Medea Benjamin, of Jewish descent, is one of the co-founders of Code Pink.
While I was being tackled by security guards at Washington’s Convention Center during the AIPAC conference for unfurling a banner that asked “What about Gaza?,” my heart was aching. I wasn’t bothered so much by the burly guards who were yanking my arms behind by back and dragging me-along with 5 other CODEPINK members-out of the hall. They were doing their job.
What made my heart ache was the hatred I felt from the AIPAC staff who tore up the banner and slammed their hands across my mouth as I tried to yell out: “What about Gaza? What about the children?”
“Shut the f— up. Shut the f— up.” one staffer yelled, red-faced and sweating as he ran beside me. “This is not the place to be saying that shit. Get the f— out of here.”
What makes my heart ache is thinking about the traumatized children I met on my recent trip to Gaza, and how their suffering is denied by the 6,000 AIPAC conventioneers who are living in a bubble-a bubble where Israel is the victim and all critics are anti-Semitic, terrorist lovers or, as in my case, self-hating Jews.
I found it fascinating that AIPAC’s executive director Howard Kohr opened the conference admitting that there was now a huge, international campaign against the policies of Israel. He painted a picture of 30,000 people marching in Spain, Italian trade unionists calling for a boycott of Israeli products, the UN Human Rights Council passing 26 resolutions condemning Israel, an Israeli Apartheid Week that is building a global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.