Skip to main content

Young Jews lead resistance at AIPAC against Israeli occupation

Protests against pro-Israel lobby group mounted inside and outside the hall to oppose Donald Trump's support for Benjamin Netanyahu
Young Jewish protesters block the entrance to the Washington Convention Center, hosting the AIPAC 2017 policy conference (ifnotnoworg)

An estimated 1,000 young, largely Jewish, protesters descended on the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference in Washington Convention DC on Sunday. AIPAC is a lobby group which pushes pro-Israel policies in the United States.

"When the Trump administration goes to AIPAC, the Jewish Resistance will be there to meet him," said a statement on the protest organisers' website. Yonah Lieberman, from the Ifnotnow group, called it the “the largest demonstration against AIPAC".

“AIPAC promotes endless occupation and Islamophobia in name of the Jewish community, but they do not represent our generation of Jews,” the group said.

On the first day of the conference, speakers included US Vice-President Mike Pence and former British prime minister Tony Blair. The event traditionally sees US and international leaders line up to show support for Israel.

Ifnotnow was formed during Israel's attack on Gaza in 2014: its goals include stopping the war on Gaza, ending the occupation of Palestine and "ensuring freedom and dignity for all". 


Promo artwork for AIPAC protest (ifnotnowmovement.org)

It rallied supporters...

...and rabbis led prayers...

...while protesters blocked the doors to the conference centre...

...and dropped a banner inside:

They were joined by prominent academic Cornell West...

...with everyone protesting because...

Many were opposed to the occupation of Palestinian land...

...while others called for the return of something just as important...

Others drew comparisons with movements like Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March...

Meanwhile, inside the conference centre...

Pence told the audience that Trump was “seriously considering” moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem...

He also talked about the Trump administration putting “Iran on notice,” stating that “America will no longer tolerate Iran’s attempts to destabilise the region and jeopardise Israel’s security.”

Former British prime minister Tony Blair also spoke...

...telling delegates: “If you had a benign regime in Iran, all of the problems in the Middle East would be resolvable.” 

Others, however, heard echoes of the past in his speech...

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed AIPAC via video conference from Israel (see 1:00:00 in)


He took aim at Iran, praised the US and admonished the Palestinians...

But beyond the conference hall, some were more interested in his appearance…

... and some saw comparison with another world leader - albeit fictitious...