On the 26th of march, the progressive Jewish organization IfNotNow charged the doors of the Washington Convention Center and locked down to blockade both entrances to AIPAC’s annual convention. The blockades did not last all day, but the protests did, even after JDL (so-called Jewish Defense League) counterprotesters assaulted some of the activists on the scene. Both Jewish and Palestinan protesters stayed put to oppose AIPAC essentially the entire day.
When word got out that some of the JDL counterprotesters had physically assaulted protesters, an anti-Fascist bloc responded to the scene. The Antifa bloc showed up to provide backup and deter further physical assaults, only to find that the JDL had quit the field by the time they arrived. The rest of the right-wingers remained peaceful from that point on, so the Antifa bloc’s objective of keeping or restoring the peace was still achieved.
AIPAC is infamous for buying US Congressional influence to support the Israeli government and the pro-settler agenda. One of the non-JDL counterprotesters wore a Trump MAGA hat and carried a pole with both the US and Israeli flags on it. Trump is supported by known neo-Nazis like Richard Spencer, and the JDL has been reported to be “sympathetic” to the alt-right and has been called out for refusing to defend Jewish people in Montana from a neo-Nazi march on that grounds.
There were many rational disconnects about just who was supporting who and why on the right-wing side. Kahanists siding with Richard Spencer while alt-right Trump supporters side with any faction in Israeli politics just boggles the mind. The flagpole man may not even have realized that the US flag over the Israeli flag on the same pole can be interpreted as calling for US control of Israel or as a statement that Israel is a puppet, vassal, or client state of the US. The latter situation is quite widely suspected of being true, of course.
While this strange coalition of the Israeli right-wing and settler movements with the US far right met in the Convention Center, progressive Jewish groups hammered AIPAC with first the door blockades and then the ongoing protest that lasted at least until 5PM. Not all the protest was outside either: someone managed to drop a banner inside, and either that person or another protesters was escorted out. At that point part of the crowd that had been up the street engaging right-wingers charged back to the center of the block at a full run, the second charge of the day after that initial charge to set up some of the blockades.
Charging AIPAC to set the blockades-still from Facebook video embedded on Twitter
Blockading AIPAC: IfNotNow photo
Counterprotesters stomp on Palestinian flag-photo by Nadiagoestweet
A JDL member is tackled after striking a protester with a stick and tackling the same or another protester
Banner dropped inside AIPAC (IfNotNow photo)
Protesters charge back to greet activist expelled from AIPAC after getting inside
Drumming on the “Apartheid Wall” installed by police