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March 2, 2012 0

“Occupy AIPAC” Conference Seeks to Lambast Pro-Israel Lobby and Cast Antiwar Agenda as the “99%”

An anti-Israel con­fer­ence to counter this weekend’s annual AIPAC Pol­icy Con­fer­ence will begin today and includes a vari­ety of events, ral­lies and pub­lic demon­stra­tions through March 6.
 
This year’s protest event, titled “Occupy AIPAC,” seeks to cap­i­tal­ize on the suc­cess of the Occupy Move­ment and fos­ter com­mon cause between the pop­u­lar social protests and anti-Israel efforts. The event’s Twit­ter feed tries to paint Israel and its sup­port­ers in the U.S. as part of the prover­bial “1%” and  the left-wing anti­war move­ment as the 99%, a repur­pos­ing of the Occupy Movement’s rhetoric. In addi­tion, one of the con­fer­ence ses­sions links the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street Move­ment with anti-Israel efforts.
 
The con­fer­ence ses­sion that is likely to fea­ture the most egre­gious rhetoric is titled “AIPAC: What it is, who its allies are, why it’s dan­ger­ous and how to stop it.” It will fea­ture, among oth­ers, Hatem Baz­ian, the leader of the extreme anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tion Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine; Jef­frey Blank­fort, an anti-Israel jour­nal­ist who claims that the “Israel lobby” con­trols U.S. for­eign pol­icy in the Mid­dle East; and Ali­son Weir, the direc­tor of the Coun­cil for the National Inter­est. Weir’s writ­ings and com­ments have at times crossed the line into anti-Semitism, includ­ing accus­ing Israelis of har­vest­ing Pales­tini­ans’ organs. Accord­ing to descrip­tions pro­vided on the con­fer­ence Web site, the ses­sion will include a seg­ment on how AIPAC “pro­motes Mus­lim otherness.”
 
Con­fer­ence atten­dees will have the oppor­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in sev­eral ral­lies and demon­stra­tions against AIPAC events, includ­ing protests out­side the White House dur­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s and Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu’s speeches.
 
Occupy AIPAC’s Twit­ter feed accuses AIPAC of exces­sive con­trol over U.S. pol­icy, includ­ing posts read­ing “We want our coun­try back” and “End big money lob­by­ist con­trol of MidEast Policy.”
 
The con­fer­ence has already attracted at least one anti-Semitic attendee, Charles Carl­son. Carl­son is the co-founder and direc­tor of “We Hold These Truths,” an Arizona-based Chris­t­ian anti-Semitic group that reg­u­larly protests out­side Chris­t­ian Zion­ist churches. In a mes­sage to his mem­bers invit­ing peo­ple to join him at “Occupy AIPAC,” Carl­son wrote:
 
“Every polit­i­cal can­di­date for pres­i­dent is bow­ing and scrap­ing to the state of Israel…they are not appeal­ing for Israeli votes,  but for the tens of mil­lions of Amer­i­can Chris­t­ian Zion­ist votes…Thousands of mis­taken and oppor­tunis­tic Pas­tors also fear the truth because they have mis­lead their con­gre­ga­tions.  Knowl­edge of Chris­t­ian Zion­ism can drive a stake through it, to be some­day buried in the grave­yard of apos­tate, reli­gious acts of war.”

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February 21, 2012 0

American Muslims for Palestine Takes Aim at High Schools

The vir­u­lently anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tion, Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine (AMP), held its first high school edu­ca­tional train­ing ses­sion of 2012 at the Islamic Foun­da­tion School in Villa Park, Illi­nois.

The train­ing ses­sion was attended by some 200 stu­dents from grades 10 to 12 and con­sisted of a half-day work­shop on a vari­ety of top­ics, includ­ing the Islamic sig­nif­i­cance of Pales­tine, accord­ing to AMP’s Web site. One ses­sion was led by AMP Direc­tor of Media and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Kristin Szrem­ski on steps stu­dents can take to uti­lize the media in their activism. Szrem­ski was a fea­tured speaker at the Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia BDS con­fer­ence ear­lier this month.
AMP pro­motes its extreme anti-Israel views through var­i­ous pub­lic events designed for stu­dents and non-students alike. For exam­ple, dur­ing its ses­sion at the Decem­ber 2009 MAS-ICNA con­ven­tion, speak­ers called on “all Mus­lims to lib­er­ate all of Pales­tine from the North to the South from Al Quds to the sea” and described Jews as “the worst kind of people.” 
AMP has announced that it will embark on sim­i­lar events for high schools in Chicago and Mil­wau­kee. Facil­i­tat­ing stu­dent activism was the cen­tral theme of AMP’s 2011 national con­fer­ence, where a num­ber of ses­sions were ded­i­cated to ways stu­dents can dis­cuss the issue of Pales­tine in schools.
AMP has also made a con­certed effort to engage in advo­cacy on col­lege cam­puses and facil­i­tate increased col­lab­o­ra­tion among anti-Israel stu­dents, in par­tic­u­lar the activ­ity of Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP), a stu­dent orga­ni­za­tion that’s a pri­mary orga­nizer of anti-Israel events on campus.

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February 1, 2012 0

Three Days to the Penn BDS Conference

In advance of this weekend’s BDS con­fer­ence at the Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, we are high­light­ing five of the most anti-Israel indi­vid­u­als sched­uled to speak at the conference.

 Today we pro­file Kristin Szrem­ski, the media direc­tor of Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine, an extreme anti-Israel group based in Chicago that spends sig­nif­i­cant resources on orga­niz­ing and coor­di­nat­ing anti-Israel activ­ity on col­lege campuses.
Szrem­ski will speak on the topic of “Talk­ing to Begin­ners about BDS, Israel and Zionism.”
Dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion in Wash­ing­ton DC in Sep­tem­ber 2011 with a fel­low activist from the Inter­na­tional Jew­ish Anti-Zionist Net­work, Szrem­ski spoke about “legal and pop­u­lar approaches to chal­leng­ing Zion­ist orga­ni­za­tions” and advo­cated against inter­faith dia­logue with Jew­ish groups because it leads to “creep­ing nor­malcy” with Jews who may be Zionists.
On her Twit­ter page, Szrem­ski has described Illi­nois Sen­a­tor Mark Kirk as an “Israel-firster,” alleg­ing that he has more loy­alty to Israel than the United States.
She has also stated that Israel con­trols the Amer­i­can media, a typ­i­cal anti-Israel con­spir­acy the­ory. Speak­ing at the Uni­ver­sity of Illi­nois at Urbana-Champaign sev­eral years ago about the Gaza War, Szrem­ski cryp­ti­cally alleged: “The media that is sup­posed to be in the posi­tion of power is [sub­ject­ing] itself to censorship…It’s impos­si­ble to get fair cov­er­age from one source who con­trols all that power.”
Num­ber 5: J Kehaulani Kauanui

Num­ber 4: Helena Cobban

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