J'Accuse, Sort Of
You never know where you're going to find anti-Semitic propaganda.
By Michael Kinsley

[Because I don’t trust the Washington Post (which now owns Slate)
to keep this article available to the public,
I am including it below.]

J'Accuse, Sort Of
You never know where you're going to find anti-Semitic propaganda.
By Michael Kinsley
Posted Wednesday, March 12, 2003 [WarDay-8], at 1:14 PM ET

Rep. James P. Moran of Virginia, already a locally famous foot-in-mouther, went national last week by declaring at an anti-war rally that "if it was not for the strong support of the Jewish community," the war against Iraq would not be happening. He said that Jewish "leaders" are "influential enough" to reverse the policy "and I think they should."

The thunderous rush of politicians of all stripes to denounce Moran's remarks as complete nonsense might suggest to the suspicious mind that they are not complete nonsense. Moran himself almost immediately denounced his own words as "insensitive." He said he was using the term "Jewish community" as a shorthand for all "organizations in this country," which would certainly be a first if it were at all plausible.

As others have noted, Moran's words are less alarming for their own direct meaning than for their historic association with some of the classic themes of anti-Semitism: the image of Jews as a monolithic group suffering from "dual loyalty" and wielding nefarious influence behind the scenes. When someone touches even lightly on these themes in public, it's only natural to wonder whether his or her actual views are a lot darker.

Nevertheless, Moran is not the only one publicly exaggerating the power and influence of the Zionist lobby these days. It is my sad duty to report that this form of anti-Semitism seems to have infected one of the most prominent and respected—one might even say influential—organizations in Washington. This organization claims that "America's pro-Israel lobby"—and we all know what "pro-Israel" is a euphemism for—has tentacles at every level of government and society. On its Web site, this organization paints a lurid picture of Zionists spreading their party line and even indoctrinating children. And yes, this organization claims that the influence of the Zionist lobby is essential to explaining the pro-Israel tilt of U.S. policy in the Middle East. It asserts that the top item on the Zionist "agenda" is curbing the power of Saddam Hussein. The Web site also contains a shocking collection of Moran-type remarks from leading American politicians.

Did you know, for example, that former President Clinton once described the Zionist lobby as "stunningly effective" and "better than anyone else lobbying this town"? Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has gone even further (as is his wont), labeling the Zionists "the most effective general interest group … across the entire planet." (Gingrich added ominously that if the Zionist lobby "did not exist, we would have to invent" it.) House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt is quoted saying that if it weren't for the Zionist lobby "fighting on a daily basis," the close relationship between America and Israel "would not be." Sen. John McCain has said that this lobby "has long played an instrumental and absolutely vital role" in protecting the interests of Israel with the U.S. government. There is a string of quotes from leading Israeli politicians making the same point.

According to this Web site, the Zionist lobby is, like most political conspiracies, a set of concentric circles within circles. The two innermost circles are known as the "President's Cabinet" and the "Chairman's Council." Members allegedly "take part in special events with members of Congress in elegant Washington locations," "participate in private conference calls," and attend an annual "national summit." In the past members of these groups have met "in a private setting" with President Clinton, with Vice President Gore, and with the president of Turkey, among others. If this Web site is to be believed, these Zionist-lobby insiders have even enjoyed "a luncheon with renowned author and commentator George Will."

And who is behind this Web site? Who is spreading the anti-Semitic canard that Jews and Zionists influence American policy in the Middle East, including Iraq? It is a group calling itself the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, and claiming to be "pro-Israel." They all claim that, of course. But in this case, AIPAC actually is considered to be the institutional expression of the amorphous Zionist lobby. All the foregoing quotes and assertions about the huge Zionist influence with the U.S. government and the lengths to which Zionists go to protect and expand it actually refer to AIPAC itself.

This doesn't make it all true, of course. AIPAC, like any organization, has an institutional interest in exaggerating its own importance. This is especially true of any organization that must raise money to support itself. The "President's Club" and "Chairman's Council" are both fund-raising gimmicks, intended to give donors the feeling that they are in the thick of government policy-making. It's more about being able to say, "As I was saying to Colin Powell" than about trying to say anything in particular to Colin Powell. Another element in AIPAC's braggadocio is rivalry with other Jewish organizations. The American Jewish Committee also has a page of quotes on its Web site about how influential it is. ("We know that yours is the most important and powerful Jewish organization in the United States," says President Jacques Chirac. Maybe it sounds more like a compliment in French.) This evident rivalry undermines any notion of a unified Jewish conspiracy.

Just as African-Americans can use the "n" word when joshing among themselves and it sounds a lot different than when used by a white person, talk about the political influence of organized Jewry sounds different when it comes from Jewish organizations themselves. Nevertheless, you shouldn't brag about how influential you are if you want to get hysterically indignant when someone suggests that government policy is affected by your influence.

Michael Kinsley is Slate's founding editor.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2080027/

2004 Top Ten Career Recipients of Pro-Israel PAC Funds
Compiled by Hugh Galford
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July-August 2004

[Admittedly these funds are not directly channeled through AIPAC.
But the recommendations of AIPAC play a large, if not crucial, role in deciding
who these “pro-Israel PACs” do fund.
See, for example, Chapter Two, “King of the Hill,” of
Paul Findley’s They Dare to Speak Out.]

AIPAC’s Overt and Covert Ops
by Juan Cole
Antiwar.com, 2004-08-30

A pro-Israel lobby and an F.B.I. sting.
New Yorker, 2005-07-04

AIPAC Points to Legion of Doom in Bekaa Valley
By Ken Silverstein.
Harper’s, 2006-08-10

AIPAC Congratulates Itself on the Slaughter in Lebanon
By John Walsh
Counterpunch, 2006-08-16

Feds Probe a Top Democrat's Relationship with AIPAC
The Department of Justice is investigating
whether Rep. Jane Harman and the pro-Israel group
worked together to get her reappointed
as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee
Time, 2006-10-20


The Goy Who Cried Wolf
The Israel lobby gives America's leading Christian right warmonger
a warm welcome.

By Sarah Posner
American Prospect, 2007-03-12

Delegates at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference
were treated to an air-brushed John Hagee last night,
primed with his most innocuous talking points
and stripped of his most outlandish Armageddon rhetoric.

AIPAC Video Message By Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Remarks to AIPAC by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

[An excerpt; section headings and emphasis are added.]

First of all, thank you to AIPAC
for your never-ending support for the State of Israel and also
for being one of the most powerful vehicles
of improving and upgrading the great relations that exist
between the State of Israel and the United States of America.

I want to speak tonight about two [actually, three] major issues.

First and foremost,
the threats to Israel from Iran.
Iran is the main threat to the State of Israel.

There has never been such a brutal, explicit and direct threat
to the very existence of the State of Israel
by any nation since Israel was proclaimed,
as today is the threat of Iran to very lives of our country.
This is the first time since the Second World War
that a leader of a nation, member of the United Nations,
stands up publicly and explicitly and talks about
the legitimacy of the State of Israel.
Not only this, but this country is creating a very sophisticated weaponry system, with ballistic missiles,
that can deliver bombs to the very heart of the State of Israel,
as well as to the very heart of many European cities
and many other major cities across the world.
But not only this.
This country tries to create a nuclear capacity and
they explicitly and publicly and brutally talk about
the need to wipe Israel off the map.
Not since the Second World War
did we hear such words coming from a leader of a nation against another nation.
And you people gathered here in Washington tonight,
you know that when it comes to this,
when we hear such threats,
we lose our sense of humor.
We take it seriously.
We have no choice but to take it seriously.

we must address ourselves to these threats and
make sure that no one really has
the capacity, the means and the opportunity

to exercise their hatred
against the Jewish people and the State of Israel,
particularly not those who might have nuclear capacity.

Naturally, the preferred solution for the Iranian issue is the diplomatic one.
Israel is very much in favor of the diplomatic approach
that can be useful and that can be helpful.
Sanctions which were already taken by the UN Resolution 1737
and hopefully additional measures which will have to be taken soon
by countries across the world –
economic measures, diplomatic measures, political measures –
will all be effective and will be felt and
will help force the Iranians to reconsider their position
and to decide whether its worthwhile for them to carry on this challenge
without additional restraint.
But at the end of the day, I think we all know and have to recognize that
President George W. Bush is the only leader and
the United States of America is the only country
that can be of enormous influence on what the Iranians will do.
They are the only ones that can confront effectively
the aggressiveness of the Iranians in their attempts to build up nuclear capacity.
I know that all of you, friends of the State of Israel,
well wishers for the State of Israel,
all of you who are concerned about
the security and the future of the State of Israel,

the importance of a strong American leadership
addressing the Iranian threat,

and I'm sure that
you will not hamper or restrain
the strong leadership unnecessarily.

[Compare: 1, 2, 2007-08-29-Raimondo.]

I also want to add, what might be the consequences of premature action in Iraq.
What these might create,
to Israel's security,
to the security of the Gulf States,
to the stability in the Middle East and
to the ability of the United States to cope with threats emerging
in different parts of the world,
particularly those threats emerging from Iran.

Now let me be very sincere and very open.
All of you are friends of the State of Israel and
all of you care deeply for
the security and the wellbeing and the future of the State of Israel.
And I'm sure that all of you are willing to support
efforts made by Israel, the United States and other nations
in order to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
I don't want to enter into American politics.
Believe me, I have enough politics of my own back home and that's quite a lot, sometimes too much.
All I care about is Israel's security and its wellbeing.
And therefore not because of my personal friendship to President Bush,
and not because of any involvement of interest in American policy,
just out of the deep concern for the future of the State of Israel,
did I have to say to you that
any outcome that will not help American strength
and would, in the eyes of the people in the region,
undercut America's ability to deal effectively
with the threat posed by the Iranian regime,
will be very negative to those who love the State of Israel

and for those who care for
the ability of the State of Israel and other nations in the region
to cope with the problem coming from Iraq.

Those who are concerned
for Israel's security,
for the security of the Gulf States and
for the stability of the entire Middle East
should recognize the need for American success in Iraq,
and responsible actions there.

Now, my dear friends, let me say a couple of words about
the Palestinian situation.
The other day I met with President Mahmoud Abbas
who was a guest at my home here in Jerusalem.
We had a very candid and friendly talk and I told him that
regardless of political circumstances, and
as long as he is the leader, the elected leader of the Palestinian people,
I would continue my strategic cooperation with him
because I want to maintain a link to the Palestinian people.
But at the same time I said what all of the civilized world says,
including America and of course Europe,
that a unity government among the Palestinians based on Hamas
that will not recognize the four principles of the Quartet,
will not be recognized by the State of Israel.

We will not cooperate with the Hamas government and
we will not recognize or work on a daily basis
with ministers who are members of a Hamas government,
regardless of affiliation of some of the ministers,
whether they are Hamas or Fatah or any other organization.
A Hamas government, any Palestinian government
must recognize the Quartet's principles,
must release Corporal Shalit without any conditions,
must stop the unending rockets
which they are shooting on the innocent Israelis
in the south part of our country and
must work on the basis of principles of human decency,
of patience and tolerance and of friendship
which is the way in which we relate to the Palestinian government.


And how grateful we are to you, members of AIPAC,
the most powerful Jewish organization in the world,
which is entirely and exclusively dedicated
to the wellbeing to the State of Israel and the Jewish people....


When America succeeds in Iraq,
Israel is safer in Israel.

When America is strong in coping with the terrorists in Iraq,
Israel is in a better position to cope with the threats that come from Iran.
The friends of Israel know it.
The friends who care for Israel know it.
The friends who are worried about the future of the State of Israel
want that America will be successful,
want that America will be strong,

I wish that
the Administration will keep the American presence
strong and powerful and convincing

so that everyone will know that
this is the only way to deal with
the threat that might be posed against America and America’s friends
in that part of the world.

[For more on AIPAC and the convention which Olmert addressed,
see AIPAC: The Video.]

On Israel, America and AIPAC
By George Soros
New York Review of Books, 2007-04-12

[An excerpt; section and paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.

The first two sections deal with the Hamas/Fatah/Israel/U.S. relationship.
The remainder of the article weaves in AIPAC.]

Section 1
The Bush administration is once again in the process
of committing a major policy blunder in the Middle East,
one that is liable to have disastrous consequences
and is not receiving the attention it should.
This time it concerns the Israeli–Palestinian relationship.
The Bush administration is actively supporting the Israeli government
in its refusal to recognize a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas,
which the US State Department considers a terrorist organization.
This precludes any progress toward a peace settlement
at a time when progress on the Palestinian problem
could help avert a conflagration in the greater Middle East.


Section 2
[Section 2 is omitted.]

Section 3
The current policy is not even questioned in the United States.
While other problem areas of the Middle East are freely discussed,
criticism of our policies toward Israel is very muted indeed.
The debate in Israel about Israeli policy
is much more open and vigorous than in the United States.
This is all the more remarkable because
Palestine is the issue that more than any other
currently divides the United States from Europe.
Some European governments, according to reports,
would like to end the economic boycott of Hamas
once a unity government is successfully established.
But the US has said it would not.

One explanation is to be found in the pervasive influence of
the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC),
which strongly affects both the Democratic and the Republican parties. [2]
AIPAC’s mission is to ensure American support for Israel
but in recent years
it has overreached itself.
It became closely allied with the neocons and

was an enthusiastic supporter of the invasion of Iraq.

It actively lobbied
for the confirmation of John Bolton as US ambassador to the United Nations.
It continues to oppose any dialogue
with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas.
More recently,

it was among the pressure groups
that prevailed upon the Democratic House leadership
to drop the requirement
that the President obtain congressional approval
before taking military action against Iran.

AIPAC under its current leadership has clearly exceeded its mission, and
far from guaranteeing Israel’s existence,
has endangered it.

The Palestine problem does not have a purely military solution.
Military superiority is necessary for Israel’s national security,
but it is not sufficient.
The solution has to be political, as President Clinton recognized.
He exerted enormous energy to bring about a peace settlement
and his efforts were so successful that
it took the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 by an Israeli extremist
to prevent an Israeli peace initiative with Arafat from being implemented.
Even after Ariel Sharon’s walk on the Temple Mount in September 2000
set off new violence,
Clinton offered a peace deal several months later that was rejected by Arafat
but probably suggests the shape of a future settlement.

President Bush has never tried.
He has adopted the misleading metaphor of the war on terror
and allowed Ariel Sharon to have his way.
Sharon did not want a negotiated settlement.
He came to realize that the military occupation could not be maintained forever
and withdrew from Gaza, in part, it has been argued,
to strengthen the Israeli position on the West Bank.
But unilateral withdrawal led to the current chain of events.
The Bush administration did not just
passively acquiesce in the Sharon/Olmert government’s policies;
it actively encouraged them.
AIPAC must bear its share of responsibility for aiding and abetting policies
such as Israel’s heavy-handed response to Hezbollah last summer
and its insistence on treating Hamas only as a terrorist organization.

The current policy of not seeking a political solution
but pursuing military escalation—
not just an eye for an eye but roughly speaking
ten Palestinian lives for every Israeli one—
has reached a particularly dangerous point.
After the Israel Defense Forces’ retaliation against
Lebanon’s road system, airport, and other infrastructure
one must wonder what could be the next step for the Israeli forces.
Iran poses a more potent danger to Israel than either Hamas or Hezbollah,
which are Iran’s clients.
There is the growing danger of a regional conflagration
in which Israel and the US could well be on the losing side.
With the ability of Hezbollah to withstand the Israeli onslaught
and the rise of Iran as a prospective nuclear power,
Israel’s existence is more endangered than at any time since its birth.

Supporters of Israel have good reason to question AIPAC’s advocacy and
they have begun to do so.
But instead of engaging in critical self-examination,
AIPAC remains intransigent.
Recently, the pro-Israel lobby has gone on the offensive,
accusing the so-called progressive critics of Israel’s policies of
fomenting anti-Semitism and
endangering the very existence of the Jewish state.

Section 4
The case against those who disagree with Israel’s current policy
is spelled out in detail by Alvin H. Rosenfeld
in a pamphlet published by the American Jewish Committee. [3]
After reviewing the rise of new anti-Semitic currents,
particularly in the Muslim world and Europe,
Rosenfeld equates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism
and asserts that
Jewish critics of Israeli policies reinforce both.
He acknowledges that criticism by itself is not anti-Semitic;
indeed, he writes,
“the biblical prophets stood on the side of justice
and were never hesitant to denounce their people’s behavior
when they saw it deviating from the standards of justice.”
But, he contends, “to condemn Israeli actions and, at the same time,
to forego any realistic historical and political frameworks
that might account for such actions” is not acceptable.
The use of “exaggerated and defamatory terms,” he writes,
renders Israel indistinguishable from
the “despised country
regularly denounced by the most impassioned anti-Semites.”
To call Israel a Nazi state...
or to accuse it of South African–style apartheid rule
or engaging in ethnic cleansing or wholesale genocide
goes well beyond legitimate criticism.
To talk about victims turning into aggressors
falls in his view in the same category.

To buttress his case, Rosenfeld examines the writings of a number of critics.
In particular, he focuses on a collection of essays
whose authors, in his own judgment,
make Noam Chomsky appear as an “almost conservative thinker,”
but the list also includes Tony Judt, a distinguished historian,
whose crime consists of suggesting a possible binational solution for Israel,
and Richard Cohen, a Washington Post columnist,
who wrote, among other things,
that the “sanest choice for Israel
is to pull back to defensible—but hardly injurious—borders”
and to get out “of most of the West Bank”—
a policy often advocated in Israel itself.
Rosenfeld resorts, without any personal knowledge of the people he attacks,
to primitive accusations of self-hatred,
lumping all these critics together
as people who are “proud to be ashamed to be Jews.”
He concludes that “the cumulative effect of these hostile ideas,
which have been moving steadily
from the margins to the mainstream of ‘progressive’ opinion,
has been to reenergize ugly ideas and aggressive passions
long considered dormant, if not dead,”
i.e., anti-Semitism.

Rosenfeld’s argument suffers from at least three elementary errors in reasoning.
The first is guilt by association.
The fact that constructive critics of Israel say things that,
when taken out of context or paraphrased in provocative ways,
can be made to sound similar to the comments of anti-Semites
does not make them anti-Semitic or supporters of anti-Semitism in any way.
Second, there is a lack of factual evidence.
Are the expressions used by the critics really “exaggerated and defamatory”?
That depends on the facts.
What is the more appropriate term,
“Israel’s still incomplete security fence” or “an Apartheid Wall?”
That can be determined
only by considering the actual impact the wall is having
on the lives of the Palestinians,
a subject ignored by Rosenfeld and AIPAC.

Third, the professed respect for criticism is a sham
when it is not permitted
“to condemn Israeli actions and, at the same time,
to forego any realistic historical and political frameworks
that might account for such actions.”
As presented by Rosenfeld, this formula implies that
Israel’s actions have to be justified, right or wrong.
The appeal to a “realistic framework”
aims to rationalize the Israeli position.
Criticism ought to be considered on its merits and not by any other yardstick. Suppressing criticism when it is deemed to be unpatriotic
has been immensely harmful both in the case of Israel and the United States.
It has allowed the Bush administration and the Sharon/Olmert government
to pursue disastrous policies.

Section 5
The pro-Israel lobby
has been remarkably successful in suppressing criticism.
Politicians challenge it at their peril
because of the lobby’s ability to influence political contributions.
When Howard Dean called for an evenhanded policy toward Israel in 2004,
his chances of getting the nomination were badly damaged
(although it was his attempt, after his defeat in Iowa,
to shout above the crowd that sealed his fate).
Academics had their advancement blocked
and think-tank experts their funding withdrawn
when they stepped too far out of line.
Following his criticism of repressive Israeli policy on the West Bank,
former president Jimmy Carter
has suffered the loss of some of the financial backers of his center.

Anybody who dares to dissent
may be subjected to a campaign of personal vilification.

I speak from personal experience.
Ever since I participated in a meeting
discussing the need for voicing alternative views,
a torrent of slanders has been released
including the false accusation in The New Republic
that I was a “young cog in the Hitlerite wheel” at the age of thirteen
when my father arranged a false identity to save my life
and I accompanied an official of the Ministry of Agriculture,
posing as his godson,
when he was taking the inventory of a Jewish estate. [5]

AIPAC is protected not only by the fear of personal retaliation
but also by
a genuine concern for the security and survival of Israel.
Both considerations have a solid foundation in reality.
The same two factors were at play in the United States after September 11
when President Bush declared war on terror.
For eighteen months thereafter
it was considered unpatriotic to criticize his policies.
That is what allowed him to commit
one of the greatest blunders in American history, the invasion of Iraq.
But at that time the threat to our national security
was greatly exaggerated by the Bush administration.
Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Dick Cheney went so far as to warn
that the threat would manifest itself in the form of a mushroom cloud.
In the case of Israel today
the threat to national security, even national survival, is much more real.
Israel needs the support of the United States more than ever.
Is this the right time to expose
AIPAC’s heavy influence in American politics?
I believe this consideration holds back many people
who are critical of the way AIPAC conducts its business.

While the other architects of the Bush administration’s failed policies
have been relentlessly exposed,
AIPAC continues to be surrounded by a wall of silence.

Section 6
I am not insensitive to this argument.
It has held me back from criticizing Israeli policies in the past.
I am not a Zionist, nor am I am a practicing Jew,
but I have a great deal of sympathy for my fellow Jews
and a deep concern for the survival of Israel.
I did not want to provide fodder to the enemies of Israel.
I rationalized my position by saying that if I wanted to voice critical views,
I ought to move to Israel.
But since there were many Israelis who held such views my voice was not needed,
and I had many other battles to fight.

But now I have to ask the question:

How did Israel become so endangered?
I cannot exempt AIPAC from its share of the responsibility.

I am a fervent advocate of critical thinking.
I have supported dissidents in many countries.
I took a stand against President Bush when he said that
those who don’t support his policies are supporting the terrorists.
I cannot remain silent now
when the pro-Israel lobby is one of the last unexposed redoubts
of this dogmatic way of thinking.
I speak out with some trepidation
because I am exposing myself to further attacks
that are likely to render me less effective
in pursuing many other causes in which I am engaged;
but dissidents I have supported have taken far greater risks.

I am not sufficiently engaged in Jewish affairs
to be involved in the reform of AIPAC;
but I must speak out in favor of
the critical process that is at the heart of our open society.
I believe that
a much-needed self-examination of American policy in the Middle East
has started in this country;
but it can’t make much headway
as long as AIPAC retains powerful influence
in both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Some leaders of the Democratic Party
have promised to bring about a change of direction
but they cannot deliver on that promise
until they are able to resist the dictates of AIPAC.
Palestine is a place of critical importance
where positive change is still possible.
Iraq is largely beyond our control;
but if we succeeded in settling the Palestinian problem
we would be in a much better position
to engage in negotiations with Iran and extricate ourselves from Iraq.
The need for a peace settlement in Palestine is greater than ever.
Both for the sake of Israel and the United States,
it is highly desirable that the Saudi peace initiative should succeed;
but AIPAC stands in the way.
It continues to oppose
dealing with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas.

Whether the Democratic Party can liberate itself from AIPAC’s influence
is highly doubtful.

Any politician who dares to expose AIPAC’s influence
would incur its wrath;
so very few can be expected to do so.

[Cf. “Moran Upsets Jewish Groups Again”.]

It is up to the American Jewish community itself
to rein in the organization that claims to represent it.
But this is not possible
without first disposing of the most insidious argument
put forward by the defenders of the current policies:
that the critics of Israel’s policies of occupation, control, and repression
on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem and Gaza
engender anti-Semitism.

The opposite is the case.
One of the myths propagated by the enemies of Israel is that
there is an all-powerful Zionist conspiracy.
That is a false accusation.
that AIPAC has been so successful in suppressing criticism
has lent some credence to such false beliefs.
the wall of silence that has protected AIPAC
would help lay them to rest.
A debate within the Jewish community,
instead of fomenting anti-Semitism,
would only help diminish it.

Anticipating attacks,
I should like to emphasize that
I do not subscribe to the myths propagated by enemies of Israel and
I am not blaming Jews for anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism predates the birth of Israel.
Neither Israel’s policies nor the critics of those policies
should be held responsible for anti-Semitism.
At the same time, I do believe that
attitudes toward Israel are influenced by Israel’s policies,
attitudes toward the Jewish community are influenced by
the pro-Israel lobby’s success in suppressing divergent views.

—March 15, 2007


[1] As the highly respected Israeli writer David Grossman,
whose son was killed fighting in Lebanon, commented on March 11,
“In the present situation
any sort of dialogue between Israel and Palestinians is positive
and has the potential to change the state of mind of both societies.”

[2] It is not the only one.
In a letter to the Jewish citizens in America, Jimmy Carter wrote that
“the overwhelming bias for Israel comes from Christians like me
who have been taught to honor and protect God’s chosen people
from among whom came our own savior, Jesus Christ.”

[3] Alvin H. Rosenfeld,
“‘Progressive’ Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism”
(American Jewish Committee, 2006).

[4] See Michael Massing,
“The Storm Over the Israel Lobby,”
The New York Review, June 8, 2006.

[5] See the article by Martin Peretz,
The New Republic, February 12, 2007.
May 10, 2007: Alvin H. Rosenfeld, ‘ON ISRAEL, AMERICA, AND AIPAC’
May 10, 2007: Lisa Appignanesi, ‘INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICES’

Why is the Peace Movement Silent About AIPAC?
CounterPunch.org, 2007-04-17

Where Did AIPAC Come From?
by Grant F. Smith

The following is an excerpt from
Foreign Agents:
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee
From the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal


McCain Sharpens His Foreign Policy Attacks on Obama
New York Times, 2008-06-03

[An excerpt.]

“We hear talk of a meeting with the Iranian leadership offered up
as if it were some sudden inspiration,
a bold new idea that somehow nobody has ever thought of before,”
Mr. McCain said.
“Yet it’s hard to see what such a summit with President Ahmadinejad
would actually gain,
except an earful of anti-Semitic rants and a worldwide audience
for a man who denies one Holocaust
and talks before frenzied crowds about starting another.”

Rice Calls Dialogue With Iran Pointless
New York Times, 2008-06-04

Obama Offers Assurances at Pro-Israel Meeting
New York Times, 2008-06-05

Will Obama Stand Up to the War Party?
Don't bet the ranch on it

by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2006-06-04

Obama Capitulates
– to the Israel lobby

by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2006-06-06

Mr. Obama's Middle East
Washington Post Editorial, 2008-06-07

After all, he doesn't see the region much differently than President Bush does.

Palin at AIPAC: That Didn’t Take Long
by Jim Lobe
Antiwar.com, 2008-09-02

[This is posted in
2008 Presidential Election and


At Annual Meeting, Pro-Israel Group Reasserts Clout
New York Times, 2009-05-05

WASHINGTON — The formidable political strength of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the nation’s major pro-Israel lobby, has been on decidedly intentional display here in the last few days.

But this year, Aipac’s annual conference comes after a period fraught with small anxieties for the group and its supporters.

Just days ago, the Obama administration said it was seeking the dismissal of charges that two former Aipac analysts had violated an espionage statute by improperly disseminating national security information.

The case against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman had raised what many in the pro-Israel community in the United States regard as an unfair, even toxic question about whether the loyalty of some American Jews to Israel matches or exceeds their loyalty to the United States.

Gary Silow, a Philadelphia-area lawyer and Aipac member at the convention, said he was deeply troubled by the potential for renewed discussion of what he said was the offensive “dual loyalty” issue. In Mr. Silow’s view, “the fact that they came after Aipac was what was really disturbing.”

Like many at the convention, Mr. Silow said he was relieved at the move for a dismissal.

More than half the members of the House and Senate attended Monday night’s dinner, which featured the group’s “roll call” in which the lawmakers all rise. It is a conscious — and effective — effort to demonstrate the group’s influence on Capitol Hill.


Ignore AIPAC at America’s Peril
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2009-05-05

[Although the title of this significant column only mentions AIPAC,
it is really more about
the breadth and depth of Jewish control over
what America reads, sees, and does.]

Picking on AIPAC?
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2009-05-19

The Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2009-09-03

Why Does AIPAC Spy on Americans?
by Grant Smith
Antiwar.com, 2009-11-05


AIPAC Secrecy Increases
Scott Horton Interviews Grant F. Smith
Antiwar.com Radio, 2011-09-28

Grant F. Smith, director of
the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C.,
discusses the clarification of his August article
“Does AIPAC Have Only Two Major Donors;”
how AIPAC has changed its mandatory disclosures and tax returns
to obfuscate the organization’s donors and methods;
how the American Israel Education Foundation (AIPAC’s “travel agency”)
shuttles members of Congress to and from Israel,
even though lobby-sponsored trips are supposed to be banned;
the organizations (not just AIPAC) that constitute
what is known as the “Israel lobby;” and
how the Foreign Agents Registration Act is selectively enforced
based on political concerns, not objective criteria.


AIPAC Is the Only Explanation for America's Morally Bankrupt Israel Policy
by Stephen M. Walt
Huffington Post, 2015-07-22

The official name for Israel's latest assault on Gaza is "Operation Protective Edge."
A better name would be "Operation Déjà Vu."
As it has on several prior occasions,
Israel is using weapons provided by U.S. taxpayers
to bombard the captive and impoverished Palestinians in Gaza,
where the death toll now exceeds 500.
As usual, the U.S. government is siding with Israel,
even though most American leaders understand Israel
instigated the latest round of violence,
is not acting with restraint, and that
its actions make Washington look callous and hypocritical in the eyes of most of the world.

This Orwellian situation is eloquent testimony to
the continued political clout of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee)
and the other hardline elements of the Israel lobby.
There is no other plausible explanation for the supine behavior of the U.S. Congress--
including some of its most "progressive" members--
or the shallow hypocrisy of the Obama administration,
especially those officials known for their purported commitment to human rights.


[A]s soon as fighting [between Israel and just about anyone] starts,
and even if Israel instigates it,
AIPAC demands that Washington march in lockstep with Tel Aviv.
Congress invariably rushes to pass new resolutions endorsing whatever Israel decides to do.
Even though it is mostly Palestinians who are dying,
White House officials rush to proclaim that Israel has "the right to defend itself,"
and Obama himself won't go beyond expressing "concern" about what is happening.
Of course Israelis have the right to defend themselves,
but Palestinians not only have the same right,
they have the right to resist the occupation.
To put this another way,
Israel does not have the right to keep its Palestinian subjects in permanent subjugation.
But try finding someone on Capitol Hill who will acknowledge this simple fact.

The explanation for America's impotent and morally bankrupt policy
is the political clout of the Israel lobby.
Barack Obama knows that
if he were to side with the Palestinians in Gaza or criticize Israel's actions in any way,
he would face a firestorm of criticism from the lobby
and his chances of getting Congressional approval for a deal with Iran would evaporate.

Similarly, every member of the House and Senate--
including progressives like Senator Elizabeth Warren--
knows that voting for those supposedly "pro-Israel" resolutions is the smart political move.
They understand that even the slightest display of independent thinking on these issues
could leave them vulnerable to a well-funded opponent the next time they're up for re-election.
At a minimum, they'll have to answer a flood of angry phone calls and letters,
and, on top of that, they are likely to be blackballed by some of their Congressional colleagues.
The safer course is to mouth the same tired litanies about alleged "shared values" between Israel and the U.S.
and wait till the crisis dies down.
And people wonder why no one respects Congress anymore.


Unfortunately, AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League,
the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
and assorted Christian Zionist groups
continue to exhibit a severe case of tunnel vision.
Because defending Israel no matter what it does is their main raison d'etre
(and central to their fundraising),
they are unable to see that they are helping Israel drive itself off a cliff.
Similarly, those pliant members of Congress who cravenly sign AIPAC-drafted resolutions
are not true friends of Israel.
They are false friends who pretend to care but are really only interested in getting reelected.

Historians will one day look back and ask how U.S. Middle East policy
could be so ineffectual and so at odds with its professed values --
not to mention its strategic interests.
The answer lies in the basic nature of the American political system,
which permits well-organized and well-funded special interest groups
to wield significant power on Capitol Hill and in the White House.
[Walt unfortunately omits the other basic reason for America's support for Israel--
Jewish domination of the media.
Is that a false accusation?
See what happened to (the late) Helen Thomas.]

In this case, the result is a policy that is bad for all concerned:
for the Palestinians most of all, but also for the U.S. and Israel as well.
Until the lobby's clout is weakened or politicians grow stiffer spines,
Americans looking for better outcomes in the Middle East
had better get used to disappointment and prepared for more trouble.

Friends of Israel
The lobbying group AIPAC
has consistently fought the Obama Administration on policy.
Is it now losing influence?
By Connie Bruck
New Yorker, 2017-09-01


In a press conference,
[Senator Lindsay] Graham, who has been
a major recipient of campaign contributions connected to AIPAC,

pointed out that the funding for Iron Dome
was intended as a gesture of solidarity with Israel.
“Not only are we going to give you more missiles—
we’re going to be a better friend,” Graham said.
“We’re going to fight for you in the international court of public opinion.
We’re going to fight for you in the United Nations.”


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