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Activists Confront Lawmakers and AIPAC Members on Gaza

by Phil Pasquini
In an action welcoming AIPAC to Congress for their lobbying efforts, human rights activists including members of Code Pink and others continued their weeklong “Flood Congress for Palestine” campaign by greeting AIPAC and Congress members outside of the Capitol, in the street and today, inside the Rayburn Congressional Office Building.
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WASHINGTON (03-12) – It was a busy Tuesday on Capitol Hill with Special Consul Robert Hur discussing his report on the handling of classified documents by President Biden wherein, he stated that if the president had been charged in the matter, he would have appeared as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

While that hearing was underway, members of Congress traveled back and forth between the Capitol and their nearby offices where they were being lobbied by leading members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in seeking continued support for Israel. The group’s annual convention is taking place this week with an expected attendance of 1,600 supporters who will hear about the war in Gaza and the organizations upcoming political strategy for the 2024 election cycle.

In an action welcoming AIPAC to Congress for their lobbying efforts, human rights activists including members of Code Pink and others continued their weeklong “Flood Congress for Palestine” campaign by greeting AIPAC and Congress members outside of the Capitol, in the street and today, inside the Rayburn Congressional Office Building.

AIPAC who describes themselves as “A national movement of more than 3 million pro-Israel Americans who lobby for U.S. policies that strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship” while boasting that “It is the largest pro-Israel PAC in America, supporting bipartisan candidates who stand with Israel.”

Nobody would argue with their self-description as the group spends millions of dollars annually both in contributions to individual candidates from both parties and in its extensive lobbying efforts to generate support for Israel.

According to Code Pink, “Those efforts have paid off handsomely as Congress is honoring Biden’s request to continue to fund genocide. The United States House of Representatives has passed a Republican plan providing $14.5 billion in military aid for Israel. The package includes $4 billion to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems and military equipment transferred from U.S. stocks.”

The activists also noted that Israel has “fired over 32,000 tonnes of explosives into Gaza since 7 October 2023. The explosive force is estimated to be equivalent to double the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in Japan in 1945.” A horrific fact alone on its surface without the realization of its impact of death, destruction and suffering on the ground of an innocent civilian population who have suffered most of the over 30,000 deaths and innumerable injuries.

This while the U.S. is providing both weapons and funding to the Israeli military on the one hand while on the other it engages in bringing desperately needed food, medicine and other aid to those to whom they are complicit in bombing and killing.

In calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza, numerous groups of activists have become a regular presence at the Capitol in both the House and Senate office buildings and in visiting members’ offices while also attending various hearings. While continually demanding that lawmakers refund the suspended budget for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

On March 12 activists physically confronted both members of Congress and of AIPAC by expressly asking them why they supported Israel in its ongoing Gaza genocide, many of whom briskly walked away in trying to avoid the questions and slogans being hurled at them, while a few ducked into elevators or nearby bathrooms to escape having to respond.

In one confrontation two AIPAC men did engage in a short conversation by questioning why the activists did not support Israel in its “9/11” before ducking into a stairwell where they called the activists “antisemites” for not supporting Israel as the door closed behind them.

A few other AIPAC members did engage in short, heated discussions and were genuinely upset by the tone of their comments as they hastily sped away while others, clearly unhappy by the activists’ presence disgruntledly walked away without commenting.

In our democratic, open and free society which regards free speech as a sacred right, AIPAC and members of Congress overall seemed miffed for being questioned about their support for the terrible genocide taking place in Gaza. It is much to the activists’ credit that they are willing to speak up and out in calling on our elected representatives and AIPAC members by making them uncomfortable and accountable for their complicit actions.

Among a group of Capitol Police officers discussing the mornings confrontations, one spoke out informing the rest that “these are nice people, but they sure are annoying.” Such is the price of Democracy.

Report and photos by Phil Pasquini

© 2023 nuzeink all rights reserved worldwide


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