I fear AIPAC’s ability to move US policy in dangerous directions. AIPAC does a disservice to the Palestinians, the Israelis and the American people. It helps to keep the Middle East in a perpetual state of war and this year will be no different from last year as it keeps up a steady drumbeat calling for war against Iran, writes Hedy Epstein
AIPAC pretends to speak for all Jews, but it certainly does not speak for me or other members of the Jewish community in this country who are committed to equal rights for all and are aware that American interventionism is likely to bring further disaster and chaos to the Middle East.
Israel, of course, would not be able to carry out its war crimes against civilians in Lebanon and Gaza without the United States — and our $3 billion in military aid — permitting it to do so. At 86 years old, I use every ounce of my energy to educate the American public about the need to stop supporting the abuses committed by the Israeli government and military against the Palestinian people. Sometimes there are people who try to shout me down and scream that I am a self-hating Jew, but most of the time the audience is receptive to hear from someone who survived the Holocaust and now works to free the Palestinians from Israeli oppression.
The vicious discrimination brought to bear against Palestinians in the occupied territories deserves no applause from members of Congress attending the AIPAC conference. Instead, they should raise basic questions with Israeli officials about decades of inferior rights endured by Palestinians both inside Israel and the occupied territories.
Hedy Epstein is a Holocaust survivor, who writes and travels extensively to speak about social justice causes and Middle Eastern affairs. She will be participating in Move Over AIPAC, a gathering in Washington, DC from 21-24 May 2011, to expose AIPAC and build the vision for a new US foreign policy in the Middle East (www.MoveOverAIPAC.org).