Thursday, May 23, 2013

Medea Benjamin: Before Obama, Expose AIPAC 2013

Medea Benjamin protested President Obama's speech today at National Defense University. She protested AIPAC a few months ago: 
Women’s anti-war group Code Pink and its co-founder Medea Benjamin were outside the Washington Convention Center protesting the conference, along with many other protestors, ranging from 25-75 supporters. The Orthodox Jewish group Neturei Karta and activists of Palestinian heritage joined Code Pink as well.

“Israel is a terrorist state. Israel is a racist state,” one chant shouted by protesters went.

The bulk of their activities included protesting on a loud mic against Israeli settlements in the West Bank, against a new war with Iran, and, in their view, the dangerous policies and influence of AIPAC on the U.S. Congress. Mention of Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist who was crushed by an Israeli Defense Force bulldozer in the Gaza strip in the early 2000s, was also made (whether Corrie was intentionally killed is disputed).

“You can’t even get a job in Israel if you side with peaceniks,” one male protestor said.

Benjamin also approached House Unmanned Systems Co-Chair McKeon both as he entered the conference and hours later when he exited the conference. She shouted “drone master” as he walked in the conference, and followed him (with other Code Pink members beside her) to his ride as he walked out.

Code Pink didn’t capitalize on all members of Congress walking by.

For example, Rep. Connolly stood on the lower half of the steps right in front of the where the group was protesting for almost 30 seconds. He appeared to be looking out into the street waiting for his transportation to arrive. He was surrounded by no one and visibly in plain sight to the group. The group said nothing to Connolly – a sign that the group couldn’t recognize the congressman.

At other times, the protestors were off the mark identifying government officials.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) who is a U.S. Senate hopeful seeking to fill Secretary of State John Kerry’s former seat, was mistaken as a senator.

“Senator Markey are you signing on to [the] Menendez bill?” one protestor shouted into the portable mic. “Please do not sign. We do not need another war!”

“The Democrats and the Republicans were wrong about Iraq. They were wrong about Afghanistan. They’re wrong about Iran,” he continued to shout at Markey.

When Rep. Levin left the building, a male protestor and self-identified Michigander shouted “Detroit doesn’t have housing! Detroit does not have free healthcare! Israel has free healthcare, free education. Why is Detroit suffering, Representative Levin, when you want to give three to six billion dollars every single year? Why is Detroit now being taken over?”

Levin replied: “With the health care act you’re going to have healthcare.” Levin was referring the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Later, after the shouter shared more complaints, in unison the protestors shouted at Levin “work for us, not for Israel.”

“That’s a great example of how AIPAC has bought our Congress and taken our tax dollars out of cities like Detroit that are dying,” Benjamin said, adding that there’s no money for education and healthcare in Detroit
“And yet, a congressmen from Detroit comes here to bow down before AIPAC and say ‘of course, we’ll give you three billion dollars. Of course what Israel wants Israel gets,” she continued.

The group had better success with Franken who at least said he would study the bill (S. Res. 65) they wanted him to vote against.

When Benjamin told Franken that “we don’t need another war,” Franken replied that “but we also don’t need a nuclear weapon,” most likely referring to Iran.
 Read the whole story here: Medea Benjamin at Occupy AIPAC/Expose AIPAC 2013 

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