AIPAC, what do these initials mean?
A Portal: http://www.ThePortlandAlliance.org/aipac
The media—always soft on AIPAC—evidently blacked out yesterday’s protest, making Dan Handelman’s report
"No War on Iran: Occupy AIPAC" rally
While you wouldn't know it from the mainstream media, a boisterous crowd
of about 80 people flanked the sidewalks by the Mittleman Jewish Community
Center Sunday evening to protest the American Israel Political Action
Committee dinner being held there. AIPAC's terrible track record on
Palestinian human rights and its current push for war on Iran were the
main topics of signs and chants facing the folks heading into the dinner.
The protest started at 4, the pre-dinner at 5, the dinner at 6, and the
last folks left the protest site at 8 PM though the event was not quite
The protest signs, in coordinated red and black, said "Occupy AIPAC," "No
War on Iran" and "Stop Funding Israeli Apartheid." Many, many drivers and
passers-by honked and gave the thumbs up or a peace sign. A smaller number
of folks used profanity and swore at the protestors, who generally
responded by blowing kisses or otherwise "turning the other cheek."
While the protest has been going on for five years now, three things made
this event different:
1) the organizers asked community members to contact elected officials
ahead of time to propose that they not accept an invitation to the dinner;
2) the threat of war on Iran made for an arguably more focused and more
broad message; and
3) along with the gatherings at the entrances and across the street from
the Mittleman Center, there was a 12-foot tower of peace about 300 feet
down Capitol Highway.
Here are photos facing east (1) and west (2):
Two people expressed interest in attending the dinner in order to get
first-hand information about what was actually being said. But, like a
secret society of sorts, the AIPAC folks rejected both the people despite
their willingness to pay for tickets and go through the security
checkpoint (metal detector and ID presentation) on the way in.
Among the elected officials spotted going into the event despite the
contacts from the citizenry were:
--Sen. Ron Wyden, who reportedly hid his face on the way in, making him
resemble a wanted criminal heading into court (though he did wave at
the tower-sitters as he left at 7:10 PM);
--Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, who, like Wyden, reportedly made remarks to the
--Secretary of State Kate Brown;
--Mayor of Beaverton Denny Doyle;
--presumably (confirmation pending), City Commissioner Amanda Fritz.
(You may recall that organizers invited Fritz to the protest when she
said she was attending the AIPAC dinner because she goes to any event
she's invited to.)
It may be worth contacting those folks to let them know of your
disappointment in them, as well as to ask what was talked about and
whether they could let you know what they said if they spoke.
If you'd like to contribute at all, FYI while PJW was able to recoup most
of the costs of building the tower, we came about $60 shy of breaking even
when including the costs of building a temporary roof rack to transport it
to the site. It was quite the eyeful, visible coming up the hill from
Portland or down from the West side, people got the message: No War on
Thanks to all who helped make "Occupy AIPAC" a success.
Peace and Justice Works
Iraq Affinity Group
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065 (Office)
visit my website www.michaelmunk.com