STATEMENT: IfNotNow Condemns Violent Attacks by the JDL During the #JewishResistance to AIPAC
We call on AIPAC to publicly condemn the violence that occurred on their doorstep.
IfNotNow is outraged and heartbroken that during our mass mobilization against the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Annual Policy Conference on Sunday, the Jewish Defense League (JDL) — which the FBI describes as a “right-wing terrorist group” — assaulted a Palestinian man, Kamal Nayfeh, and an IfNotNow member, Ben Doernberg.
Mr. Nayfeh is a Palestinian-American professor and father of four, who was hit in the eye with Israeli and American flags while being attacked by multiple people, and was subsequently hospitalized. We are in touch with his family and are offering our full support however we can. Ben is an American Jew that came from Boston to participate in the #JewishResistance to AIPAC, and was beaten from behind by a JDL flag after attempting to assist other activists, and was diagnosed with a concussion. Numerous other protesters were attacked, verbally harassed, and physically intimidated during the protest.
IfNotNow is a nonviolent movement. We reject violence in all forms. This weekend demonstrated that violent opposition will only grow as the anti-occupation resistance movement gets stronger. We understand there is a greater threat to the safety of Palestinians living both under occupation and in the diaspora than to the safety of American Jews. We will continue to acknowledge this power dynamic in our work and deepen our marshals’ training in ways that will prepare them to help make protests as safe as possible for the activists that support us, Palestinian and Jewish alike.
The JDL presence at AIPAC was in part a response to IfNotNow’s call for #JewishResistance to AIPAC and an effort to further their extremist, pro-occupation political agenda. We watched as AIPAC members walking into the conference shook hands with and vocalized support for the JDL presence. AIPAC therefore must take responsibility for the JDL violence. Until this moment, AIPAC leadership has been silent.
We call on AIPAC to publicly condemn the violence that occurred on their doorstep in the name of supporting them.
We demand that AIPAC do a full investigation on policy conference attendees to identify those who gave support for JDL and ensure that they are prohibited from coming to future AIPAC events.
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