Protesters Confront Netanyahu Inside AIPAC Gala



by Move Over AIPAC!

Video available upon request: email press [dot] moa [at] gmail [dot] com

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.”

Bruce Taub, 71, from Massachusetts and associated with American Jews for a Just Peace, was another protester. “As a Jewish man, I come from a people who have been scattered about the world without losing their identity. I will not sit by and allow Palestinian refugees to be denied their rights and peoplehood in a country that would allow me to become a citizen even though I have no ties there. Displacing refugees is indefensible.” said Taub, 71.

Chelsea Byers, 21 year old college student from Arizona who is an intern with CODEPINK, said “I am protesting AIPAC and Netanyahu because I am disappointed and enraged that the US supports human rights violations by Israel. This includes killing, injuring, and locking up nonviolent protesters fighting for the same human rights I am. I am appalled that $3 billion US tax dollars goes to fund the perpetuation of violence instead of building a more sustainable future. Silencing dissent is indefensible.”

“In a mere three weeks, Israel killed 1400 Gazans, and since the siege on Gaza began , thousands have died from being denied access to health-care, drinkable water, bodily security and humanity,” stated Sasha Gelzin of Washington D.C. “Since Palestinians can’t confront Netanyahu and remind him of their daily condition, we are doing that tonight. Starving Gaza is indefensible; dropping white phosphorous bombs is indefensible. ”

This action is part of a week-long set of actions protesting the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC and its unconditional support for Israel. Tomorrow, activists will be in the halls of Congress during PM Netanyahu’s speech. To read more about Move Over AIPAC events, visit the website at

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