WATCH: Seven Jewish protesters arrested at AIPAC L.A. office
Seven Jewish protesters were arrested March 17 in the lobby of the Century City office tower that houses the Los Angeles office of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
The protesters, who were affiliated with IfNotNow, a progressive network of millennial Jews opposed to Israeli policy, were chanting and stomping their feet when they were arrested on suspicion of trespassing, according to Capt. Tina Nieto, area commanding officer for West L.A. for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
“We are here to say that we’ll occupy this building until AIPAC is ready to stop supporting the endless occupation in Israel-Palestine,” said Michal David, 26, an organizer for IfNotNow, while a small group of protesters marched in a circle and chanted on the sidewalk behind her.
According to David, the protesters arrived at 9 a.m. at the building and blocked off entrances for about 40 minutes, encouraging AIPAC employees to go home, “for a day of reflection.” By 10 a.m., those who were not prepared to be arrested had moved to the sidewalk.
“Shabbat shalom! AIPAC go home!” the seven protesters chanted inside, seated against a marble wall facing the entrance.
Outside, the protesters, who numbered fewer than 10, responded with chants and statements of their own, denouncing AIPAC’s role in “propping up military occupation” and “cozying up to David Friedman,” President Donald Trump’s controversial pick for ambassador to Israel.
David said they had not contacted AIPAC before the protest. “There’s no more room for conversations behind closed doors,” she said.
More than a dozen uniformed LAPD officers and six police cruisers were on hand for the arrests. Nieto said the building’s management called in a private person’s arrest, also known as a citizen’s arrest.
The activists inside the lobby continued chanting until police led them away in handcuffs around 11 a.m., while the protesters outside continued to sing and look on. From there, they were taken to LAPD’s West L.A. Community Police Station, where anybody without an outstanding warrant would be cited and released, Nieto said.
The protesters ranged in age from 20 to 31 and hailed from L.A. and the Bay Area, according to IfNotNow.
On Sunday, IfNotNow is planning another, larger protest at AIPAC’s Century City office, to coincide with the L.A. Marathon, whose route passes AIPAC’s office.
AIPAC declined to comment for this story.