Steve Grossman, one of the candidates in next Tuesday's Democratic primary for Massachusetts State Treasurer, is a past national president of AIPAC (The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee). Grossman, former chair of the Democratic National Committee, has been very coy about publicly admitting his involvement with pro-Israel lobbying. Although AIPAC has been an important part of his political activism – he was chosen its National President in 1992 -- you cannot find any mention of the organization on his campaign web site. When questioned about AIPAC during the campaign, Grossman has reacted with angry stonewalling.
AIPAC and its kindred Israel Lobby groups were instrumental in promoting the Iraq War. Today the same people are pushing for confrontation -- and possibly another war -- with Iran. These are matters which should give Massachusetts residents pause before elevating an AIPAC stalwart to important statewide office.
And AIPAC’s pressure has had a local impact in Mass as well. Grossman, along with other state pro-Israel lobby organizations, was a key player in promoting the so-called Iran Divestment Bill, which passed in the legislature this summer. Besides promoting war hysteria, the Iran Divestment measure comes with a substantial price tag. The State Pension Board estimated that retirement funds would have to sell $452 million worth of stock, at a cost of $5 million in transaction fees, and up to $40,000 annually for consultant services. Those costs could pay the annual pension benefit for nearly 200 state employees and teachers — at a time when pension funds are under severe strain. The lost money which will have to be made up out of general tax revenues.
The Iran Divestment Bill was passed with almost no local media attention. However, it was touted enthusiastically in the Israeli press:
Jerusalem Post: Steve Grossman, Former AIPAC president hopes to oversee Iran divestment
Steve Grossman, the former president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is looking forward to ridding Massachusetts’s pension funds of companies doing business with Iran should he win his race for state treasurer. “It’s an important statement of our values and our priorities, that we don’t invest in companies that are working against the interests of the United States,” Grossman told The Jerusalem Post. “Our pension funds should not be put into stocks of foreign companies that are helping Iran develop an oil and gas industry and exporting terrorism and are creating problems in terms of the national security of the United States.”