Once she joined ‘Women in Black’ and opposed aid to Israel. And then– she ran for Congress and went to AIPAC

Kyrsten Sinema
Kyrsten Sinema

The American political tragedy. Kyrsten Sinema is an Arizona state senator with a leftwing back story. She was involved in global justice issues and the Green Party. But now she’s running for the Democratic nomination for Congress in Arizona and is up against an establishment candidate, Andrei Cherny, a liberal hawk who is the grandson of Holocaust survivors. 

Israel is playing a big part in the race. Sinema has now gone to AIPAC.

In this race, Cherny has unabashedly—his opponents say unfairly—drawn stark distinctions with his key rival, State Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, on the question of Israel and national security in order to position himself to her right.

Here is Sinema’s history, per Marc Tracy at Tablet:

Soon after 9/11, at 25 years old, she co-founded Local to Global Justice, a local advocacy group. Its initial mission was to oppose the invasion of Afghanistan, but in 2007 it signed a petition calling for an end to U.S. aid to Israel and another in 2008 decrying Israeli “human rights violations against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and against civilians in Lebanon.” Sinema joined Women in Black, a group founded by Israelis during the First Intifada to protest human rights abuses in the territories—a history of which Sinema claimed to be unaware. (That’s pretty hard to believe, since the group was founded in 1988 and is easily located on Google.) Also in 9/11’s aftermath, she helped organize the Arizona Alliance for Peaceful Justice; its motto was, “military action is an inappropriate response to terrorism.” According to The Hill, this was her position, too. At least as late as 2010, she continued to associate with these groups, speaking, for example, at an antiwar rally several sponsored. She has since severed ties.

…A Sinema spokesman pointed me to an official position paper laying out standard pro-Israel views and insisted that much of Sinema’s awkward past derives from a simple fact: “She was 24 years old, very frustrated with the Democratic Party, [and] thought that the Green Party was more progressive on environmental issues and sustainability.” To which Cherny’s response might be: When I was 24, I was already on-message and certainly wasn’t a Green Party supporter.

Sinema’s spokesman dismissed Cherny’s attacks as spin—the result “of a campaign deciding to try to make Sinema look bad because she had the courage to be outspoken against the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.” He also pointed to Sinema’s position paper on Israel and Iran, which calls for a two-state solution and vigorous sanctions against the Islamic Republic, and mentions a trip she took to Israel in 2009, when she visited Sderot and was moved by the inhabitants living under the threat of rockets. The conservative Washington Free Beacon reported (in one of the instances in which this race has received attention beyond Maricopa County) that she attended this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference.

I believe this is all about money and the establishment, where the campaign financing is on the Democratic side, and where the party endorsements are. Here is Sinema’s position paper on Israel and Palestine. In a word, craven:

The United States and Israel have been allies for more than 60 years, and this relationship, born of common values, must continue to be strong. Our friendship is rooted in our mutual respect for democratic values, human rights and religious freedom. I am a strong supporter of our relationship with Israel, and I believe that the U.S. should continue to support and strengthen Israel and her democratically elected leaders, with an eye toward maintaining her security in an unstable part of the world.

The Israeli / Palestinian Peace Process

In 2009, I had the opportunity to visit Israel as a member of a bipartisan delegation of American political leaders. During that week-long trip, I had the privilege of meeting with members of the Knesset, Israeli political party leaders, business leaders, and leaders of various non-governmental associations. This visit occurred shortly after the 2009 elections and the country was in the midst of change. Traveling throughout the country during this time, visiting Jerusalem, Sderot, Golan Heights, Tel Aviv, and other locations, was a remarkable and eye-opening experience. While I had read about the conflict between Israel and Hamas, it was only in Sderot that I saw first hand the danger in which many Israelis live each day. I will never forget the bomb shelter that was built at the site of a children’s playground after children had been killed by Hamas rockets. The families in Sderot live each day in danger. While I had long been a supporter of Israel, it is perhaps this image that stays with me more than any other. No family should live in fear of terrorists.

A safe and secure Israel must be protected; my policy positions below lay out how I believe we best achieve that security. I believe that Israel has the right to defend herself from her neighbors and from terrorist organizations. I also believe that the best path to long-term peace for Israel is a two-state solution – one a secure Jewish state of Israel and the other, an independent, demilitarized Palestine.

To achieve this outcome, the U.S. must play a role in the peace process, but lasting peace will only emerge from direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians themselves.

I support and I believe that the U.S. must support direct bilateral negotiations. Successful negotiations can be achieved only with legitimate and pragmatic Palestinian leaders. I am deeply concerned about the new unity government with Hamas, and I oppose any aid or support to Hamas. I believe that Hamas ought to recognize Israel’s right to exist and renounce violence before it can be a pragmatic negotiating partner for Israel.

Military Assistance

I believe that the U.S. must continue to support Israel with military and economic assistance, which is paramount to her survival. The U.S. benefits as well by supporting a strong ally with expertise in the region. Providing for the security of Israel is providing for U.S. security. As a member of Congress, I will vote for continued foreign aid to Israel and ensure that the 10-year, $30 billion agreement in principle for U.S. military and security assistance for Israel is upheld. In fact, that number may need to be increased as threats increase in the dangerous neighborhood in which Israel lives. While we all hope that the changes in governance in countries directly adjacent to Israel provide for positive and dramatic democratic and civil rights advances, we must closely monitor the situation with the hope that regimes in league with terrorist organizations do not fill the void. Already, we have seen that what was once a relatively tight and secure southern border of Israel, made possible with Egypt’s military assistance, has now become porous and allows the transport of terrorists and weaponry into Gaza. Israel uses its resources effectively, but this new southern front increases the threats to Israel’s security….

Iran

A nuclear Iran is one of the most significant threats to Israel, the Middle East, and the world. I believe that U.S. policy should be aimed at stopping Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and that we should publicly and privately call on Iran to live up to its obligations under the nonproliferation treaty. I support the Obama administration’s policies of leaving all options on the table and pushing a strong case for increased sanctions against the Iranian regime. We must not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons capability.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel Lobby, Media, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged

{ 18 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. American says:

    Is w**** the correct description of Ms. Sinema?
    I keep trying to imagine a politico taking AIPAC money and then sticking it them once in office. But naw, once they drink the koolaid of their power potty seats they are done for.

  2. US Citizen says:

    The solution is simple – when an AIPAC candidate runs just spell out for the people in that district all the money we give to Israel that could be spend here at home. People understand dollars and cents. Make AIPAC and the people who run on a pro-Israel ticket defend giving 10 millions dollars a day to a ‘vibrant democracy’ when our own are going without. Spell it out for them and shame these AIPACers. It’s long overdue. This woman has not said one original thing she is just reciting the AIPAC rhetoric. Demand that she answer why we should keep protecting Israel and not our own here at home. Shame on her.

    • Hostage says:

      The solution is simple – when an AIPAC candidate runs just spell out for the people in that district all the money we give to Israel that could be spend here at home.

      AIPAC is a 501(c)(4) organization. So it really can’t publicly endorse its own list of candidates. The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. However, a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization may engage in some political activities, so long as that is not its primary activity. However, any expenditure it makes for political activities may be subject to tax under section 527(f). For further information regarding political and lobbying activities of section 501(c) organizations, see Election Year Issues, Political Campaign and Lobbying Activities of IRC 501(c)(4), (c)(5), and (c)(6) Organizations, and Revenue Ruling 2004-6. –http://www.irs.gov/charities/nonprofits/article/0,,id=96178,00.html

      • Hostage says:

        The solution is simple – when an AIPAC candidate runs just spell out for the people in that district all the money we give to Israel that could be spend here at home.

        AIPAC is a 501(c)(4) organization. So it really can’t publicly endorse its own list of candidates, although you’d think that is the organization’s primary function. The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. However, a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization may engage in some political activities, so long as that is not its primary activity. However, any expenditure it makes for political activities may be subject to tax under section 527(f). For further information regarding political and lobbying activities of section 501(c) organizations, see Election Year Issues, Political Campaign and Lobbying Activities of IRC 501(c)(4), (c)(5), and (c)(6) Organizations, and Revenue Ruling 2004-6. –http://www.irs.gov/charities/nonprofits/article/0,,id=96178,00.html

  3. HarryLaw says:

    Is there any worse political opportunist than Sinema, by the way she visited ” the Arab Territories occupied since 1967 including Jerusalem” of which the Golan Heights is part, the United Nations Security Council in resolution 497 unanimously declared ” the Israeli decision to impose its Laws, Jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Golan Heights is null and void and without legal effect, did this craven clown know that.

  4. Once again, the incredible amounts of money that being ‘on-side’ offers is too much for principle or beliefs.

    It’s easy to imagine the internal dialogue (or possibly even the overt dialogue taking place behind closed doors):

    “I’m going to have compromise on my principles on this issue. But if I don’t the Lobby will back the opposing candidate and I’ll be outspent, as well as smeared in the media, whom the Lobby also influences mightily.

    So, in order to get most of things done that I believe in, I’m going to give myself the best chance I have of being elected, and abandon the Palestinians to their fate. It’s not nice, but then politics isn’t nice, and I wouldn’t be the first person who had to compromise and bow down in the face of he lobby to get elected.

    Does anyone have AIPAC’s phone number?”

  5. eljay says:

    It is truly sad that so many American politicians are ready, willing and able to be corrupted.

  6. German Lefty says:

    Our friendship is rooted in our mutual respect for democratic values, human rights and religious freedom.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Too bad that some people care more about power than about principles. I wonder how many other Democrats fake their support for the Zionist regime.

    In other news, some members of the German soccer team visited Auschwitz today.
    link to dailymail.co.uk
    (Sorry for linking to “The Daily Heil”, but there are a lot of pics of the visit.)

    Yesterday, Germany beat Israel 2-0 in a friendly match.
    link to fourfourtwo.com

    Then there’s a strange story involving Donald Duck and the Holocaust.
    link to spiegel.de

  7. homingpigeon says:

    What this unprincipled lady is likely to discover is that the peace and justice community will not back her because of her betrayal, and that the Zionists will also destroy her because of her past.

    But my greater concern is my friends who have some knowledge of the issues of Israel and Palestine, and are working for a more peaceful and just world. Yet when it comes time to vote, they fall into the “lesser of two evils” trap and try to imagine that one candidate will be less vicious than the other. Perhaps one candidate calls for a slower rate of increase in the size of the welfare check to Israel, or strangling Iran rather than bombing it, or calls for a halt to wreaking havoc in Afghanistan while advocating a military buildup in Africa. Or if both the old party candidates are extreme Zionists these nice voters – some of my best friends – simply ignore the issues that concern us and vote on the basis of abortion stance, or herb legalization, or tolerance of gaiety. This amounts to cooperating with the good cop in the torture chamber. It enables AIPAC. It gets Israelis and Palestinians killed.

    So the problem at hand is not so much the sharmootat and sharameet who outdo each other in their advocacy of the Likud, but the good people who vote for them in an effort to be “realistic.” The Zionist machine does not allow its voters to do this. The candidate who does not toe the line 101% is smashed.

    The least we could do is call both candidates and say, “as long as you are competing to out-Zion each other, I am voting for a third party.” In my case I vote libertarian even if they put a monkey on the ballot, but I respect people who choose Green or independent candidates.

  8. Blake says:

    Zero pride, morals or ethics.

  9. tommy says:

    I went to some AZ Alliance for Peace and Justice meetings and participated in some street corner vigils with them before the invasion of Iraq. I met Ms Sinema at those meetings. It was obvious she had ambition, appearing to be one of the informal group leaders for AAPJ in early 2003. I was surprised and saddened to find her featured on Mondoweiss for having become a sell out.

  10. Fredblogs says:

    Don’t worry, with any luck she’ll lose to the real Israel supporter.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      Or they’ll both lose to someone who puts America first and only and who doesn’t have dual (or sole) loyalty to a bunch of foreign scumbags.

      • Fredblogs says:

        Either one of them would put America first. They just realize that Israel is America’s ally, and what is good for Israel is often good for the U.S. too.

        BTW are anti-Israel candidates running?

        • Hostage says:

          Explaining his opposition to “H.R. 4133, the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012: Rep. Ron Paul told his fellow lawmakers:

          “This bill states that it is the policy of the United States to ‘reaffirm the enduring commitment of the United States to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish state,’” said the congressman. “However, according to our Constitution the policy of the United States government should be to protect the security of the United States, not to guarantee the religious, ethnic, or cultural composition of a foreign country. In fact, our own Constitution prohibits the establishment of any particular religion in the US.”

          See ‘It will lead to war’ – Ron Paul fights to end military aid for Israel link to rt.com

        • Fredblogs says:

          No, not in general. I meant in the Arizona race.

  11. Linda J says:

    AIPAC money is “…too much for principle or beliefs.” Having just attended a Democratic platform committee meeting in WA state that totally quashed a resolution to end aid to Israel in an perfunctorily unfair way, I believe you are accurate.

    So Morris Berman is right. We should get out of this place. link to morrisberman.blogspot.com