AIPAC on an island: ‘Politico’ report says Israel lobby alone in pushing for war in Syria

US Politics
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Screenshot of the AIPAC.org homepage, September 6, 2013.

Screenshot of the AIPAC.org homepage, September 6, 2013.

AIPAC is planning to go “all out” to push for a U.S. attack on Syria, but according to reports in Politico it appears they will be doing it alone. Rep. Alan Grayson, who has been leading the charge against authorizing an attack, estimates that constituents calls are “100-to-1” against the resolution, but the Israel lobby group plans on sending 250 lobbyists to the hill next week to push for military intervention (with their eye on Iran):

The powerful pro-Israel lobby AIPAC is planning to launch a major lobbying campaign to push wayward lawmakers to back the resolution authorizing U.S. strikes against Syria, sources said Thursday.

Officials say that some 250 Jewish leaders and AIPAC activists will storm the halls on Capitol Hill beginning next week to persuade lawmakers that Congress must adopt the resolution or risk emboldening Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear weapon. They are expected to lobby virtually every member of Congress, arguing that “barbarism” by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated, and that failing to act would “send a message” to Tehran that the U.S. won’t stand up to hostile countries’ efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, according to a source with the group.

“History tells us that ambiguity [in U.S. actions] invites aggression,” said the AIPAC source who asked not to be named. The source added the group will now be engaged in a “major mobilization” over the issue.

But who else will be joining them? A separate report from Politico says that most of the groups that were set up in the wake of 9/11 to promote the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are sitting this one out, or have disappeared all together. The only groups actively mobilizing to pressure Congress in support of an attack seem to be the lobby:

It remains to be seen if any other center-left groups will come out in support of Obama’s request for action in Syria. The liberal groups organized around the Iraq and Afghanistan wars would be unlikely to abandon their anti-war politics at Obama’s demand. Several of those outfits, such as the veteran-led VoteVets.org and the grassroots group MoveOn, announced their opposition to striking Syria on Wednesday.

The hawkish groups that existed back in 2008 were overwhelmingly on the right. As much as an attack on Assad’s Syria might be in line with the larger goals of foreign policy hawks, it’s not as if Obama has even partially embraced the broader agenda of 2008-vintage groups such as Freedom’s Watch . . .

As of mid-week, that left several major Jewish political organizations – including the Republican Jewish Coalition, the National Jewish Democratic Council and AIPAC – in what several strategists described as a lonely and uncomfortable position of endorsing military action against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad without much help from other advocacy-group allies.

 

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