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by Beth Goodtree


The AIPAC conference attracted Ariel Sharon to America like a moth to a flame. But even before he went to Washington, he stopped off in New York City. A massive rally, organized by AFSI (Americans for a Safe Israel) was held directly across from where Sharon was to speak. [Editor's note: see "Large Crowds Heckle PM."]

And I was there, resplendent in my orange skirt, orange shirt, orange (well, red) hair and all.

No one expected the huge crowd that turned out. Certainly not the NYC police, who tried sending people away and keeping those who were there, literally squashed between metal barriers like Holocaust victims in cattle cars. They were also rude to some of the demonstrators to the point of being dictatorial and threatening. For three hours, partly in a cold downpour, nearly 3000 people (not the paltry 'several hundred' as reported by Associated Press) were enthusiastically chanting, shouting and singing while noted rabbis and political leaders each gave speeches.

I stayed near the police to see and overhear their reactions to this demonstration. Frankly, they were shocked at the size and fervor and somewhat at a loss of what to do. Eventually, they -- the police -- decided to videotape the demonstrators.

So let this demonstration be a lesson to Sharon: we who oppose ethnic cleansing of Jews from Jewish lands are a force to be reckoned with.

The author with other Gush Katif protesters at Aipac, May 24, 2005. Shmuel Sackett of Manhigut Yehudit is the bearded man next to her. Picture taken by Carrie Devorah, sister of Egged Bus #19 murder victim, Chezi Goldberg. Contact for picture reprint permission.

But on to the AIPAC conference.

For a group that ostensibly supports Israel, all I saw from the AIPAC leadership was support for a failing political policy that demonizes Jews and rewards terror. I was so inundated with brainwashed rhetoric it was like being covered in camel dung. I shoulda brought toilet paper.

For some unknown reason, the AIPAC leaders seem to be more of a rubber stamp than representing a true advocacy group, which is a shame. This lack of backbone goes against the very meaning of AIPAC's name: American-Israel Public Affairs Committee.

How is it a rubber stamp?

The year is 2004. Disengagement is on everyone's mind. A group sincerely dedicated to public affairs would have presented speakers from both sides of the issue. But not AIPAC. Natan Sharansky begged to speak at last year's conference and was unceremoniously turned down.


Because Sharansky wanted to warn that giving up Jewish land to a group of terrorists who had no intention of having a true democracy was a roadmap to disaster for Israel.

The AIPAC leaders didn't want to let this public figure speak. It went against their personal agenda -- which was to foist their preferred program of disengagement on the world in general and Israelis in particular. This despite the fact that many Israelis, as well as Diaspora Jews, were very much against giving away Jewish historic and holy land while evicting Jews as a reward for terror to an entire society bent upon committing Jewish genocide. (1)

Ariel Sharon speaking to Aipac, May 24, 2005. Picture taken by Carrie Devorah, sister of Egged Bus #19 murder victim, Chezi Goldberg. Contact for picture reprint permission.

So what are the AIPAC lies? Here are a few:

AIPAC Lie #1

"The peace process will only succeed if Israel disengages..." (2)

Truth #1

The Arabs were bombing Israel, hijacking planes and murdering Jews long before and right up to the time that the Jews turned empty, barren, uninhabited land into thriving towns.

AIPAC Lies #2 & #3

"US aid enhances the prospects for peace by making clear to Israel's would-be adversaries that there is no military alternative to negotiations." (2)

Truth #2

US aid to Israel has been going on for decades and it hasn't convinced Israel's enemies that there is no alternative to negotiations. Since the year 2000, there have been 22,000 attacks on Israelis. (2)

Truth #3

US aid to Israel is being counteracted by US aid to the very people attacking Israel. This includes the billions of dollars given to the Arabs occupying Jewish Palestine as well as to their aiders and abettors -- the Egyptians -- who are waging a blood libel and hate campaign against Jews and Israel.

AIPAC Lie #4

"Israel's withdrawal from Gaza will mean that 1.3 million Palestinians will no longer be subject to Israeli jurisdiction." (2)

Truth #4

Israel does not have jurisdiction over these Arabs now. They had elections, and they have their own laws, courts, security forces and police. If Israel supposedly has jurisdiction over these people than what is Abbas doing in Washington talking to Bush, since he has no jurisdiction? You can't have it both ways.

AIPAC Lie #5

"Nearly 430,000 West Bank Palestinians will no longer be under Israel's security control." (2)

Truth #5

They aren't under Israeli jurisdiction now. If these Arabs/Muslims were under Israeli security control, there would be no barrage of missiles -- like the 60 Kassam rockets landing in a two-day period last week. There would be no shootings at nursery schools and playgrounds (a nefarious attempt to exterminate the future generation of Jews), no shootings at commuters and no genocide/homicide bombers.

Yet even if there is a disengagement, the Arabs -- like any other foreigners visiting any other country -- will be required to go through some form of customs checkpoint/barrier.

So here we have AIPAC lying at every turn to justify ethnic cleansing based upon religion and national origin. I find this ironic since most of the AIPAC members I spoke to are Democrats and liberal. How hypocritical of their leadership to promote ethnic cleansing when it is supposedly the liberals who support human rights.

However, I was surprised to see Manhigut Yehudit's co-founder -- Shmuel Sackett -- in attendance. Manhigut Yehudit, as well as its most famous member and other co-founder, Moshe Feiglin (who was not at the conference), are adamantly opposed to the disengagement and ethnic cleansing. Both are also observant Jews and so I wrongly assumed that Manhigut's, Feiglin's and Sackett's position to be a lost cause among the less observant AIPAC crowd.

Ariel Sharon & Co. have continuously painted Feiglin, Sackett and Manhigut Yehudit as radical religious right-wingers. Therefore, an AIPAC conference, addressed by Sharon and attended by mostly non-observant, middle-of-the-road, liberal American Jews was not the place I expected Manhigut Yehudit to find a receptive welcome.

Yet they got a surprisingly warm reception among the conference attendees. Contrary to Mr. Sharon portraying people who want to keep their homes, lands and businesses as radicals, these conference attendees saw them as victims putting up a justified fight against ethnic cleansing, bullying and threats of imprisonment. It made me wonder why the AIPAC leadership is so out of touch with reality and their own membership.

These non-observant, liberal Jews -- the AIPAC members themselves -- were highly receptive to Shmuel Sackett as representing the settlers and Feiglin's position on disengagement and Israel's governance. To my chagrin, my surprise was from automatically believing the insidious propaganda put forth by the Sharon government, that non-religious Jews would reject religious ones as potential leaders.

In direct opposition to the Sharon government's intimations that a religious political party would try to force the non-religious to become observant, Sackett, as a representative of Manhigut Yehudit, showed that all Jews are welcomed for whom they are. Having met Sackett, many of the AIPAC attendees came to see through this Sharon government lie. By the end of the conference, they saw Manhigut Yehudit, Feiglin and Sackett as people with whom they had much in common -- what's best for Israel as well as Jews from all walks of life and degrees of observancy.

How do I know this? Sackett was handing out plain orange buttons to be worn as a low-key symbol of opposition to the ethnic cleansing of disengagement. I saw many people wearing them. I also witnessed many people who did not wear them come up to Shmuel Sackett and tell him that they were in support of the settlers and Manhigut's platform but were afraid to show it at a conference with over-the-top security that was meant in part to stifle opposition.

This was demonstrated when Sackett stood up during Sharon's talk of what a wonderful thing disengagement was. Sackett, a resident of an area slated to be ethnically cleansed said, "We're not leaving. Prime Minister Sharon will not take me out of my home. Soldiers will not drag my children out of their homes." He was manhandled out of the conference.

Then a woman, Tova Abady, also a resident slated to be ethnically cleansed, stood up and stated, "I live in Gush Katif. I am not leaving. I am staying in my home." Although willing to calmly leave, i saw her roughly dragged/carried out of the conference and sustained back and neck injuries from her treatment.

Even before the conference started I myself, was taken out of my seat and put into a separate area where I was constantly watched by several large men and told not to walk around (everyone else was allowed to, though). This was most likely because I had been seen talking to Shmuel Sackett and his crew earlier in the morning at his hotel.

So while the AIPAC conference ended up being a big ego stroke for the leaders and Sharon, it was hardly representative of the membership or the Jewish people and was designed to suppress opposition to ethnic cleansing. Perhaps AIPAC really stands for American-Israel 'Politiganda' and Crapola...

End Notes

(1) (June 2004 poll)

(2) Quote taken from the 2005 AIPAC Conference handouts.


Beth Goodtree is an award-winning writer who lives in the NYC metro area. She writes political commentary/analysis, and the occasional science and humor articles. Visit her website at


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