Salon: "Can American Jews unplug the Israel lobby?"

Salon reports,

[A] powerful spotlight has been turned on the pro-Israel lobby. And there are signs that increasing numbers of Americans, Jews and non-Jews alike, are willing to openly question whether it is in America’s national interest for AIPAC, whose positions are well to the right of those held by most American Jews, to wield such disproportionate power over America’s Mideast policies.
As a group, American Jews continue to be staunchly liberal. A new poll shows that 77 percent of American Jews now think that the Iraq war was a mistake, compared with 52 percent of all Americans. (Jewish support for the war has collapsed: A poll taken a month before the war showed that 56 percent of Jews supported it, somewhat below the national average at that time.) Eighty-seven percent of Jews voted Democratic in 2006. And although data here is murkier, polls also show that most American Jews hold views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that are to the left of AIPAC’s.
What all this adds up to is that for liberal or moderate American Jews who don’t support Bush’s war in Iraq or his “war on terror” and who are willing to look at Israel warts and all, the fact that AIPAC has anointed itself as the de facto spokesmen for American Jews is becoming more and more unacceptable. And increasing numbers of them are beginning to speak out.

Best line: “This group no more represents ‘the Jews’ than the Shining Path represents ‘the Peruvians.'”
Full story.

2 thoughts on “Salon: "Can American Jews unplug the Israel lobby?"

  1. Mobius:
    the shining path quotation is not referring to AIPAC. it’s referring to the “group of powerful neo-conservatives” within the White House that laid the groundwork for the Iraq invasion. that’s who the author is referring to. he then proceeds to draw a spurious line between these people and AIPAC, a line that forms the basis of most of this article.
    but it’s bogus. whatever our differences with AIPAC, they weren’t the ones pushing for war with Iraq. that was the neocons in the White House. and that’s who the author is referring to. AIPAC certainly wasn’t getting in the way, and may even have been cheerleading/enabling. but remember that most of the country was doing the same when this war started.
    It’s an important distinction. because, to the uninformed reader, this article leaves the unfortunate impression that AIPAC is wholly responsible for the current US administration’s fuck-ups throughout the Middle East (Read the tagline: “As Bush’s unbalanced Mideast policies careen from disaster to disaster, people who don’t toe the AIPAC line are beginning to speak out.”).
    AIPAC may not help matters, but if it didn’t exist, the “group of powerful neo-conservatives” within the White House (Pearle, Wolfowitz, etc.) would certainly still have found a way to screw up the region.
    AIPAC may be out of touch with American Jews on the issues of negotiations with the Hamas-led gov’t and on the issue of wars with Iraq and Iran, but the fact still remains that AIPAC could neither have prevented nor single-handedly effected the war in Iraq.
    with Bush and Cheney et al in the White House, the Iraq war, and its far-reaching and devastating consequences, would have occurred nonetheless. and this very important to remember. the recent backlash against AIPAC obscures this very basic and important point.
    there is a second, more important and more accurate part of this article that seeks to highlight the chasm between AIPAC and mainstream American Jewish thinking. but even as he stresses the divide that exists between AIPAC and American Jews, the author draws a simplistic and dangerous line between AIPAC and the failed Iraq policy. I fear that this will be the takeaway for the average reader.

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