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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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