Ark. Our lives belie the illusion that Jerusalem is a composite of Judaica items, each costing $30,000 in Zurich Airport’s duty free store. This is the illusion that allows people to call for the bombing of Iran while they sit in a mansion in Dallas. Or for the eradication of Israel’s democracy while lounging in a winter retreat in Miami. Or the annexation of Judea and Samaria while having a drink at the blackjack table in Las Vegas.

After AIPAC’s recent annual conference, +972’s Mairav Zonszein also pointed out the impact it has on the lives, whether we like it or not:

For those of us who live here, Palestinians and Israelis alike…We have no say in how the lobby operates and are subject to the whims of its wealthy donors  – and yet it has such an enormous impact on our lives, since AIPAC’s power in Congress translates directly into bolstering the Israeli military industrial complex with the help of  American money.

 Read Also:
First large Israeli protest against war with Iran in Tel Aviv
Israeli-Iranian solidarity exchange sweeps Facebook

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    1. Bill Pearlman

      Speaking has an aipac member you and the guy with the sign don’t have the slightest idea about what aipac does or how people think.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Philos

      Bill, as an Israeli I can tell you that an American Jew and a member of AIPAC you have no idea what it is we Israelis do or think.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Bill Pearlman

      Philos, not arguing that. And if you notice I never do.

      Reply to Comment
    4. aristeides

      The AIPAC signs are very encouraging. This is a movement that I hope takes off.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Lauren

      AIPAC has bought all our “elected” leaders. Laws are pushed through to put Israel first and American interests after. This is not what the real American people want. AIPAC is a subversive group who steal our tax dollars and drag us into endless wars. Enough of the blood lust and war drum banging. If you are so concerned about Israel… move there and do your work there. Stop stealing my liberties and hard earned money to take care of a foreign country. You may own our leaders but, you don’t own me or other intelligent people here.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Bill Pearlman

      What liberties do you feel have been stolen? Serious question?

      Reply to Comment
    7. A Conscious Jew

      I have no love for AIPAC, or for supporters of the current Israeli policy in the territories. But AIPAC is just a big lobby and not even as powerful as some other lobbies. Wherever it’s vilified beyond its size, it’s not hard to see the coded antisemitic implications (and yes, Jews are not immune to this kind of thinking either):

      “the lobby… subject to the whims of its wealthy donors…has such an enormous impact on our lives…power in Congress …the Israeli military industrial complex… help of American money.”

      Start to look for this language and you will see that the whole villification of AIPAC is overwrought and informed by antisemitic fantasies of instiutions that control from “behind the scenes”, wag the tail of american power, wield enormous wealth, exert privilege for treasonous purposes, start wars, the list goes on.

      Reply to Comment
    8. aristeides

      What of those accusations is not true, Conscious? Except that AIPAC does not weild its power from behind the scenes, it does it quite openly, indeed, with a blare of triumphalism.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Bill Pearlman

      I’m interested Aristedes. What mysterious “Jew powers” do you think aipac has. Serious question.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Lisa

      Dear Noam,

      Thanks for writing about this. I hope this trend takes off. It will really help us American Jewish & Arab peace activists to help peace & just activists in I/P. AIPAC is revered in the American Jewish community as a sacred cow. If you go against AIPAC it is seen as going against Israel & even the Jewish people as a whole. If Americans can see that many Israelis see AIPAC as a hindrance rather than a help, it could really open up conversation & potentially change the course of American policy to truly support a just peace.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Bill Pearlman

      Hi Lisa, what would be a “just peace” in your mind. And who are the Arab peace activists. Please respond. Still waiting to hear how aipac is destroying civil liberties through ” Jew power”

      Reply to Comment
    12. Y.

      “We have no say in how the lobby operates and are subject to the whims of its wealthy donors – and yet it has such an enormous impact on our lives, since AIPAC’s power in Congress translates directly into bolstering the Israeli military industrial complex with the help of American money.”
      Of course you do. AIPAC supports the policies of the current government. If you could change it, AIPAC would have no choice but to go along. You’re just moping because you’re an insignificant minority which can’t win an election.
      P.S. It wasn’t exactly a typical Israeli demo. How did Dehila describe it?
      “the protesters had all the hallmark attributes of a left-wing demonstration: large red flags associated with Hadash, the far-left Jewish-Arab party, calls for the Netanyahu government to resign, and no Israeli flags.”
      Somehow, I don’t see it as a “trend” or very useful, but do carry on…

      Reply to Comment
    13. Dr. Afnan

      AIPAC is equivalent of Gestapo, in another terminology in the modern era

      Reply to Comment
    14. Bill Pearlman: “I’m interested Aristedes. What mysterious “Jew powers” do you think aipac has. Serious question.”
      Umm… the powers of being the most-influential, deepest pocketed lobby in the US (with a new supreme court decision basically allowing you to buy government) – answering only to your donors, which you don’t have to reveal.

      And hiding from any criticism by virtue of being Jewish and any criticism on you is either antisemitism or holocaust denial or a re-hashing of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

      Jews (not ALL Jews, but people who are Jews and who apparently have collectively a lot more money than most of us thought existed) control media and media corporations, Hollywood, US politics, IMF, World Bank etc. We, the regular Jews, used to think this was a good thing. For us. And perhaps for a while it was.

      But as a fellow Jew living in a non-democratic country (despite assurances to my family, prior to emigration, that Israel is a democracy) whose policy and leaders are selected by the same money and interests that fuels AIPAC, I must say you are pure and simple – criminals. Perhaps not in the strict legal sense (or in Scalia’s interpretation of the legal sense). But you have staged a coup d’etat. We see this now. Whether or not this was your intent, or just a business opportunity, matters not.

      You have brought renewed hatred onto the Jews of the world. And you show no signs of letting up. Just of bringing more war and suffering to the area of the world I live in. All for money and power.

      You are traitors – to both your nations and to both your peoples.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Bill Pearlman

      Wow, we control Hollywood, US politics, IM
      f, World bank, Anything else? I must have missed it in the last newsletter. Are you mad because you didn’t get the phone number to conspiracy central on your bar mitzvah like the rest of us.

      Reply to Comment
    16. This is not conspiracy. This accepted and known truth amongst Jews here in Israel. We are proud of our people’s achievements. It is no shame.
      You’re still traitors – to both your nations and both you peoples.

      Reply to Comment
    17. zayzafuna

      I hope to participate in the Global March to Jerusalem, and I would love to march alongside Noam, Arnon, Lauren and Aristeides

      Reply to Comment
    18. Bill Pearlman

      the Iranians are sending a big contingent. Maybe the revolutionary guards will hold your spot.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Bill Pearlman

      Explain Obama, How did he get elected. Surely the international Jewish conspiracy could have stopped that one. What say you?

      Reply to Comment
    20. Henry Lowi

      Whether the dog wags the tail or the tail wags the dog, a pro-peace demand in the US would be: Stop all military aid to Israel. Disarm Israeli nukes. Disarm Israeli militarism.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Leen

      I hope people are aware that AIPAC is not only compromised of American Jews mostly, but a lot of Christian Zionists who wish to see the Jews return to the holy land, establish the state of ISrael, so the Messiah will come, save all the Christians, convert 2/3 of the Jews, and 1/3 of the Jews would die in the Apocalypse. (That’s the evangelical teachings).
      I’m sorry, but have you ever heard something so anti-jewish in your life? You can’t simply be a jew, you have to either convert or die….. >.<
      Furthermore, why on God's name would you allow people who hold such beliefs to speak for your people? I'm not Jewish, but if I was, there's no way in hell would I allow Evangelical Christian Zionists to fund me if they essentially hold the belief that I either must convert or die at some point in my life.

      The AIPAC has enormous bargaining power within the Congress, it is not obvious but it is there. Obama's whole foreign policy campaign by the way is how he was such a great friend to Israel and kissing AIPAC's behind.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Bill Pearlman:
      There is no conspiracy. It’s all in the open. I cannot tell if you’re using the term international Jewish conspiracy sarcastically or not. Let me assure you I did not use the word traitors in joke when referring to AIPAC and those who fund them. Nor the words coup d’etat.

      As for Obama. AIPAC indeed failed to have Palin elected. This was due to the American people rebelling against their establishment and trying to vote in a black guy. This was also due to Jewish voters rebelling against AIPAC. Sarah Silverman made videos targeting Jews and telling them to vote for Obama and tell their Florida grandmothers to vote for Obama too. All Jews in media were supporting Obama.

      Litte did they know Obama would be as much in AIPAC’s pockets as any other president. Perhaps a little more puppet-ish, judging from his lack of spine and complete supplication when speaking in front of AIPAC. Pessah dinner photos at the White House, videos where he pledges his undying tongue up Israel’s interests (as per AIPAC’s traitorous interpretation of Israel’s interests – not its citizens).

      I hope that answers your question, Bill 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    23. “I hope people are aware that AIPAC is not only compromised of American Jews mostly, but a lot of Christian Zionists”
      AIPAC is where you come to hide your conspiracy. It’s immune to criticism. It’s Zionist.

      Basically whenever you start talking about Zionists as Zionists. (ie. referring to self-labeled Zionists as such) out comes either the accusation of antisemitism (what you’re saying is suspiciously close to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – therefore false AND antisemitic) or ridicule (what you’re saying is suspiciously close to conspiracy theories and the Prototocols of the Elders of Zion – and therefore false AND antisemitic).

      It’s a win/win. It doesn’t matter what you want to achieve. Just call yourself a Zionist, donate to AIPAC and they’ll take care of you. The media is scared of even appearing to maybe/somehow take a position that is not pro-AIPAC. AIPAC might accuse them of holocaust denial, or something.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Bill Pearlman

      But wait, aipac controls the media and hollywood. Shouldn’t we have been able to drop the net on Silverman with a snap of the fingers. BTW McCain was the top of the ticket.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Leen

      Arnon, you’ve kind of lost me there, I’m not sure if you are saying that what I’m indicating is stuff close to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion… because I really do have no interest in conspiracy theories, nor analyzing books that were proven to be hoaxes. But it is known that AIPAC is not composed of American Jews but a lot of Christian Zionists (and by Zionist here – because I realize that Zionism itself has many different strands- , I am not saying control the media or something like that, but the evangelical teaching which I have outlined before).
      I’m not talking about Zionism itself, because each strand of Zionism is different, I am focusing on evangelical Zionism which is often adopted by evangelical christians who believe in Doomsday. They have their own reasons for supporting the state of Israel, it’s definitely not the same reasons as Zionists of Herzl or Jabotinsky or Ahad Haam.

      Reply to Comment
    26. @Leen:
      I’m referring to the self-label “Zionist” which allows people to escape close scrutiny and criticism, specifically because of the connotations to antisemitic writings such as the Protocols.

      And as someone here once said, there’s a slight difference between conspiracy theories and theories about conspiracies.
      AIPAC and its buying of government, aided by recent US supreme court rulings – money can buy government with no need to disclose the source/donors – would mean that talking about these donors and their intent becomes quite difficult. We can only speak of the policies they’re pushing. We cannot talk of their “intent”, as we can’t even know who paid them to do what.
      Any conversation about them – unknown participants with unknown motives – naturally takes a conspiratorial form. Add to that the self-labeling as Zionists, and any real criticism you might have starts sounding like a re-hashing of the Protocols.
      This is indeed a conundrum.
      AIPAC makes full use of this to facilitate the corporate coup d’etat that is nearing completion and kill democracy and civil liberties – in the US and in the middle east.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Bill Pearlman: “But wait, aipac controls the media and hollywood. Shouldn’t we have been able to drop the net on Silverman with a snap of the fingers.”
      Why would they? Obama is pretty much in their back-pockets. An appeaser and supplicant to AIPAC.
      This might not have been clear prior to the 2008 campaign to the voters, but its abundantly clear now. From Obama’s own rhetoric.
      Win/win, really.
      Bill Pearlman, I’m so happy to be having this conversation with you. Your questions are succinct and to the point.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Bill Pearlman

      So Obama was a brilliantly conceived front man that would baffle the voters and let the Aipac elders move along with their coup. Do I have that right?

      Reply to Comment
    29. Obama is what the Republicans said of him: An appeaser and a supplicant. And a man of compromise by his own words. “No Red-America or Blue-America” were his words, I believe.
      He was an election campaign – a teleprompter reader, as he was billed by his detractors. Democrats billed him as an outsider during the primaries, preferring Clinton over him. The Democratic establishment finally backed him and “abandoned” Clinton only after it was clear he would win them a sweeping election.
      If one looks back at the days immediately after his election, one can see he had no administration to speak of. He put Clinton in a key position in his administration, despite defeating her in the primaries and what was perceived as bad blood between them – and to the protestations of his grassroots supporters, who thought they were putting “their” man into the establishment. The rest of his administration was composed of left-overs from the Bush administration. Incidentally those that had the most to do with the financial crisis of 2008.
      Obama’s campaign was indeed brilliantly conceived. ‘Hope’ and ‘Change’ and ‘Yes, We Can’.
      Is this news to you?
      It’s pretty well-documented mainstream stuff. I think Naomi Wolf speaks quite eloquently about the US’s slide into fascism under the Obama administration.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Bill Pearlman

      So, your saying thtat Obama is an empty suit and a front for the elders of aipac. Do I have that correct?

      Reply to Comment
    31. Leen

      @Arnon, Apologies I misunderstood.

      As for Obama and AIPAC, have a good look at his foreign policy campaign video… By no means is Israel America’s best or strongest ally and the relationship brings little benefit to America, yet Obama spends most of his video talking about the great things he did for Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Mareli

      I loved those signs! Especially AIPAC Damn You. You can carry signs in Israel that would get you crucified in the US. I hope this is a growing voice in Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    33. delia ruhe

      Nice to see that Israelis are waking up to the destructive impact of the American pro-Israel lobby. Peter Beinart’s book should also help (I am assuming that it’s being translated into Hebrew)– it’s certainly a book worth reading.

      Reply to Comment
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