Many pro-Palestine activists gathered outside White House to protest against AIPAC’s annual conference.
A large number of protestors gathered outside the United States White House in Washington DC to demonstrate against the pro-Israel lobby American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference Sunday.
Pro-Palestine groups like Al-Awda, Students for Justice in Palestine, Answer Coalition, Code Pink and Neturei Karta spoke at the protests condemning Israel's occupation of Palestine and influence of AIPAC in U.S. politics.
Many also gathered to show support for congresswoman Ilhan Omar who came under fire last month for criticizing pro-Israel lobby. A speaker called for the backing of Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, both of whom came under fire for their criticism of Israeli policies.
"Ilhan Omar might have gotten blowback, but ... she started a conversation on AIPAC and lobbying in the country,” a protestor told reporters.
Many politicians, especially Democrat presidential nominees boycotted the AIPAC conference after MoveOn, a progressive advocacy group campaigning for them to not attend the event.
This decision of the Democratic candidates is a reflection of the debates within the party in the recent past regarding the pro-Israel lobby’s influence on U.S. politics, and which revealed many Democrat’s oppositions.
Many other politicians also boycotted the event. Congressman John Yarmuth tweeted, "I'm not going to the AIPAC Conference, and not only am I pro-Israel and pro-Jewish, I AM Jewish. I'm also anti-Netanyahu and anti-Trump."
The steps taken by the Democrats are commended by many.
"This is something we have been fighting for for many years," Abbas Hamideh, executive director of Al Awda told Al Jazeera. "We - the entire Palestinian movement in the US - are finally making a dent - making a difference, through our rallies, through our lectures are at university, through BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions]."
"[Just as] Muslims go to Mecca to go to heaven, politicians go to AIPAC for their blessing to get to the White House," Amar Masri, a protestor said.