Global, Israel, Politics

AIPAC Successfully Lobbies to Neuter Congressional War Making Power

See, here’s the thing… If you’re concerned about the prominence of phrases like —

“dual loyalty” […] and intimations of powerful “Jewish lobbies” […] exerting undue influence over foreign policy

— then perhaps you ought to stop acting in a way that affirms these impressions.
Case in point:
The JTA reports,

AIPAC lobbying helped remove a provision from a bill that would have required President Bush to seek congressional approval for war against Iran. A number of congressional sources confirmed that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee backed dropping the provision from the Iraq war spending bill introduced Tuesday by Democrats. The bill ties funding to deadlines for withdrawal from Iraq.
AIPAC and a number of Democrats close to Israel said the provision would have hampered the president as he attempted to leverage Iran into backing down from its alleged nuclear weapon plans. Others said the provision simply reasserted the constitutional role of the U.S. Congress in declaring war that is believed to have been eroded by Bush during the Iraq war.

ABC adds,

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other leaders agreed to remove the requirement concerning Iran after conservative Democrats as well as other lawmakers worried about its possible impact on Israel, officials said Monday.

Let’s just be sure we’re clear here: AIPAC successfully lobbied to strip Congress of its ability to authorize a strike on Iran, awarding the Idiot Prince free license to embroil the US in yet another disastrous war, and did so because it allegedly serves Israel’s security interests?
And yet to accuse AIPAC of “dual loyalty” and “exerting undue influence over foreign policy” is antisemitic?
This is an overt action supposedly done in Israel’s favor that blatantly contravenes American interests. By coercing the Congress to abdicate its Constitutional authority to declare war, they just cut the legs out from under the American people, giving infinitely more leeway to an Executive branch seen by most Americans to have already far overstepped the limits of its power.
I mean, hell, if you’re going to have a hand in nullifying fundamental Constitutional provisions, at least don’t brag about it!
I can hardly imagine an act more affirming of negative critiques of Jewish power, nor one more likely to engender hostility towards American Jews.
Kol hakavod, jerks. You are endangering Jewish survival, not insuring it.

29 thoughts on “AIPAC Successfully Lobbies to Neuter Congressional War Making Power

  1. I feel no sense of dual loyalty and I apologize to no person because I believe in the survival of Israel.

  2. This is an overt action done in Israel’s favor that blatantly contravenes American interests.
    I disagree. I don’t think it is in Israel’s favor either.

  3. I have to agree with BZ & yourself. Attacking Iran at this juncture is not in Israel’s best interest, or anyone’s best interest for that matter.

  4. Mobius:
    Try to separate your opposition to this legislation from your critique of how it came about: If AIPAC, realizing that the Iraq war is creating a breeding ground for international terror within miles of Israel, stepped in and added vociferous support to a resolution calling for troop withdrawal, would you still be losing your shit? It’s still “dual loyalty” according to your definition. Only this time you would agree with the position. And sure, a troop withdrawal may happen to benefit the US also (in your opinion). But remember that’s not why AIPAC is pushing for this hypothetical resolution; they’re doing it to benefit Israel. Dually loyal? According to you, sure.
    Still, I somehow doubt you would be reacting the same way in such a case.

  5. rc — that’s fair. but keep in mind, were that the position aipac took, it would be the reflecting the position of 70% of american jews. the position it holds now represents the position of a minority of hardliners.
    and the more i think about it, the more i think about dual loyalty being a total misnomer. dual loyalty would imply that i am loyal to both israel and the u.s., and that i am interested in balancing the needs of both.
    i think “covert loyalty” is a more apropos term.

  6. Mobius, come on now: the fact that “it would be the reflecting the position of 70% of american jews” is still totally beside the point. my hypothetical still posits a group of Americans pushing a policy in order to benefit another country. and I don’t think you’d have a problem with that if the position they were pushing were more in line with yours (and 70% of Jews).
    after all, what if that 70% is opposed to the Iraq war precisely for that reason — that they think the war is bad for Israel? are they wrong to act on that opposition?
    Shit, Jewschool has blogged about an AIPAC alternative. And if you read the Brit Tzedek literature (to take one example of a Jewish org trying to organize against the war) they are quite clear in that they feel a new course is needed in American policy for Israel’s sake as well as for the US’s. Is that “covertly loyal” of them? If not, why not? Because you happen to support their position?
    What’s the difference between an AIPAC and a pro-peace AIPAC alternative other than the fact that
    you feel what AIPAC is pushing is wrong, you feel it’s actually bad for the US, and you feel that it’s actually bad for Israel?
    is it really because you think AIPAC only represents a small minority of Jews? or is it because AIPAC represents the interests of a foreign country? and if it’s the latter, what about an AIPAC alternative that happens to be more in line with your positions on these issues?

  7. rc,
    Your analogy doesn’t work. A resolution supporting troop withdrawal is a policy, whereas AIPAC appears to be in favor of stripping Congress of its Constitutional authority in the name of a policy. That’s just pernicious.

  8. This is the most ridiculous piece you have ever written: See, here’s the thing… If you’re concerned about the prominence of phrases like –
    “dual loyalty” […] and intimations of powerful “Jewish lobbies” […] exerting undue influence over foreign policy
    – then perhaps you ought to stop acting in a way that affirms these impressions.”
    Guess what, mobius? You are coming across as blaming the target of these sterotypes. I do not like AIPAC and am quite involved with Jewish peace groups challenging them. However, many lobbies in this country act in nasty ways. We notice Jews because it plays into our beliefs about them.
    As a gay man, I do not sleep around with every guy because I have respect for myself. I do not do it because if I do, I am exactly wehat the homophobes say.

  9. In other words, you can challenege them without using anti-Jewish myths. You actually hurt the movement by using antisemitic imagery.

  10. uhhh, no. For the purposes of the argument I was making there is no difference at all between:
    1. A bill that fails to provide for Congressional oversight over military action against Iran, thus “stripping Congress of its Constitutional authority.”
    2. A bill that calls for troop withdrawal.
    Again, you are focusing on the content> of the bills. You happen to see the first as “pernicious.” (Never mind that it may also be illegal, which the Supreme Court may deal with at a later date. But passing unconstitutional laws only to have them struck down happens every day. It’s part of law-making).
    Try to divert your focus from the content> of the two pieces of legislation, and my hypothetical is an instructive one: Both are potenital pieces of legislation, both could potentially be “pushed’ by a lobbying group with an interest in keeping Israel safe. That was the point of my hypo.
    Assuming both bills are otherwise legal and passed through the normal channels — but both are pushed by a Jewish lobby — , I suspect Mobius would raise a fuss about the former and not the latter. Based not on a theory of “covert loyalty,” but on his political opposition to one and not the other.

  11. A new idea the leftist pro-israel groups should lobby for: ignore Israel. The US, by “helping” Israel has done so much damage to the mideast there might not be any left. So maybe we’d best be left alone. Seriously. we’ll work it out. just handle your own business.

  12. Oh, and if you want to help Israel, then you could always come here. There is so much need for a liberal religious life in this country. Please learn Hebrew first.

  13. ^^^^^ BITTER CYNIC.
    dude Am Yisrael actually exists, whether or not you want to be all cool and flippant about it or not.
    hey, we diaspora Jews could ask you to stop killing Palestinians; maybe then we’d no longer be beaten up in the streets of Buenos Aires and Paris for being Jewish.
    but that would be selfish of us.

  14. It’s kind of sad that I find more support for Israel and my fellow Jews amongst people who are my ideological enemies, fundamentalist Christians, than amongst a large portion of my own brethren.

  15. Amit– well, I am glad that I would get your approval should I make aliya 🙂
    but, speaking from experience, asking americans to learn Hebrew in the states is a lost cause… how about learn to speak hebrew upon arrival?

  16. wait, how does “am yisrael” actually exist? There are folks who identify as Jews, and some of them are Jewish nationalists, and some of them are israeli, though there is no essential overlap (some israelis are not nationalist and
    MANY american Jews are). So, who constitutes this Am? Israelis? Even those who do not count themselves as a part of it? All Jews? What does that mean? Are patrilineal Jews part of Am Yisrael? Are messianic Jews? What does it mean to claim there is an Am Yisrael? Does that give Jews the right to colonize the land between the Jordan and the Sea? All of it? Some of it? What parts?
    This doesn’t mean that there is not a collective Jewish identity, but that just that there is so much diversity within it (religious, political, cultural) that positing the existence of that collective identity has absolutely zero necessary implications for Jewish politics as such.

  17. I’m just sick of self-righteous Israelis like Amit who are “like, so over this Zionism thing man; I’m Israeli, not Jewish, dude etc. blah blah blah…”
    Truth is we are connected. What American Jews do has profound effects on Israelis, and what Israel does has profound effects on Jews around the world.
    Rather than getting all post-Zionist on us, why not accept that the relationship is flawed and work to change it. Rejecting the relationship altogether (e.g. “American Jews: just leave us alone unless you are planning to live here”) is tired.

  18. You’re overreacting to political kabuki. The provision that was taken out of the bill, even if it wasn’t vetoed, wouldn’t have impacted the inherent Constitutional powers of Congress and the President with respect to military action against Iran one bit. Putting the language in the bill is simply a symbolic sop to Iran doves. Taking it out is a symbolic nod to Iran hawks.

  19. rootlesscosmo– um, you didn’t respond to anything amit actually said.
    he didn’t discuss whether or not he’s zionist, or israeli vs. jewish vs. both, nor the israel-diaspora relationship.
    he just gave his opinion about pro-israel *lobbying*, namely that israel is better without it. and mentioned that one can generally have a greater effect by living there than by supporting from a distance.
    try reading more carefully– both what people actually say, and the RJBS quote at the bottom of this form.

  20. There are a few problems with this whole scenerio.
    First, with the presence of the Blue Dog caucus acting as Republicans over the course of the debate around Iraq and Iran, I don’t honestly think AIPAC had as much impact on this discussion as they and the JTA would like to believe. Plus, why get mad at AIPAC when we’ve got one self righteous warmonger holding us hostage in the Senate? Folks got to remember that in the Senate, 60 votes is a majority and in the House, the Dems are trying to hold together the bluedogs and the Progressive Caucus.
    Further, not to split hairs, but Chucklenutz has 90 days. Congress still has the authority to declare war, but Chimpy McFuckface will always have that window, as evindenced by the attack on the Iranian consulate in Iraq a few weeks back.

  21. incorrect says:
    It’s kind of sad that I find more support for Israel and my fellow Jews amongst people who are my ideological enemies, fundamentalist Christians, than amongst a large portion of my own brethren.
    It depends on what you call support, incorrect. Keeping a batshit crazy fundamentalist, one who believes jews must die to bring about the rapture, from starting a war with a nearby neighbor? I’d call that support.

  22. gotta disagree with you, rc. you said-
    (Never mind that it may also be illegal, which the Supreme Court may deal with at a later date. But passing unconstitutional laws only to have them struck down happens every day. It’s part of law-making).
    yeah, uh, with the Roberts Supreme Court? the one with justices handpicked because of their supporting the unitary executive? good luck with that.
    I feel like your “hypothetical point” misses the point altogether, which is that AIPAC is proud of helping make it possible for the US to attack Iran without provocation, and that, in my mind, is a conflict of interest. We’re not even talking about defending Israel in case it is attacked, but the continual doctrine of pre-emptive war. You can argue perspectives all you like, but do you seriously see your hypothetical “stepped in and added vociferous support to a resolution calling for troop withdrawal” as dual loyalty?
    What gets me about AIPAC is they’ve managed to claim a monopoly about what American Jews think about Israel and ways to support Israel. They’ve scared Congressional leaders into thinking they alone speak for all American Jews.

  23. rc-
    Like EV said, whatever you think about the possibility of war with Iran, the point against any organization to use their influence to avoid checks and balances. Even for peaceful causes, which this one is not. Whether Mobius believes in one and not the other is besides the point. However, I do agree with Chaim that one should not blame the target of the stereotypes.

  24. Ruby K; “I feel like your “hypothetical point” misses the point altogether”
    Adam: “Whether Mobius believes in one and not the other is besides the point”
    uh guys, that was exactly my point. Please set aside the content of the legislation and ask yourselves whether you would be so vehemently against AIPAC’s actions if they were more in line with your politics. AIPAC could be pushing an agenda that strengthens congressional oversight. AIPAC could be pushing an agenda that promotes peace. Whatever. But if they are doing it in order to benefit a foreign country — Israel –, if the very reason for doing it is to benefit Israel (any fringe benefit to the US aside), isn’t that just as bad?

  25. I have to agree that Mobius’ use of antisemitic imagery here is wrong. When a woman is raped I don’t blame her for being in the wrong place or wearing the wrong clothing. It is not just because I don’t believe that those are invalid reasons, but because I don’t want to lend credence to the ignorant folks who might believe these to be true.
    I don’t have a problem with criticism of Israel, the US, Jews, Judaism etc. This is just a base and simplistic way of doing so. He is smarter than that.

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