Check out this piece in the Jerusalem Post. It notes my prediction that AIPAC could suffer a “backlash” if aid to Israel is exempted from sequestration but says that the lobby is “doubling down” on achieving it.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which opened its annual policy conference on Sunday, will take to Capitol Hill Tuesday for a morning of lobbying, including a push to provide Israel with its full $3.1 billion in military aid for 2013 and 2014, as well as $211m. in additional funding for the Iron Dome missile-defense system. AIPAC will also promote legislation designating Israel a “major strategic ally,” a new alliance status that may help it keep its aid.
The lobbying agenda did not reference funding for joint missile defense programs, which the Pentagon will consider when divvying up its budget cuts. The other two lobbying agenda items will be devoted to legislation on Iran, one in the House, and one in the Senate.
It then added: “Some critics worried that attempts to exempt Israel from painful budget cuts while the rest of the US was forced to absorb them would cause a political backlash.”
It is clear from the article that Israelis are worried about that backlash, almost as much as AIPAC is untroubled by it. It is hard to believe, but it’s a fact, that AIPAC and its associated lobbying organizations are far more hard line than even the Netanyahu government. AIPAC relishes going to war with a U.S. President because it is a show of macho power and helps fundraising efforts. The Israeli government, which has skin in what AIPAC considers a game, is more cautious. (Ultimately, the Long Islanders of AIPAC are safe regardless of what happens to Israel; they can always find another hobby. Israelis can’t.)
In any case, we need to exploit the nervousness Israel seems to be feeling about AIPAC’s sequester exemption. The special treatment for Israel that AIPAC is demanding is a metaphor for the whole US-Israel relationship but even more for AIPAC’s stranglehold over US policy.
Naturally J Street is not opposed to exempting Israel as the Post article points out. It has red lines: its biggest one is never ever to seriously oppose AIPAC on anything. (Sometimes I wonder if AIPAC created J Street as a safe alternative to itself. It has turned out that way).
In any case. Let’s exploit the sequestration issue to (1) prevent AIPAC from taking money away from needy people here to give to the Israeli military and (2) to point out what AIPAC is. You fill in that blank. I’ve said it enough!
Editor: This piece appeared on MJ Rosenberg’s site today. Josh Ruebner has a related piece on the Israel lobby demanding that the country be exempt from sequestration at The Hill. Note that he refers to Israel firsters, the coinage that Rosenberg put in currency, over the lobby’s fierce opposition.
Yet, as thousands of “Israel-first” citizen lobbyists descend on Capitol Hill tomorrow as part of the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — the largest and most influential of the many groups comprising the “Israel lobby” — concern for these millions of Americans will not be on its legislative agenda. Instead, AIPAC will be lobbying to avert the impact of sequestration on record-breaking levels of U.S. military aid to Israel.