I had begun to think that Code Pink had pretty much gone out of business once George W. Bush left office and protesting wars which even the new President didn’t seem interested in fighting seemed rather silly. But they’re still around, though perhaps in smaller numbers, and have been finding new issues to occupy their time. One of their current cause celebre targets is apparently divestment from Israel and support for Hezbollah, put on display when they tried to shut down the recent AIPAC conference. Professor William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has gotten hold of some interesting video of their activities.
On Sunday, March 1, 2015, we provided on-scene coverage of Code Pink’s “Shut Down AIPAC” protest. The most notable feature of the protest was the waving of Hezbollah flags.
Code Pink managed to get some press coverage even though it didn’t shut down AIPAC, or even an itsy, bitsy part of AIPAC, because five protesters were arrested, including two from Ithaca, my current place of residence…
Much as the Pallywood fake or staged photo ops are used to gin up press coverage against Israel, however, so too were the arrests at AIPAC. It was pure Pallywood, arrests contrived for the cameras.
They weren’t arrested for protesting. They were protesting to get arrested for publicity.
Don’t take my word for it.
A Legal Insurrection reader who saw our coverage of the protest sent along a video of Gold speaking at a post-arrest event, in which she admitted it was all a set up:
It was actually very difficult to get arrested. Quite seriously, I think AIPAC did not want the publicity of there being arrests, and it took us about two hours to get them to arrest us, because they tried every which way not to. We finally, after trying to move around and move around, managed to get in the doorway with the door propped open, where they would have no choice but to arrest us.
It would be nice to think this was something unique, or even relatively rare, but it’s not. The days of protesting within the constraints of local laws in an effort to raise public awareness seem almost quaint today. We’ve seen these same methods put in place during protests by the Left at Occupy Wall Street, demonstrations against the G20 and others. The real goal is not to reach people and educate them, but to get CNN to interview you, and the quickest way to do that is to try to force the cops to arrest you.
Code Pink’s problem seems to be that they not only didn’t invent the idea, but they haven’t even been able to copy it very well. Showing up with five ladies holding pieces of cardboard isn’t generally the sort of thing which is going to put the police on edge and have them thinking about tossing you in the hoosegow to preserve the peace. It’s more likely to result in officers rolling their eyes than rolling out the squad cars. But, as these women demonstrated, if you can continue to make yourself enough of a badgering pain in the backside for long enough and engage in some trespassing, eventually the cops will take time out of their actually important duties to go book you.
They must find groups like the Tea Party really boring when they manage to turn out thousands of people in the nation’s capitol and not only don’t have anyone get arrested, but clean up the site before they leave. Code Pink’s display is rather pathetic, really, but I suppose that’s how the protest movement rolls these days. There’s a video of the protesters describing their efforts to bait the cops at the Legal Insurrection link above, so check it out.