The Conspiracy

AIPAC vs. Occupy AIPAC [AIPAC 2012]

This weekend, thousands of people will descend on that nation’s capital, and later, the Capitol to attend AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference.

AIPAC, the American Israel Public Action Committee, will hold its biggest convention ever this weekend in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, playing host to the likes of:

  • President Barack Obama
  • Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu
  • President Shimon Peres
  • Former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney
  • Former Penn. Senator Rick Santorum
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
  • Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
  • Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
  • House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
  • And many, many more.

Attendees will also attend a number of workshops on the Middle East, particularly Israel.

But (literally) across the street, AIPAC detractors are gathering under the literal banner of Occupy AIPAC. Hundreds of people from across the country went to the Occupy AIPAC Summit to hear from various Palestinian activists, NGO officials, authors, comedians and more.

Being from American University, I inevitably found some AU connections I felt like sharing (shocker). Some of their notable speakers included:

  • CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin (who was detained by AU public safety officers)
  • Poet and activist Remi Kanazi (who performed at AU two days ago, more on that later)
  • Cathy Schneider (who teaches at AU)
The summit was sponsored by The Nation, CODEPINK, the Institute for Policy Studies and Just Foreign Policy.

So what can we expect the rest of this weekend from these two groups so close together? Well, organizers say they have giant banners and plans to create a mock checkpoint…

Stay tuned. I’ll be blogging from the conference as much as possible. Then tune in to Al Jazeera’s the Stream on Monday around 2:30 p.m. to hear from me more about AIPAC.

Anything in particular you’re curious about? Email me at zach@newvoices.org.

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