IfNotNow Urges AIPAC to Denounce Attacks Against Protesters Outside Conference

Left-wing Jewish group calls on pro-Israel lobby to launch probe into conference attendees after supporters of far-right Jewish group Jewish Defense League beat protesters with flags.

WASHINGTON -The left-wing Jewish group IfNotNow called on AIPAC on Thursday to denounce violent attacks against protesters who were rallying outside the influential pro-Israel lobby’s annual conference earlier this week. 

The assaults were carried out by supporters of the Jewish Defense League, a far-right Jewish group that has been described as a terror organization by the FBI. The demonstrations, which were attended by hundreds of protesters, had been organized by IfNotNow.

According to the organization, two of the protesters were injured by JDL supporters and were hospitalized as a result of the attack.

In a statement, IfNotNow said that Kamal Nafyeh, a Palestinian-American professor and father of four, "was hit in the eye with an 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." 

In addition, Ben Doernberg "was diagnosed with a concussion after being beaten with a JDL flag." Videos that emerged from the scene indeed showed people with JDL and Israel flags violently attacking some of the demonstrators. 

According to IfNotNow, AIPAC's leadership has so far remained silent on these events: "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."  

At the end of the statement, the group calls on AIPAC's leadership to "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."

Local police arrested two of the attackers – one of them a Canadian citizen and the other a Jewish American from New Jersey – and were pressing charges against them.