Why I’m going to ‘Move Over AIPAC’

Israel/Palestine
on 53 Comments
AIPAC Poster Image

One year ago this week, on April 14, 2010, I was pulling a bleary-eyed all-nighter at the heated divestment on the UC Berkeley campus about divestment from US corporations profiting from the Israeli occupation.  I was there to testify in support of the bill as a young Jewish-American of Israeli descent. On March 18, UC Berkeley’s student senate had voted 16 to 4 in favor of divestment. A week later, the vote was vetoed by the student senate president. What was behind the defeat of the resolution?  One primary influence: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee – AIPAC.   

In a shocking video, top AIPAC official Jonathan Kessler responded to a question about the divestment fight at Berkeley by saying, “We’re going to make sure that pro-Israel students take over the student government and reverse the vote…This is how AIPAC operates in our nation’s capital. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation’s campuses.” And indeed, this year, the perfect AIPAC-Manchurian candidate has taken office: UC Berkeley student body president Noah Stern is a former AIPAC intern (who committed well-documented voter fraud to get elected).

This year, from May 21-24, AIPAC will hold its annual convention, bringing more than 8,000 people from all over the country to our nation’s capital to discuss, commemorate and strengthen the special relationship between Israel and the United States. In addition to AIPAC’s die-hard supporters, more than 1,000 of those attending will be college students representing over 300 campuses from all 50 states, over a quarter of whom are student body presidents selectively targeted by AIPAC. Each year these students receive formal invitations in the mail, offering them a free trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the weekend-long AIPAC seminar followed by a full day of lobbying on Capitol Hill. The goal of this gathering: To secure the relationship between Israel and the United States, to promote further sanctions on Iran, and to ensure continued- if not increased- military aid to Israel. “A great resume builder,” the invitations typically say. 

Some of the students who will be attending are already informed about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but many others are not. Once the convention begins, they are inundated with the fear-mongering policies of the second most powerful lobbyist organization in Washington D.C. (just behind the AARP). This year, the gala keynote address will be given by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will most likely invoke rhetoric about the “global delegitimization of Israel”- a new term given to advocates of justice critiquing Israel’s human rights violations.  There will likely be little, if any, discussion of the expansion of illegal settlements, the ongoing construction of the illegal apartheid wall (in many places built with 24-foot high concrete), Israel’s exploitation of Palestinian water resources, the violence of Jewish settlers toward Palestinians, the suffocation of the people in Gaza, or any of the other serious offenses occurring every day in the Occupied Territories. Speakers and workshops (which can be found here) include topics such as critical examination of the Arab world uprisings and the implications for Israel, the “threat” of Iran, and many sessions on the history of the region that will undoubtedly exclude the Palestinian narrative and current reality under occupation.  One session is even titled “Israel Improving Palestinian Lives”! 

AIPAC’s central focus is to ensure continued U.S. aid for Israel, financially (to the tune of over $3 billion a year of our tax dollars), and politically.  The U.S. hesitated to condemn the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak during the Egyptian revolution, because it was well aware that a genuine democracy in Egypt might not be beneficial for Israel. In response to the uprisings in the Arab world, the Israeli government wants even more American dollars (out of our pockets) to “secure itself.” And recently the U.S. vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. American support for, and enabling of, continued Israeli violations of international law and human rights encourages anti-American sentiment in the Middle East and works in direct contrast with our national interests.  

AIPAC’s relentless pressure on Congress now extends to our nation’s college campuses as well, where it seeks to influence student elections and opinions.  But as Peter Beinart’s now viral piece noted, the next generation of American Jews are committed to standing on the side of justice, rather than the AIPAC-endorsed story.  And in the case of the UC Berkeley campus divestment campaign, as is the case with the growing youth movement across the country, the diverse array of student cultural groups stood committed to human rights and divestment.  The tide is turning, and it’s time for AIPAC to move over and make way for a new US foreign policy in the Middle East, one that includes the end of military aid to Israel until it complies with international law.  As the main financier of the Israeli occupation, the fulcrum of change must happen here in the U.S. 

CODEPINK Women for Peace has partnered with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), Jewish Voice for Peace, and more than 100 peace and justice groups to organize Move Over AIPAC (www.moveoveraipac.org) – a simultaneous policy summit along with a series of creative actions and cultural performances in Washington, D.C. timed to coincide with AIPAC’s annual policy meeting. Move Over AIPAC will expose the negative implications of the lobby’s influence on U.S. foreign policy and promote an alternative approach that respects the rights of all people in the region.  Speakers at the events will include life-long journalist Helen Thomas, Ralph Nader, Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, The Israel Lobby authors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, Palestinian writer Laila El Haddad, Dr. Patch Adams, CODEPINK  and Global Exchange cofounder Medea Benjamin, and many more widely renowned experts and activists.  

From UC Berkeley to Florida International University, over a dozen chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine have signed onto Move Over AIPAC and there is a growing student scholarship fund to support young people who want to be in DC for this momentous occasion.  As a college student I may have been unsure about AIPAC’s policies, but with the knowledge I have now about the lobby’s work on behalf of Israel’s military violence and abuse, I can clearly see that as a young Jew, AIPAC does not speak for me.  Don’t let your tax dollars continue to buy occupation – join us in DC to move over AIPAC! 

Rae Abileah is the Middle East Coordinator at CODEPINK Women for Peace (www.codepink.org) and a member of Jewish Voice for Peace / Young Jewish Proud (www.youngjewishproud.org).  She invites you to register today to attend Move Over AIPAC (www.moveoveraipac.org).  Rae is an American Jew of Israeli descent living in San Francisco, CA and can be reached at [email protected].

About Rae Abileah

Rae Abileah is a social change strategist and member of Jewish Voice for Peace who participated in the 21st Presbyterian General Assembly (http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2012/07/11/an-open-letter-to-presbyterian-clergy/). She is a Jewish-American of Israeli descent and lives in California. This month she traveled to Israel/Palestine to co-lead the 50th Interfaith Peace Builders delegation (http://ifpbd50.tumblr.com/). She can be reached at rae [at] raeabileah.com and @raeabileah.

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53 Responses

  1. MRW
    April 12, 2011, 11:00 pm

    Wonderful report, Rae.

    • Sand
      April 12, 2011, 11:17 pm

      Phil & Adam — IMHO I think it useful to post this entry from 2009 to give added insight in how AIPAC works/manipulates the er… naive.

      Hoping to build the leaders of tomorrow, AIPAC offers high level access to Congressional interns
      by Adam Horowitz on July 8, 2009
      link to mondoweiss.net

      Shii: “…AIPAC is no longer the domain of Jews or evangelicals. When I went to the seminar last year and got on this God-forsaken list, there was an extremely diverse crowd. All of them had two things in mind: supporting AIPAC and getting into politics (a common concern of many interns). They are handing out awards like “AIPAC Platinum Member” to young supporters, which the political up-and-coming sport with pride. Additionally: 4. These e-mails are only half the fun. AIPAC also sponsors dozens of conventions every summer where they fly in supporters (i.e. average Joe, non-influential Jews who apply and get in) from around the country, either to lobby Congress or to go to special panels and seminars with lobbyists. I saw these naive blokes wearing their AIPAC stickers in the Raymond cafeteria all summer last year. I expect the details of this program are posted somewhere else. 5. I would not consider the interns in this program political movers and shakers. They were not very bright. But what I learned on the Hill last year is that they are nevertheless bound to influence policy. Summer Session interns will move on to become lobbyists themselves, or even LAs for Congresspeople…”

  2. yourstruly
    April 13, 2011, 12:45 am

    make that mow over aipac

    down to the level of insignificance it deserves

    and while doing so

    how about we stop fixating on it?

    what instead?

    we build a new world

    • yourstruly
      April 13, 2011, 1:17 am

      because as the lion aslan once said (paraphrasing him) – “while bringing this about, we don’t have to talk about the past”. Makes sense, since what’s worthwhile from the past most surely will be welcomed into the future that’s coming towards us, whereas, that which wasn’t worthwhile from the past will be conspicuous only by its absence. .

      • yourstruly
        April 13, 2011, 2:01 am

        and isn’t the first item on our agenda to expose these dual loyalist israel-firsters for what they are, traitors; including, but not limited to the israel lobby and its puppets in congress and the white house? First item because the most we can do as americans is to find a way to undo the u.s-israel special relationship. Yes, I know, it’s an impossible task, caise the lobby’s got unlimited gelt, and then there’s this, that, so what’s the use? True enough, but once we get going on this. surprise, it’ll be like cutting through butter., what with General David Petreaus and Vice President Joe Biden, among others, already having gone public with the fact that israel’s intransigence re: a peace accord with the palestinians endangers out troops in Afghanistan. That was the start-up. We can build on it.

      • jrochkind
        April 30, 2011, 9:24 am

        The US is pretty much as racist and imperialist as Israel. Encouraging a ‘patriotic’ and xenophobic rejection of “dual loyalists” only plays into the hands of right-wing racism in the US, and is a dangerous mistake. Ending the Israeli occupation is an imperative, as is ending US cover and support for an occupying Israel, but not be using racist and imperialist tropes, not be encouraging distrust of the ‘other’ in the US, a mirror image of anti-Palestinian xenophobic hysteria in Israel.

      • stopaipac
        April 30, 2011, 1:19 pm

        Thank you so much for this important comment, jroch, it’s too bad few people will see it because it is so late in the discussion. i started Stop AIPAC! because i wanted to present the issue of the harm aipac is doing to US policy not because of supposed “dual loyalty” and not because its leadership are “unfaithful to the US”, but because its leadership is not supportive of international law (and sometimes US law) and human rights.

        I have no special loyalty to the United States, in that i do not believe the people of the US are worth more, or less, than anyone else. and i hope i do not need to remind any here that there has been terrible harm done to this world, and the US itself by the most fanatical, so-called “pro-America” fools. War after war, one imperialist aggression after another, have almost always been done by those whose fervently believed they were promoting “US interests” as they defined them.

        We need to promote internationalism and we need to promote the concept that all people have equal value, that we cannot help our communities or even our own particular nation without supporting the rights of others.

  3. mikomikeyz
    April 13, 2011, 12:46 am

    This is my first post on this site. I will probably ruffle a few feathers, not because I’m pro present Israeli/American policy toward Palestinians- I’m not- but because although I’m old in so many ways, and although I’m Jewish, I don’t possess faith. At least none that I can find within. And I keep looking.

    I abhor oppression. I am ashamed that we, the Jews, who hold Tikkun Olam above all, can accept degradation by our own actions.

    But I would certainly like more insight into what the specific economic plan is for the imagined Palestinian State. So much time and energy is being put into the moral fight for independence, but either I am woefully ignorant about the tremendous number of specifics of such a plan, or the plan doesn’t exist which will satisfy the economist in me.

    Also, I disagree with, “The U.S. hesitated to condemn the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak during the Egyptian revolution, because it was well aware that a genuine democracy in Egypt might not be beneficial for Israel.” This may have been one reason, but just one for the benefit of public perception. Obama also had to weigh the angry reaction of our self-interested relationship with the Saudis. As it is, they have chilled to the US in a way unlike ever before in our relationship. They blame Obama for selling out Mubarek. They are presently pursuing new alliances with China and others. The Saudis are convinced-and I am Switzerland on this- that wherever there are Shia, you can bet that Iran is fomenting unrest. The Saudis believe that Iran doesn’t want Democracy, they aim for a Caliphate. Or a bigger chunk of the Middle East. Which they will get. I suggest you read George Friedman’s new book, “The Next Ten Years”. He’s the founder and CEO of STRATFOR, the likely news arm of the CIA. So far, it appears as if Obama is following this plan (I am no conspiracy theorist, but who the heck knows if there’s disinformation in the book). Meaning that: the US is already distancing itself from Israel (evidence that although you say Obama “hesitated” condemning Mubarek, they none the less didn’t fight for his remaining, something different than the past 30 years relationship with him), Israel is believed by the US to be more than able to stand on its own without US funds (so the Palestinian “issue” is but a pawn in a much bigger power grab. Also the cold war, which was our reason for funding Israel so much in the first place, no longer exists), is creating a secret entente with Iran (as they know the Iraqi war was a mistake which essentially gave influence over the country to Iran, and they can’t stop this fact, so they instead have to embrace it. Never fight a land war in Asia…or the Middle East), will see the emergence of Turkey (Both it and Iran have 70 million people, far more than other ME countries) and a new Iran/Turkey dominance over the region with Israel and some Saudi configuration on the fringes.

    This is the thesis of Friedman. Far more calculating, and far more cynical, than the humanist and empathic cry you are making. If he is correct, then AIPAC is becoming a marginalized force. But he also suggests that Israel will not change its Palestinian policy, because from a “security” point of view, it is working. And Israel does not need AIPAC anymore.

    Anyway, how the hell do I know what the truth is on this. You want more Friedman cynicism? This is something the Saudis (Sunni) already believe: Hezbollah, being backed by the soon-to-be-dominant Iranians, is in the ideal position swipe a huge chunk of whatever society the Palestinian state creates. So of course Israel can’t allow this.

    Anyway, I’m tapped out, I’m tired, I agree with your fight because it is right, even if I have no faith that creating a Palestinian state will create less degradation and killing.

    • Danaa
      April 13, 2011, 2:52 am

      “This is something the Saudis (Sunni) already believe: Hezbollah, being backed by the soon-to-be-dominant Iranians, is in the ideal position swipe a huge chunk of whatever society the Palestinian state creates.”

      Just because Saudi sunnis believe it (if they actually do) does not make it so. Actually, the entire “Hezbollah is coming” meme is getting tiresome, for it being so out of kilter. As for the supposed “dominance” of Iranians, that’s another scare-mongering trope invented by Israel as a convenient false flag PR. naturally seconded by AIPAC and crammed down our throats as US citizens, just like everything else AIPAC wants.

      Your post, while meritorious on a few points, does unfortunately show the same woeful ignorance of what Palestinians are and what they want. Now I can’t tell you what Palestinians “are” since they are a diverse group, like any other, and I certainly can have no claim to know what’s in their “heart of hearts” or even in their heads. What I can tell you what they are not: a mirror image of Israeli-style expansionist tribalism, also known in some quarters as zionism. I kind of doubt Palestinians, as a whole are one tenth as greedy as the Judean population of Israel is. Neither is it likely that they will sheepishly fall into the waiting jaws of predatory Hezbollah. That’s just orientalist nonsense.

      besides, did you know we are not exactly crazy for Friedman around here? We know he likes to run with Sauds and an imaginary global tech army. Alas, he either needs to run faster or learn how to breath better. Me thinks he ain’t getting no medals in that little marathon.

      • Tal
        April 13, 2011, 6:13 am

        ” I kind of doubt Palestinians, as a whole are one tenth as greedy as the Judean population of Israel is”

        One passage ago you denounced the generalizations made by westerners when analyzing will of Palestinians. Why are you doing the same when talking about Israelis.
        I am an Israeli. I can honestly say that I am not greedy. Although Passover is coming soon and I started searching for Palestinian blood for my Matzos, I am not greedy of their lands. I hope they will soon have their state established on the basis of 67 borders with the help of the UN assembly.
        חג שמח

        p.s. Although I am not a native English speaker I think the correct term would be: “The Jewish population of Israel”

      • MRW
        April 13, 2011, 5:51 pm

        Tal,

        Danaa is Israeli, although she escaped and now lives here.

        p.s. Although I am not a native English speaker I think the correct term would be: “The Jewish population of Israel”
        Not according to Netanyahu at the UN. It’s a Jewish State and Israelis are Jews.

      • Chaos4700
        April 13, 2011, 6:08 pm

        I find it insulting that Tal can backhandedly accuse us of being anti-Semites with the food prep comment, but when I refute that in my post, it’s my post that gets bounced.

      • RoHa
        April 13, 2011, 7:06 pm

        “I am an Israeli. I can honestly say that I am not greedy….I hope they will soon have their state established on the basis of 67 borders ”

        Keep 78 % of Palestine. Let the Palestinians have 22%. Not greedy.

      • Tal
        April 14, 2011, 3:04 am

        You did not refute my accusation and I don’t think that you are anti-Semite. I’m sure however that Dana’s remark was racist even if she is indeed ex-Israeli (I wonder if she thinks that her parents are greedy).
        If Dana’s intention was to denounce Israelis as greedy because they are westerners then she would have included the 20% Arab population of Israel.

        Just to clarify, I did not vote for this government and I strongly object its policies and practices against the Palestinians. However i think that it is hypocritical to denounce Zionism as a national movement while accepting all other national movements. Zionism has caused many injustices but so did most national movements including “Americanism”. I prefer fighting for a reform in Zionism instead of sending back the Jews to Europe or reverting them to persecuted minority status in their own land.

      • Shingo
        April 14, 2011, 7:12 am

        If Dana’s intention was to denounce Israelis as greedy because they are westerners then she would have included the 20% Arab population of Israel.

        Dana’s intention was to denounce Israelis as greedy because they are colonial entitity, obsessed with stealing land.

        However i think that it is hypocritical to denounce Zionism as a national movement while accepting all other national movements.

        Only the ones that involve a miliatry occupation, ethnic cleaisng, land theft, settlements building, home demolition and evictions.

        Zionism has caused many injustices but so did most national movements including “Americanism”.

        The world has moved on since the 19th century. Just because Israel missed out does not mean it is entitled to have it’s own.

        I prefer fighting for a reform in Zionism instead of sending back the Jews to Europe or reverting them to persecuted minority status in their own land.

        No one is suggesting sending back the Jews to Europe, just seding them back to Israel.

      • mikomikeyz
        April 14, 2011, 2:36 am

        Danaa,

        “Just because Saudi sunnis believe it (if they actually do) does not make it so. ”

        You are wise to be skeptical; I think it would be wiser to be skeptical about your skepticism.

        “Actually, the entire “Hezbollah is coming” meme is getting tiresome, for it being so out of kilter. ”

        What does that mean?

        “As for the supposed “dominance” of Iranians, that’s another scare-mongering trope invented by Israel as a convenient false flag PR.”

        This I have have from many non-Israeli, even anti-Israeli sources, like the Saudis. How much is intel or counter intel I have no idea, and you don’t either (Or do you?). I do know that Iraq is wide open to Iran; that every country with a Shia population is being embraced by Iran (with how much success, who knows?).

        “Your post, while meritorious on a few points, does unfortunately show the same woeful ignorance of what Palestinians are and what they want. ”

        I am posting the views of another.

        “Now I can’t tell you what Palestinians “are” since they are a diverse group, like any other, and I certainly can have no claim to know what’s in their “heart of hearts” or even in their heads.”

        You then go on to do just that:

        “I kind of doubt Palestinians, as a whole are one tenth as greedy as the Judean population of Israel is. Neither is it likely that they will sheepishly fall into the waiting jaws of predatory Hezbollah.”

        I am discussing perceptions. You are being a polemicist. I do know many many Palestinians personally; I have so since the early 1970’s. You have no idea what Palestine will become. Nor do I.

        And I shouldn’t post Friedman because, “we are not exactly crazy for Friedman around here”? I assure you I had no intention of hurting your feelings. My point was that it seems our President is subscribing to his play book. And many of his assertions sound like they have validity. You don’t think, for example, that Israel can, and maybe wants to, stand on its own?

        You seem anxious to be offended. Is this the beginning of a love affair?

      • Shingo
        April 14, 2011, 7:04 am

        mikomikeyz,

        You are wise to be skeptical; I think it would be wiser to be skeptical about your skepticism.

        You’d be wise to stop makikng assinine comments.

        What does that mean?

        It means that all the hysteria about Hezbollah waiting to pounce in Israel is complete BS.

        This I have have from many non-Israeli, even anti-Israeli sources, like the Saudis. How much is intel or counter intel I have no idea, and you don’t either (Or do you?).

        Yes we do, because every time Washington or Israel puts out a story about Iran, it turns out to be BS.

        I do know that Iraq is wide open to Iran; that every country with a Shia population is being embraced by Iran (with how much success, who knows?).

        Welcome to planet Earth. While you were away, the US overthrew a leader who stood as a bulwark against Iran and replaced him with Iran backed Iraqi exiles, who are obviously closely aligned with Tehran. Iraq also happens to be naturally affiliated with Iran, given it’s Shiite majority

        You don’t think, for example, that Israel can, and maybe wants to, stand on its own?

        Clearly not, otherwise Israel and Israeli lobbyists would not be spending so much effort in policing the narrative in the US when it comes to Isral, or maintaining such a vice like grip on Congress, let alone asking for 20 billion more in funding.

      • mikomikeyz
        April 14, 2011, 11:43 am

        Shingo,

        I am not debating. I am not a polemicist. I am discussing. I am sharing information and my understanding of perceptions and strategy.

        ” You are wise to be skeptical; I think it would be wiser to be skeptical about your skepticism.

        You’d be wise to stop makikng assinine comments.”

        I worked very hard on that asinine comment. I left out an “also”, as in “I think it would be wiser to also be skeptical about your skepticism”. Does that help? I am 49, and I consider it wise. I intend for my son to learn this, if he hasn’t already. He’s 7.

        “It means that all the hysteria about Hezbollah waiting to pounce in Israel is complete BS.”

        In a discussion, it’s good to support an answer which you state as fact with lots of insight to support that fact. I am guessing that you are guessing, or at best reflecting your well-earned knowledge about the many Palestinians you know across a wide spectrum.

        “Yes we do, because every time Washington or Israel puts out a story about Iran, it turns out to be BS.”

        First of all, such binary statements are seldom true (for most things in life). You might say, “a lot of the time”, or “most of the time” or even “almost all of the time”. None of these would mean you know. But, I’ve just wasted three sentences, because none of my information on this specific point comes from American nor Israeli sources.

        ” I do know that Iraq is wide open to Iran; that every country with a Shia population is being embraced by Iran (with how much success, who knows?).

        Welcome to planet Earth. While you were away, the US overthrew a leader who stood as a bulwark against Iran and replaced him with Iran backed Iraqi exiles, who are obviously closely aligned with Tehran. Iraq also happens to be naturally affiliated with Iran, given it’s Shiite majority.”

        Why, thank you. You are no doubt the welcoming committee. I don’t understand you earthlings obviously , for I was making that very point to the nice person Danaa (I’m guessing they’re nice) who typed, “As for the supposed “dominance” of Iranians, that’s another scare-mongering trope invented by Israel as a convenient false flag PR.”

        ” You don’t think, for example, that Israel can, and maybe wants to, stand on its own?

        Clearly not, otherwise Israel and Israeli lobbyists would not be spending so much effort in policing the narrative in the US when it comes to Isral, or maintaining such a vice like grip on Congress, let alone asking for 20 billion more in funding.”

        I can think of many reasons countries “police” narratives. Hearts and minds are important, for example. They are not a necessary corollary with money. So for me, the point still stands open, and I see evidence of much of Friedman’s suggestions in policy at present. As far as Congress, it is the President who frames foreign policy, not those guys. They no doubt have sway and some leverage. But the President is more likely to take most of his cues from intelligence agencies and confidants than some of his friends in Congress. It makes sense to theorize that when it comes to foreign policy, all Presidents have a public face and a private one. That they are necessarily duplicitous. That Stated foreign policy and foreign actions don’t necessarily match. And this has likely always been true for other countries’ foreign policy. And everybody but much of the public seems in on this idea.

        All that said, Israel has energy issues at present. Egypt supplied much of their nat gas, and that relationship is now tenuous, if not breaking (I haven’t heard the latest). So it’s altogether possible that the dynamic of which I speak is temporarily on hold. And yes, Israel would still be dealing with AIPAC for the near-term. But Friedman persuasively suggests that both Israel and the US would have much to gain from the eventual winding down of funds. For one, the very argument you make about US funding would no longer exist, and the US would at least seem a bit more unbiased (of course this still wouldn’t likely be true). And for Israel, well, to quote Friedman:

        “For Israel, foreign aid means far less than close ties with hedge funds do. Israel is quite capable of handling itself financially. What the foreign aid signifies to Israel, which has no formal treaty with the United States, is a public commitment by the United States to Israel. Israel uses that as a card both in the region and to comfort Israeli public opinion [note the suggested duplicitous Israeli foreign policy re its people]. What the United States once got in return for that aid was a stable partner in the region, which could not manage without the money. Now the United States has a partner regardless of the aid. ON the negative side of the ledger, the aid provides grounds for Islamicist arguments that the United States is the source of all their problems, including ruthless behavior on the part of the Israelis. Given that the aid is marginal in importance [$20 billion is NOT marginal, although I don't know over how many years the $20 billion is being asked. Maybe Barak wants a "going away" present. Anyway, Israel's GDP is $217.1 billion (2010 est.).] that price is too high. Giving up this commitment to aid would actually help Israel by eliminating a prime argument of the anti-Israeli lobby in the United States.

        Note again, for you seem to be missing this: I am presenting another’s strategic ideas. My interest in presenting them is not as prescription nor reflective of my sense of what is morally correct. For all I know, there is disinformation in them. And if you can refute these ideas, address them where they lay, where evidentiary rubber meets the road . You did so in bringing up the $20 billion. I approve; but I am still unconvinced. Convince me.

      • mikomikeyz
        April 14, 2011, 11:59 am

        PS I didn’t state anything about Hezbollah “pouncing” in Israel. My quote was, “Hezbollah, being backed by the soon-to-be-dominant Iranians, is in the ideal position swipe a huge chunk of whatever society the Palestinian state creates.”

        But then I am speaking a different language, my being from another planet.

        I am discussing. I am not debating, I am not polemicizing.

    • MRW
      April 13, 2011, 3:19 am

      mikomikeyz,

      We had a few discussions about Friedman’s thesis during the Egyptian uprising, but I don’t remember what they were.

      What is remarkable is that a Caliphate is waaaay more democratic than what Saudi Arabia has:

      The term caliphate “dominion of a caliph (‘successor,’),”… refers to the first system of government established in Islam, and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah (nation). In theory, it is a constitutional republic…, which means that the head of state [like the US President], the Caliph, and other officials are representatives of the people and must govern according to an existing constitutional law that limits the government’s power over citizens. [No different than the USA.]
      .
      It was initially led by Muhammad’s disciples as a continuation of the political system the prophet established, known as the ‘rashidun caliphates’. It represented the political unity, not the theological unity of Muslims as theology was a personal matter. A “caliphate” is also a state which implements such a governmental system.
      [...]
      Once the subject of intense conflict and rivalry amongst Muslim rulers, the caliphate has lain dormant and largely unclaimed since the 1920s. For the vast majority of Muslims the caliph as leader of the ummah, “is cherished both as memory and ideal”[38] as a time when Muslims “enjoyed scientific and military superiority globally,”[39] though “not an urgent concern” compared to issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[38]

      The two comments in brackets above are mine.

      38. Washington Post, Reunified Islam: Unlikely but Not Entirely Radical, Restoration of Caliphate resonates With Mainstream Muslims.
      39. Andrew Hammond, Middle East Online.

      Don’t forget, mikomikeyz, John Adams defined a constitutional republic as “a government of laws, and not of men.” And we’re supposed to be afraid of it if it’s given an Arabic name? Jesus.

      97% of the people in this country know zip about Islam; they confuse Hadith with Sharia and don’t care to know the difference. The demonization of the word Caliphate (Glenn Beck packed it in evil) represents a profound lack of education, curiosity, and ultimately, intelligence.

      • mikomikeyz
        April 14, 2011, 2:52 am

        You seem to suggest that I prefer the Saudi system to a Caliphate. I don’t. I didn’t. I posted part of an analysis regarding the forces that will likely shape the near future of Middle East dynamics.

        I know as much about Islamic history as most college kids caught up in the zeitgeist of our present times; probably a bit more, since I’ve had an extra 28 years or so more to soak up some extra tidbits and relationships.

        But that was a pretty post.

    • seafoid
      April 13, 2011, 4:46 am

      Middle East 101

      Hezbollah is Shia. The Palestinians are Sunni.
      and you can’t deny the Palestinians their self determination.

      • MRW
        April 13, 2011, 5:53 pm

        Middle East 102

        Saudis are Wahhabists, who go postal on the other two groups.

      • mikomikeyz
        April 14, 2011, 3:22 am

        Was this for me? I know that Palestinians are largely Sunni. The theory I’ve read (not Friedman), is that although Palestinian Sunni have much hate for Hezbollah, many have expressed disappointment in the lack of support against Israel from outside Sunni in neighboring countries, and have increased admiration for the aggressiveness of Hezbollah in their recent wars with Israel. The Theory (I wish I could remember where I read this. I promise to look.) further states that Hezbollah purposely blocked outside Sunni participation in many of its campaigns (The Saudis believe this), and, backed by Iran, desires to strike at the hearts of Palestinians in any new State. I don’t know what this means: conversion, etc., but the theory goes something along those lines.

        Again, I stated a theory. I haven’t deny Palestinians anything. Or were you just stating “you can’t deny the Palestinians their self determination” for some effect of which I should be aware?

      • Shingo
        April 14, 2011, 7:17 am

        The Theory further states that Hezbollah purposely blocked outside Sunni participation in many of its campaigns (The Saudis believe this), and, backed by Iran, desires to strike at the hearts of Palestinians in any new State.

        Rubbish. Hezbollah have expressed an open desire to play a role in the liberation of the Palestinians. As for blocking Sunni pariticipation in Hezbollah, yes, there is a great deal of tenstion between Hezbollah and the Saudis.

      • mikomikeyz
        April 14, 2011, 11:54 am

        Um. You just reconfirmed everything I stated about Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran. An “open desire to play a role in the liberation of the Palestinians” is no olive branch to the Saudis, who to my understanding mistrust if not hate the Iranians more than any other government on the planet (save perhaps Israel). What is “rubbish” about how I portrayed their perceptions?

  4. stopaipac
    April 13, 2011, 12:50 am

    There are so many reasons to go. Exposing, confronting and challenging this lobby for war and occupation is crucial if we are going to make any progress in changing US policy. This summit and the mass protest of aipac conference will be a turning point in our efforts to end the aipac monopoly in setting the national agenda for the Middle East. It must be followed by protests by as many of the local aipac events that occur around the nation (a trend that has already started, and seems to be getting stronger, Portland, OR being the most recent example… See link to stopaipac.org ). and we have to promise aipac we’ll be back in DC next March with an even bigger protest.
    btw, your unfriend Kessler sure is a busy man, Rae. He’s a speaker at the upcoming CUFI event in July. Along with well-known anti-Muslim/anti-Jewish(but “pro-Israel”) conspiracy propagandists Glenn Beck and of course, Rev. Hagee.

    • Kathleen
      April 13, 2011, 9:41 am

      And lobbying with your Rep. This is one of the most important pieces. Let your Reps know you are there and why.

  5. American
    April 13, 2011, 12:52 am

    Every year George Washington’s Farewell Address to the nation is read aloud on the floor of the house.
    Every year they ignore Washington’s warning.

    “So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld.
    And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

    Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other.
    Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests. ”

    -George Washington Farewell Adddress 1797

  6. Shingo
    April 13, 2011, 1:08 am

    top AIPAC official Jonathan Kessler responded to a question about the divestment fight at Berkeley by saying, “We’re going to make sure that pro-Israel students take over the student government and reverse the vote…This is how AIPAC operates in our nation’s capital. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation’s campuses.”

    WOW!!!

    Thank you Jonathan Kessler, for proving Walt and Meareshimer were absolutely on the money!! I love the fact that I can link to this quote and youtube clip to smack down anyone who ever deny Walt and Meareshimer’s thesis or accuse them of being anti Semites.

    • RoHa
      April 13, 2011, 1:41 am

      If I actually quoted that, and pointed out the implications, I would be an anti-Semite.

      You, I think, will be damned as a self-hating Jew.

    • Kathleen
      April 13, 2011, 9:33 am

      Shingo such a solid point. Thanks

      Dershowitz also says”put up or shut up.” About how Israels actions endanger the US

      link to c-span.org

      Why people become terrorist
      “they might have legitimate grievances”

      • Shingo
        April 13, 2011, 7:09 pm

        Dershowitz also says”put up or shut up.” About how Israels actions endanger the US

        One need only erad page 147 of the 911 Commission Report, where KSM’s motive for the attack is spelled out:

        The 9/11 Commission Report also notes that, “By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”

        link to en.wikipedia.org

  7. annie
    April 13, 2011, 4:46 am

    excellent rae!

  8. Citizen
    April 13, 2011, 7:05 am

    It will be interesting, as the annual AIPAC conference approaches, if the US MSM will say anything about it (a first?), and, if so, also mention MoveOverAIPAC’s conference. How aware of the latter organization are our congress peeps? Will CSPAN cover any of this? Will it even get a half hour on Washington Journal in the morning?

    • Kathleen
      April 13, 2011, 9:36 am

      Don’t think I have ever heard the Aipac conference announced on CNN, MSNBC other outlets. Have heard it mentioned on Washington Journal, NPR

    • Kathleen
      April 13, 2011, 9:39 am

      Important that people get the word out on the internet elsewhere. Folks could call into NPR ‘s Diane Rehm, Talk of the Nation, Ed’s radio show, Young Turks. I would not mention that you will be bringing this up with the screener. Get through with a reasonable, legitimate question comment and of course ask that reasonable question based on facts and then throw out the Move over Aipac conference.

      Give it a try. It works. Way to get the word out to millions

    • stopaipac
      April 13, 2011, 10:37 am

      Citizen and Kathleen, I don’t think an aipac policy conference has ever NOT been covered on network TV, because invariably the President (and/or President wannabe) or Sec of State or some such fool was making a speech there. So it is mentioned. Whether they will cover the fact that progressives are protesting is another matter.
      The problem is always How they cover aipac and any dissent. They never give near-enough information to know anything. It’s not just on the question of Palestine that they don’t report the news… a rather breathtaking example… The Early Show on CBS mentioned the protests in London against austerity measures… and they were going to do an in-depth report (which usually means 2 min.) on “How will this impact the royal wedding?” But, of course, nothing on how austerity measures will impact millions of workers. Mainstream news is a way to keep people uninformed.

      • Citizen
        April 13, 2011, 10:53 am

        Yes, stopaipac, you are right in all you say. So it has been mentioned; heck one could even have seen the AIPAC letters in the background, and sometimes, the Israeli flag right there alongside Old Glory. Exactly right: They never give near-enough information to know anything.

  9. Citizen
    April 13, 2011, 7:34 am

    M J Rosenberg was absolutely shocked, he tells you, shocked that Kessler would state publically “how AIPAC operates,” both in DC and on campuses nationwide. AIPAC just takes over our congress folks as they do our campus student governments. link to tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com

    The congress folks, you see, really want to get on, or stay on the political gravy train, and the campus student leaders are very similarly career-minded as well. Why not free stuff, networking, and AIPAC on your resume? See? Somebody cares about you for real, even if you are white and from some dinky rural college, or a black, from a black college? In these bad economic times, not the least for ambitious students, it’s good to know there’s a deep AIPAC pocket ready, willing, and able–just for you and yours! Here, now listen to the rock star, Derhshie–be a rebel! Don’t buy what the PTB are selling (even if the AIPAC salesmen/women ARE the PTB)!

  10. Chespirito
    April 13, 2011, 7:44 am

    Fantabulous! Finally, a real alternative to AIPAC, not AIPAC-lite. Move-Over-AIPAC-Coalition member orgs, you are a collective Gallant to J Street’s Goofus, and I wish you all the best!

  11. seafoid
    April 13, 2011, 7:57 am

    In 2009 Netanyahu told the WEF at Davos that Iran was a far greater threat to the western world than the economic crisis.

    link to walt.foreignpolicy.com

    I wonder what hysteria the AIPAC conference will throw up this year.

    • Kathleen
      April 13, 2011, 9:09 am

      Aipac, Jinsa, Israel have been pounding on the bad bad bad Iranian drum years ago.

      The “hysteria” will be focused on bad bad bad Iran guaranteed. I would put money on some trumped up event right before the conference or some alternative report coming out of Israel, some type of Niger Documents (although the lap top etc bullshit did not work) hooey.

      As well as lots of repeating “America is our friend” “Israel’s interest are the same as the US’s” “Americans love Israel” the stuff that Guilty feat and others repeat here.

      Surprised that Norman Finkelstein is not on the speaking list. Heard that he and Code Pink had some static situation

  12. Kathleen
    April 13, 2011, 8:57 am

    So happy that Code Pink as well as others have put this together. There has been a need for this for decades. The lobbying day is especially important.
    link to moveoveraipac.org
    Tuesday, May 24 – Follow the Money!
    9am-3pm Lobbying Congress, Creative Actions on the Hill, and Congressional Briefing

    If you have never called and made an appointment with your Reps best to make your appointments early. Have done this individually and with groups. At times you might even be able to meet directly with your Reps if you call early enough and make an appointment

  13. Kathleen
    April 13, 2011, 9:04 am

    I attended an Aipac conference for a day in D.C. when Ariel Sharon was still operating. The whole focus of the conference was on Iran Iran bad bad Iran. They had even set up a Hollywood style alleged Iranian nuclear weapons site room for people to walk through. It was all to build up hysteria based on unsubstantiated claims.

    You can bet your ass that this conference will crank up the Iranian hysteria ten fold. Best to focus on the facts in that case also. The IAEA has never ever confirmed that Iran is enriching uranium beyond what they are legally able. No substantiated evidence. Although Israel, I lobby and some of our congress folks as well as many NPR host (
    Terri Gross being serial offender), MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and a few others have not only allowed guest to repeat unsubstantiated claims about Iran both Terri Gross and Rachel have repeated these false claims themselves.

    The Aipac conference will surely be focused on bad bad Iran. Israel needs to sign the NPT.. decades ago. Israel started the nuclear arms race in that region

    • Shingo
      April 13, 2011, 7:00 pm

      The IAEA has never ever confirmed that Iran is enriching uranium beyond what they are legally able.

      It’s goes further than that Kathleen. The IAEA has confirmed (at least 24 times) with 100% certainty the non diversion of uranium.

  14. Nevada Ned
    April 13, 2011, 9:11 am

    Nevada Congressional representative Shelly Berkley is one of the most fanatical supporters of Israel in Congress today. She got her start in politics as an AIPAC intern back in the 1970’s. She does NOT put that on her Congressional website.

  15. Kathleen
    April 13, 2011, 9:18 am

    Looking for the longer clip of Kessler telling students how to shut down the debate on campuses. They (I lobby, Israel) do not want the movement to grow the way the South African anti apartheid movement grew on campuses in the 70’s and 80’s

    Campus Watch etc doing their best to shut down the debate
    link to campus-watch.org

    Just looked at this article rather quickly. Sounds as if Israel and some in the Jewish community only want “never again” to be used only in regard to the WWII holocaust.
    Blog
    Hatem Bazian’s Pernicious Misuse of ‘Never Again’

    By Cinnamon Stillwell | Thu, 24 Mar 2011, 12:24 PM | Permalink

    Hatem Bazian
    Writing for Campus Watch, Rima Greene and I report on the participation of UC Berkeley’s Hatem Bazian in the “Never Again for Anyone” tour. Our article is posted today at Frontpage Magazine:

    Just when it seemed as though the misuse of language and imagery associated with the Holocaust could get no worse, along came “Never Again for Anyone.” A national speaking tour designed to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, “Never Again for Anyone” traveled the U.S. from January 25 through February 19, 2011, landing at the First Presbyterian Church in Oakland, California on February 17. The event was a benefit for the virulently anti-Israel organization, the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA).

    The purpose of the tour was pernicious: to draw a connection between the Holocaust and the Arab-Israeli conflict, with Israelis cast as the new Nazis and “Never Again” transformed into the Palestinian rallying cry. Accordingly, the flyer for the event juxtaposed a photo of Jews fleeing Warsaw in 1944 with a photo of Arabs appearing to do the same from Tulkarm, in the British Mandate of Palestine, in 1948. Conveniently omitted was any context for the photos: the former group was fleeing extermination and the latter voluntarily abandoning their homes at the behest of an Arab leadership who tried and failed to exterminate the Jews.

    In an attempt to lend an air of credibility to this exercise in propaganda, the tour featured Hajo Meyer, an 87-year-old Auschwitz survivor-turned fanatical anti-Zionist. Joining Meyer at several locations was Hatem Bazian, a senior lecturer in the department of Near Eastern studies at the University of California at Berkeley. Bazian—who gave the introduction at a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) event at UC Berkeley in October 2010—is a notorious anti-Israel activist. He is also the director of the “Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project,” a program of UC Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender.

    Continue reading “Hatem Bazian’s Pernicious Misuse of ‘Never Again'”

    link to ifamericansknew.org

  16. Kathleen
    April 13, 2011, 9:21 am

    Look at what Daniel Pipes ( a real radical nut case) Campus Watch does when Professors speak out or for that matter anyone

    Howler of the Month Archive
    link to campus-watch.org

  17. Kathleen
    April 13, 2011, 9:24 am

    O.k. just watched the total clip above. That is the one Allison Weir had up at If Americans Knew

    If Americans knew is a great site to get brochures etc to hand out
    link to ifamericansknew.org

    • Citizen
      April 13, 2011, 10:56 am

      I so admire and respect Allison Weir. Now there’s my kind of woman!

  18. Kathleen
    April 13, 2011, 10:54 am

    This is in response to Dershowitz saying “put up or shut up” When many say that Israel’s interest have pushed the US into military interventions
    link to video.google.com

    Ritter and Seymour at 10:58 minutes “we’re not allowed to be highly critical of the state of Israel. We are not allowed to discuss the notions that Israel and the notion of Israeli interest may in fact be dictating what America is doing. That what we are doing in the middle east may not be to the benefit of America’s national interest but to Israel’s national interest.”

    This is a must watch interview conversation/interview with former weapons inspector Scott Ritter about Iran, Israel and the US. He says that Israel has every right to influence US foreign policy just like the UK, French, Saudi Arabia etc. But when any nation bring American citizens into play and pay them in any way shape or form (money to their campaigns etc) they are required to sign up under the FOREIGN AGENTS REGISTRATION ACT. Richard Perle, Douglas Feith etc.

  19. eGuard
    April 13, 2011, 5:46 pm

    My senses are touched. Israel is a “Jewish democracy (including Palestinians)”. Now this Move Over AIPAC reads like a … “Jewish protest (Muslims and Palestinians allowed)”. Something is rotten here.

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