Blockade Protest of AIPAC at Marriott Hotel
At 6:30 PM on Thursday, January 29, ten young activists peacefully blocked the two main entrances to the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square to protest the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Fundraising Gala. The action, which lasted just under two hours, coincided with a 250-person protest rally in front of the hotel, separately organized by the Break the Siege On Gaza Coalition—Student Committee. All ten activists were arrested,
spurring the formation of a campaign for their defense and for the conscious escalation of pro-Gaza activism.
More than a month after Israel began its massive assault on Gaza and amidst international protests, AIPAC held a $1500-a-plate fundraising dinner, its largest event of the year. The event was attended by prominent business people, lobbyists and U.S. politicians, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The blockade disrupted what the participating activists considered a disgraceful gathering.
The blockade comes on the heels of several similar actions opposing Israel's recent conduct that have occurred in cities around the world such as Toronto and San Francisco and at over a dozen universities in England. In its scope, tactics, and goals, the movement to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine recalls the movement that arose in opposition to Apartheid in South Africa. Campaign participant Conor Tomás Reed said, "the blockade is a contribution to this international struggle and can serve as a catalyst for
Friday, January 30, 2009