Video shows far-right Jews beating protesters outside AIPAC
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Video shows far-right Jews beating protesters outside AIPAC

Members of the Jewish Defense League filmed kicking, assaulting a Palestinian-American man lying on the ground

New footage has emerged showing Jewish Defense League activists attacking anti-settlement protesters outside this week’s AIPAC conference in Washington DC, including an apparently unprovoked vicious beating of a Palestinian-American man.

The video, released Wednesday night by the left-wing +972 Magazine, shows dozens of people holding JDL, American and Kahane flags setting upon protesters from IfNotNow, a Jewish far-left-wing group that was demonstrating outside of the pro-Israel lobby’s annual conference.

In the footage, which begins in the middle of the scuffle, a man can be seen lying on the ground surrounded by people kicking and punching him. One protester then beats him with an American flag. A female protester who attempts to intervene is also hit by the activists.

The attackers are only stopped when security officials block them from the protesters; in some cases, physically pulling them off the man lying on the ground.

The man on the floor was Kamal Nayfeh, a Palestinian-American father of four who was visiting his daughter Danya, a student at Georgetown University in Washington at the time, +972 reported.

“They beat him after they heard he was Palestinian. He was not threatening at all. It’s perfectly clear that my father was brutalized simply because of who he is,” Dayna Nayfeh said in a statement provided to the Institute for Middle East Understanding.

Pictures from the event also showed JDL activists stomping on a Palestinian flag.

A supporter of the Jewish Defence League demonstrates in front of Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, on March 26, 2017, during the AIPAC Policy Conference. (AFP Photo/Andrew Biraj)
A supporter of the Jewish Defence League demonstrates in front of Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, on March 26, 2017, during the AIPAC Policy Conference. (AFP Photo/Andrew Biraj)

The Jewish Defense League was founded in New York by the ultranationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1968. In 2001 the FBI labeled it a violent “right-wing terrorist group.”

JDL had come to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee gathering to hold a counter-protest against IfNotNow.

IfNotNow placards and chants targeted AIPAC for what the protesters said was its backing of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, and for not speaking out robustly against President Donald Trump.

Protesters bore a banner saying, “Jews won’t be free until Palestinians are, reject AIPAC, reject occupation.”

Police allowed the protesters to reach the Washington Convention Center’s glass doors. Some AIPAC activists stopped and took pictures of the protesters, as the protesters looked back, some waving and grinning.

Anti-settlement demonstrators hold placards and protest in front of Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, on March 26, 2017, during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference. (AFP Photo/Andrew Biraj)
Anti-settlement demonstrators hold placards and protest in front of Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, on March 26, 2017, during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference. (AFP Photo/Andrew Biraj)

AIPAC does not formally back Israel’s presence in the West Bank and favors a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, albeit in relatively muted tones. It also blames the Palestinians entirely for the absence of peace talks and refrains from criticizing Israeli policies, including its settlement building.

AIPAC drew 18,000 activists to its policy conference this year. The theme was bipartisan support for Israel, and speakers included Vice President Mike Pence and both parties’ congressional leaders.

JTA contributed to this report.

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