Global, Israel, Politics

AIPAC's Dangerous Grip on Washington

Ari Berman writes in The Nation:

AIPAC is the leading player in what is sometimes referred to as “The Israel Lobby” — a coalition that includes major Jewish groups, neoconservative intellectuals and Christian Zionists. With its impressive contacts among Hill staffers, influential grassroots supporters and deep connections to wealthy donors, AIPAC is the lobby’s key emissary to Congress. But in many ways, AIPAC has become greater than just another lobby; its work has made unconditional support for Israel an accepted cost of doing business inside the halls of Congress. AIPAC’s interest, Israel’s interest and America’s interest are today perceived by most elected leaders to be one and the same. Christian conservatives increasingly aligned with AIPAC demand unwavering support for Israel from their Republican leaders. (In mid-July, 3,000-plus evangelicals came to town for the first annual “Christian United for Israel” summit.) And Democrats are equally concerned about alienating Jewish voters and Jewish donors — long a cornerstone of their party. Some in Congress are deeply uncomfortable with AIPAC’s militant worldview and heavyhanded tactics, but most dare not say so publicly.
“The Bush Administration is bad enough in tolerating measures they would not accept anywhere else but Israel,” says Henry Siegman, the former head of the American Jewish Congress and a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. “But the Congress, if anything, is urging the Administration on and criticizing them even at their most accommodating. When it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict, the terms of debate are so influenced by organized Jewish groups, like AIPAC, that to be critical of Israel is to deny oneself the ability to succeed in American politics.”

Full story.
[Update] Oh, I also meant to post this WaPo article about AIPAC and the America-Israel relationship two weeks ago…

13 thoughts on “AIPAC's Dangerous Grip on Washington

  1. I’ve heard pretty rough anti-Bush comments come from big shots in AIPAC, so it’s not that black and white. I would say that AIPAC does its job, which is lobby for Israel. IMO, there are people who fear it just because it’s so powerful and successful. It’s like what I heard some Arab guy say on the news a few weeks ago (Fox News? CNN? I don’t remember). He was whining about how it’s unfair because the Israel lobby supports Israel too much and doesn’t give the other guys a chance. Isn’t that what a special interest group is all about? To make things fair, he was debating Morton Klein, so each side was represented on an equally idiotic level.
    I wouldn’t take The Nation too seriously. It’s a self-avowed socialist newspaper (capitalism all the way, cocksuckers!) that was lightning quick to suggest that Israel was overreacting to the kidnapping and murder of its soldiers and that it should immediately sit down and negotiate with Hezbollah. Israel’s military strike, The Nation continued, would only strengthen Hezbollah and create new followers (partly true, but think about the weapon caches waiting to be taken out). If you think this now, then fine, you suck, but people who thought this right after war broke out were completely out of their minds.
    I’m sorry if this offends Cole Krowitz. Oh wait–I’m not.

  2. Hey, be proud, according to the post we the Jews are supermen(women); we control the country, forcing America against her best interest to support the……JEWS!!!! MMmmmmmm, wonder where else we’ve heard similar claims

  3. Smoot, capitalism sucks and so does the zionist lobby–who use their money to frighten anyone that woudl criticize capitalism and rightwing fascism.
    Yeah, we are correct, Isreal’s insane terrorist actions are weakening Isreal.
    You are doing exactly what is predictable, in honor of rightwing nationalism. keep going, keep killing and excusing your barbarity.
    We will be there, laughing and crying, as you destroy yourselves.
    I look forward to the news reports in the US and Isreali media telling all the citizens that they are ‘turning a corner’ LOL Just like in Iraq.
    Hezbollah is looking better every day in the eyes of majority of the people in the world. By comparison, how many innocent people have Hezbollah killed verses Isreal?
    Smoot, get your fanatical ass into Lebanon, let the people of that country give you some of their magic. Oh, I forgot, you just glorify terror and war from the comfort of your air conditioned apartment. LOL

  4. ““The Bush Administration is bad enough in tolerating measures they would not accept anywhere else but Israel,”
    Actually they’re mostly measures that are only criticized because Israel does them. The Sudanese government had to kill over 100,000 people in a REAL genocide before much of anyone in the West took notice. You never hear anything about the ethnic ‘replacement’ of Tibetans with Chinese going on, etc, etc,. Israel unintentionally drops one bomb in the wrong place, in a DEFENSIVE war, and the big, critical guns come out. Give me a break.

  5. If aipac were to disband itself people wpuld be saying there is a “secret” Jewish lobby pulling the strings from the shadows.
    That’s not a reason not to disband aipac, it’s unnecessary christian zionists are the real Jewish lobby, but aipac gives the impression that Jews rely on america instead of G-d. And that’s worse .

  6. I used to read The Nation. My father’s been reading it for 50 years. When they supported Gore over Nader in 2000 I cancelled my subscription. It was at that moment that I realized that the radical left-wing from which I’ve sprung is completely devoid of the critical abilities that they so highly tout.
    The Nation, Z Magazine and others like them are actually more sensationalist than the tabloids, because they profess their own greater depth. They rarely deliver anything but knee-jerk reactions and absolutely no practical vision for a better world.
    These days I can only find interesting analysis and deep coverage in the New York Reivew of Books. And Jewschool. 🙂
    There was an excellent piece on AIPAC, devoid of all the anti-semetic and chicken-little poop, in the NYROB just last month. It was a very rich review and analysis from many points of view, including Congresspeople, Senators, Governors, and many AIPAC staff who do not agree with their leaders.

  7. Clearly it isn’t about loss of life, death of innocents (or heck, even the death of innocent Muslims), etc…otherwise the world would be up in arms over events in the Sudan, Congo, Somalia, etc…etc…where hundreds and hundreds (even thousands) of innocent people die each day. Yes we mourn every innocent death, but let’s not kid ourselves the world’s outrage has little to do with actual empathy and lots to do with political expediency.

  8. What is wrong with the world?
    More important, what is wrong with the Left in the US that is sounds no different than the Right? Buchanan, meet the Nation. Mearsheimer, meet Juan Cole.
    Can we try really hard, please, not to let others define what we know not to be true. I mean, I don’t know about you, but according to these goons, Jewschool and Jewlicious are minor parts of the “Jewish lobby.” Do you suppose there might be enough differing viewpoints in the Jewish community, and enough other pressure groups that are far more powerful such as the oil lobby that put to rest all these claims of negative, pernicious and outsized influence?

  9. The Nation used to be halfway decent. Then it decided to become a hard-left piece of junk.
    I have no respect for left-wing whining about AIPAC. Let’s see these article for what they really are: childish laments by people who can’t get their way. None of these people give a damn about the evils of lobby influence. They simply want other lobbies to counteract the pro-Israel lobby. They are not exactly the compromising type. Anyone who has met Michael Lerner and heard the way he responds to people who disagree with him knows what I mean.

  10. The leftist bastards–whining because wealth corrupts their ability to have equal say as to the direction of the nation. Democracy is for fags–might makes right.
    These are whiny loosers, just like the blacks.
    Jews love capitalism and winner take all elections–as long as they are the winners, of course.
    To hell with the left. I stopped reading the nation when they complained that we, the US killed millions of innocents during Vietnam. Of course we did–might makes right.
    We did the Asians a favor by killing a couple milliion commies. The Nation, what a bunch of fags. Kill’m all, i say–my Dad says so too.

  11. Eitan – That is total bullshit. Publications like The Nation have been reporting on the crisis in Darfur and Tibet since DAY ONE and have called the Sudanese and Chinese out on their actions. I also recall many protests and call for action by the left long before it became popular. For example, people like John Lewis and Danny Glover commiting civil disobedience by refusing to move from blocking the entrance to the Sudanese embassy in DC. We were desperately trying to warn of the impending crisis. Of course, since neither country had any strategic resources, these events were marginilized by the U.S. government.
    In regards to AIPAC, I think there would be far less criticism if persons such as Rabbi Lerner were given a significant role to play in the orginization. After all, there is a significant number of pro-Israel, pro-Peace American Jews who feel that AIPAC’S militant policies are not in Israel’s overall interest (my boyfriend happens to be one). Why should they not have similar influence? If anyone saw the “debate” on the resolution to “support” Israel’s actions, it was utterly disgraceful. Even some of the most ardent pacifists, who always oppose aggression of any kind, were bullied into voting “Present” rather then “No”.

  12. God, Sydney! You call us fanatical right-wing bigots, but where did you come up with such awfully racist things?
    To use the words of the prophet Ice Cube, I suggest that you check yourself before you wreck yourself. And by check yourself, I mean check that you’re taking the correct prescription. You are nuts.

  13. Smoot, put down the crack pipe, that was total sarcasm.
    i have a big problem with the direction of the country being dictated by ‘the market’ , the ‘deepest pockets’ etc. because I am an advocate of authentic democracy.
    Of course, I am sickened by what the US fanatics did in ‘Nam and love black folks as part of US culture (they and Jews keep the WASP fanatics in check).
    Again, bro, put down the crack pipe and learn to recognize how sarcasm is used to call into question opposing views.
    (Or, are you engaging sarcasm of my sarcasm–in which case consider the comments above to be sarcasm of your sarcasm about my ‘origional’ sarcastic comments 😉 )

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