Everyone’s kicking AIPAC now that it’s down

US Politics
on 65 Comments

Here’s a media trend just about everyone can applaud. Mainstream outlets are publishing stories about the defeat of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, on the Iran Deal. The pieces are likely to cut AIPAC’s power even more.

National Public Radio did the story last week. So did Bloomberg News. You’ve rarely seen such frank descriptions of AIPAC’s power as offered in the Bloomberg piece. The very first paragraph cites Illinois Senator Dick Durbin’s dis to AIPAC in order to support the Iran deal:

Richard Durbin… owes his political career to Aipac. In 1982, Aipac members supported Durbin, then an obscure college professor, against Paul Findley’s campaign for reelection to the House as retribution for Findley’s outspoken advocacy on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization

Paul Findley has many times told this story; I’ve rarely seen it picked up by the mainstream media.

In The New Yorker, Bernard Avishai relates another AIPAC legend, the time it knocked off Illinois Senator Charles Percy.

Ever since AIPAC managed to coördinate the defeat of Republican Senator Charles Percy, in 1984 (Percy was then the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and had argued that Jewish settlements preëmpt Palestinian rights), AIPAC has been able to present itself as a powerhouse, flush with money, focussed on Congress, and with strong claims on both Republican hawks and evangelicals and the Democratic center. Tom Dine and Steven Grossman, AIPAC leaders in the eighties and nineties, were Democratic operatives; Grossman went on to become the chairman of the Democratic National Committee under Bill Clinton. President Obama courted AIPAC’s support in 2008, assuring attendees of its yearly conference that Jerusalem would be “undivided.”

Avishai says that AIPAC miscalculated badly, that Democrats were going to oppose Obama. And he suggests that AIPAC and Senator Chuck Schumer coordinated their opposition to the deal, and that as a result Schumer has been hurt.

Schumer’s opposition to the Iran deal was supposed to signal that AIPAC remained influential among Democratic principals and fund-raisers, and that the man who chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from 2005 to 2009, and is now the favorite to lead Senate Democrats when Harry Reid retires, could still fend off challenges to Israeli policy

The reason the media can run these pieces is that AIPAC’s power is now in eclipse. It is no longer the bully-tyrant giant that could deliver a vote overnight on Capitol Hill. The Israel issue has become politicized at last; and AIPAC finds itself walled off within the Republican Party, with the result something AIPAC has always worked against: broad daylight between the Israeli government and the White House.

It’s kind of sad that the New Yorker finally runs an attack on Schumer for calling himself the “Shomer” of Israel (or Guardian of Israel in Hebrew), but he’s been saying as much for years. As it is, Avishai says that sort of self-definition has been killed off in the Jewish community and U.S. politics: “the extraordinary identity Schumer was claiming—to be a ‘guardian of Israel,’ without apparent fear of being at odds with American foreign policy or the Democratic Party… may be the greater loss.”

Avishai’s raised eyebrow is a reminder: When Zionists say angrily that the anti-semitic charge of dual loyalty was leveled against Deal opponents, it’s because of such direct appeals to American Jews to support Israel over the U.S. president (including from Netanyahu, Natan Sharansky, and Michael Oren). American Jews overwhelmingly rejected those appeals.

The liberal Zionist group J Street is the white knight of the NPR piece and the New Yorker piece; but as the head of J Street makes clear in NPR’s story, he doesn’t want aid to Israel politicized. Jeremy Ben-Ami is all for more aid to Israel.

At least the Bloomberg piece touches on the broader coalition that helped the White House in its hour of need.

The pro-deal lobbyists were more vocal and much more explicit in turning this into a loyalty-to-Obama issue. While the White House didn’t make threats directly, a litany of groups did. Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, two Democrats who oppose the deal, were featured on a truck-mounted billboard in New York City sponsored by MoveOn.org calling them “Most Likely to Start a War.” A pro-deal group known as Credo-Action derided Schumer as “warmonger Chuck” and called for blocking his path to becoming the party’s leader in the Senate upon the retirement of Harry Reid.

In yet another sign of AIPAC’s vulnerability, the Hill has a piece by a longtime AIPAC member, Steve Sheffey, attacking the organization’s Republican drift. Sheffey says the partisanship is undermining Israel and that AIPAC should have found a creative way to throw Netanyahu under the bus.

The flaws in the deal could have been addressed through constructive legislation, without needlessly dividing the community and playing into the hands of Republicans willing to turn Israel into a partisan issue for short-term political gain. Instead, AIPAC alienated the president, alienated members of Congress, and for what?…

AIPAC needs to find a way to distinguish between Israel the nation and Israel’s current leadership and to support the U.S.-Israel relationship based on principles that transcend any particular government.

Yes, this is emotional. It’s hard to watch an organization you’ve enthusiastically supported for 30 years be so wrong on such an important issue and not know whether it is an aberration or the continuation of a trend you’d like to deny.

Finally, not the mainstream media, but part of the trend. The Institute for Research Middle East Policy has filed a request with the Justice Department to regulate AIPAC as a foreign agent.

According to Grant F. Smith, director of IRmep, the case for reregulating AIPAC as a foreign agent immediately is compelling.  “AIPAC was designed to supplant the American Zionist Council  as the arm of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the United States after the DOJ ordered the AZC to register as a foreign agent.  As such, Americans should have full public access to biannual FARA registrations detailing AIPAC’s publicity campaigns, lobbying expenditures, funding flows,  activities of its offices in Israel and internal consultations with its foreign principals – particularly over such controversial issues as illegal settlements and US foreign aid.”

Thanks to Annie Robbins.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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65 Responses

  1. CigarGod
    September 22, 2015, 10:22 am

    The link to the – request – is very interesting.
    I suggest everyone read it.

    • Krauss
      September 22, 2015, 10:29 am

      Interesting but also unspectacular.

      When J Street gets named and shamed – for they are no different in nature than AIPAC, but they are better at PR – then I’ll get interested.

      J Street doesn’t want Palestinians in their debates. Ben-Ami is all about endless support for the Jewish Apartheid state. And they’re lobbying Congress, too. AIPAC is an easy and soft target at this stage.

      • CigarGod
        September 22, 2015, 11:28 am

        I hate to see you dismiss the complaint, Krauss. It illustrates well how human’s work together behind the scene’s to get what they want. Their deviousness. How they attempt to hide their actions. How lax enforcement followup is.

        Human’s…in this case Jews, Zionists, dual citizens, etc.
        I can’t reason past my fear that history will repeat itself. Mobs don’t reason. They just need to be pointed in a direction and given their head.

        I just don’t know how you expose this crap and build enough energy to correct things…without it getting away from you. History tells us that we always think we can control our projects and experiments…

      • MHughes976
        September 22, 2015, 12:02 pm

        I would forgive JVP for everything if they would do what LibZionists are supposed to do and press the United States to give full, resolute backing to some definite form of 2ss. That might just possibly bring about the elusive peace. At least the world would see a lot more about where everyone really stands. But if the hard core of liberalism – or proclaimed liberalism – within Zionism remains silent and immobile on this matter it will win the international hypocrisy award many times over. That too in the end might make things clearer,

      • JWalters
        September 22, 2015, 6:33 pm

        “AIPAC needs to find a way to … support the U.S.-Israel relationship based on principles that transcend any particular government.” Steve Sheffey

        What would those principles be? That Jews have a Biblical right to terrorize Muslims and drive them from their homes and lands? And a right to better PR?

    • Chu
      September 22, 2015, 12:03 pm

      Also this is good reading:

      Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) ignores seven (7)
      Foreign Agent Registration Act orders – 1938-1960

      http://www.irmep.org/ila/ZOA/DOJ-149-1603-ZOA/default.asp

    • irmep
      September 22, 2015, 3:28 pm

      Eric Holder would not agree to meet about the AIPAC registration issue and kept sending complaints back to the FARA chief.

      In June, IRmep requested the new AG look into the complaint:

      http://irmep.org/cfp/06042015_Lynch_AIPAC.pdf

      • just
        September 22, 2015, 6:46 pm

        Thank you for continuing to pursue this important issue, IRmep.

        (It’s shameful and criminal that they’ve gotten away with this for so long.)

      • ckg
        September 23, 2015, 9:49 am

        Grant–Thanks for your hard work.

        Now that Holder is gone, this may be an opportunity to renew your complaint with the DoJ that charges that the 501(c)(3) American Israel Education Foundation is a “sham” charitable organization of AIPAC.

  2. Krauss
    September 22, 2015, 10:27 am

    I gotta give it to you, Phil. You’ve been calling for these events for years, much earlier than anyone else would have dared to make such bold predictions. I thought AIPAC was much stronger a few years ago but I remember you writing, no, they’re not. And that we’ll see an argument within the democratic party over Israel(correct) and that the monolithic nature of the lobby would also collapse(again, correct).

    I’m slightly peeved, however, that someone who was much earlier with this and wrote far more clearly about it than any other mainstream journalist still can’t get to publish in the MSM. Meanwhile we’re forced to witness B-grade journos like Avishai, who has no guts on this issue and who only attacks AIPAC when it is the safe thing to do, to take the victory lap instead of you.

    • Kay24
      September 22, 2015, 1:01 pm

      I agree with you. It is almost as if the truth stays hidden, and the BS keeps the population misinformed and totally ignorant. This attempt by Israel to use it’s lobbies to sabotage American policies has backfired, but I see the WH making attempt to soothe, even bribe the culprits In Israel, indicating they want to go back to that sickening relationship, which is hazardous for American well being.

      • inbound39
        September 23, 2015, 9:51 am

        American integrity and global status has already been eroded markedly by the so called ‘Special Relationship’. American tourists globally are at risk due to it because as long as America keeps supplying Israel with weapons and ammunition that Israel uses to commit war crimes against Palestinians like Cast Lead and Protective Edge then many in the global community view America as complicit in the crimes. Americans need to pressure the Government to get honest about what it is doing and get back on track again and remember what America always stood for. The American Government has been hijacked by Israel and is being dragged nose first through the mud. If I was an American I would feel betrayed and humiliated. Americans deserve better than a relationship with an Israeli Government that is mimicking its former persecutors more and more by the hour. Al Aqsa and Israels actions to take it over is the most dangerous thing Israel has ever done or is doing. America needs to force Israel to stand aside and let the Palestinian State come into being. If Israel pursues its current course there will not be much left of Israel.

      • Kay24
        September 25, 2015, 7:14 am

        There will be less hatred against the US, if it takes a stand again Israel, help the Palestinians get their long deserved freedom, and if we finally show neutrality in this issue.

  3. Philip Weiss
    September 22, 2015, 11:11 am

    Of course everyone cares about credit, but I think Avishai actually disdained AIPAC going back, and New Yorker’s Remnick semi-privately did.
    The ultimate question is, When Zionism crumbles in the U.S., and the New Yorker is questioning that ideology, will people say, Ali Abunimah said this years ago! Tony Judt! And I think they won’t give that credit, partly b/c there is such bad blood now between Zs and anti-Zs.
    When Peter Beinart becomes an anti-Zionist he will have an explanation of why the earlier arguments against Zionism didn’t convince him. He’ll ignore us. And really, in the end, who cares?

    • pabelmont
      September 22, 2015, 11:30 am

      Phil, I keep trying to imagine the argument (or explanation) the USA will give if and when it ever PRONOUNCES that the settlements are illegal, that the settlers must be removed or get out, that the settlements must be dismantled (and the wall also dismantled) (dismantlement being, as I recall, part of the remedy for the illegal wall set forth in the 2005 ICJ advisory opinion on the illegalities of the wall)

      How could the USA explain the years of complicity? “The USA believed that pressure on the Palestinians would bring peace. It did not because Israel did not want peace. Therefore, we now look to pressure upon Israel to bring about legality of the occupation — although after so many years, it may be argued that the occupation, ad not only the settlement project, is illegal per se as an illicit land-grab.”

      President Obama — have I put words in your mouth? Hope so, because neither Clinton nor Sanders nor any Republican seems likely to say these things, unless Trump or Paul ?! But Trump, for one, loves government subsidies to people who don’t need them, so little hope there I suppose.

      • lysias
        September 22, 2015, 2:40 pm

        If the World Court (aka International Court of Justice aka ICJ) were to declare the settlements illegal, couldn’t the U.S. government use such a decision as an excuse for changing its policy?

      • mijj
        September 24, 2015, 6:40 am

        > “Phil, I keep trying to imagine the argument (or explanation) the USA will give if and when it ever PRONOUNCES that the settlements are illegal ..”

        not really a problem (.. if i may butt in ..), the US merely has to state the reality: it is struggling to rectify irrational actions and influences perpetrated while suffering from a mental illness.

    • hophmi
      September 22, 2015, 2:31 pm

      “When Zionism crumbles in the U.S., and the New Yorker is questioning that ideology, will people say, Ali Abunimah said this years ago! Tony Judt! And I think they won’t give that credit, partly b/c there is such bad blood now between Zs and anti-Zs.”

      When Zionism crumbles? How is it going to crumble, exactly? Forget about the fact that most American supporters of Israel are Christians. The part of the Jewish community that supports Israel most strongly, the Orthodox community, is the part that is growing. So I’m not seeing this crumbling. It’s not really even happening amongst Democrats; Democrats may question Israel’s policy on settlements, but if you think that they’ll endorse the one-state solution you want in any real numbers, you’re fooling yourself. No one is going to sign on to the make-Jews-stateless program that you advocate.

      • eljay
        September 22, 2015, 2:48 pm

        || hophmi: … When Zionism crumbles? … I’m not seeing this crumbling. … ||

        It’s a shame that so many hateful and immoral people exist who support Jewish supremacism in/and a supremacist “Jewish State”.

        || … No one is going to sign on to the make-Jews-stateless program that you advocate. ||

        What lovely drama-queen hyperbole! :-)

        Not only have I never seen anyone advocate a “make-Jews-stateless” program (perhaps you could link to a direct quote?), but the absence of a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” does not render Jewish citizens of countries around the world stateless.

      • Kris
        September 22, 2015, 4:54 pm

        Hophmi, one reason that Zionism is crumbling is that the taboo around critising Israel is breaking down, and the discussion is increasingly embarrassing to non-Israeli Jews.

        The usual anti-discussion-of-Israel cards–Holocaust, antisemitism–have lost much of their power, and the “delegitimization” card was a non-starter in the first place.

      • Mooser
        September 22, 2015, 9:57 pm

        “The part of the Jewish community that supports Israel most strongly, the Orthodox community, is the part that is growing”

        ROTFLMSRJAO!! Why, it’s on it’s way to reach, what, Hophmi, maybe 300,000 people at most?

      • diasp0ra
        September 23, 2015, 7:00 am

        ” No one is going to sign on to the make-Jews-stateless program that you advocate.”

        It’s very interesting and very telling that you consider a free society where everyone is equal in all of Palestine “making Jews stateless”.

        It’s either supremacy or nothing, eh?

    • JWalters
      September 22, 2015, 6:52 pm

      When freedom arrives this will all be a rich area for research. There will be many books by professional historians about all these people. They will give talks on C-SPAN’s History and Book channels. Today’s suppression of facts and discussion will be thoroughly documented, the early heroes will be rightfully lauded, and the traitors to humanity accurately disgraced.

    • Krauss
      September 23, 2015, 2:31 am

      The ultimate question is, When Zionism crumbles in the U.S., and the New Yorker is questioning that ideology, will people say, Ali Abunimah said this years ago! Tony Judt! And I think they won’t give that credit, partly b/c there is such bad blood now between Zs and anti-Zs.
      When Peter Beinart becomes an anti-Zionist he will have an explanation of why the earlier arguments against Zionism didn’t convince him. He’ll ignore us. And really, in the end, who cares?

      I care. I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that Mondoweiss is widely read on I/P, something we’re now seeing MSM journos admitting. So this site does have a large impact, probably much more so than its traffic would suggest.

      And you’re right. The establishment journos won’t give credit where credit is due. But my generation, those of us in our 20s, we will. Nobody in our midst is going to say: Beinart or Avishai or whoever did a tremendous journalistic job. We won’t say so because we know better. We’ll mention you, Abunimah, Judt, Blumenthal and yes Mearsheimer/Walt, too.

  4. lysias
    September 22, 2015, 11:20 am

    CNN: Chuck Schumer’s approval drops in New York, poll finds:

    Chuck Schumer, one of the few Senate Democrats to oppose the Iran nuclear deal, has fallen to his lowest approval rating in a decade in New York, according to a new poll.

    New York state voters approve of the job the Democrat is doing in the Senate 54% to 32%, the lowest his approval has been since May 2000, when it was at 52% to 18%, according to the Quinnipiac University poll out Tuesday morning.

    • hophmi
      September 22, 2015, 2:33 pm

      Wow, he’s only +22 now. Yeah, I think he’ll take that. I’d take that if after making the most controversial decision of my time in the Senate, I still was the overwhelming favorite.

      • JLewisDickerson
        September 22, 2015, 7:50 pm

        Generally, if an elected official has less than a 50% approval rating he or she is considered “vulnerable”.

  5. lysias
    September 22, 2015, 11:27 am

    A couple of weeks ago, the New Yorker ran a powerful piece by Ruth Margalit that described how awful the lives of Palestinians, even those who are Israeli citizens, are under Israeli rule. An Exile in the Corn Belt: Israel’s funniest Palestinian writer decamps to the Midwest.

  6. John Douglas
    September 22, 2015, 11:40 am

    A major event in holding the Democratic line for the Iran deal was Obama’s statement to the effect that he would not be carrying out his duty as President of the US had he acceded to the demands of Netanyahu. This was a brilliant move that highlighted the conflict between what served US interests and the position of Likud. Message: What applied to Obama applied as well to Democratic senators. The statement was a clear challenge to Democrats, a threat perhaps, that dual loyalty is a real political issue, one that could do greater harm to careers than Aipac was capable of.

    • CigarGod
      September 22, 2015, 11:55 am

      Yep…and such a high moral challenge that none have picked it up and held it as high as Obama.

      • JWalters
        September 22, 2015, 6:59 pm

        I hope Obama eventually writes a book on the details of his navigating these treacherous waters. The international peace agreement with Iran was a brilliant political victory against the powerful war profiteers and their relentless incitement of religious conflict.

  7. Chu
    September 22, 2015, 12:08 pm

    The liberal Zionist group J Street is the white knight of the NPR piece and the New Yorker piece; but as the head of J Street makes clear in NPR’s story, he doesn’t want aid to Israel politicized. Jeremy Ben-Ami is all for more aid to Israel.

    I’m not sure AIPAC is losing power – my guess is that they’ll use their controlled opposition, J Street, to play along for a few more years. AIPAC will/can probably decentralize and operate in smaller echo chambers and think tanks.
    No one in the presidential debates have muttered any criticism of Israel. If we start to see true opposition to Israel policy in the next presidential debates, I will believe that AIPAC is headed for the dustbin. Sure this is hopeful news, but a ways away from any significant change.

    • hophmi
      September 22, 2015, 2:28 pm

      J Street is AIPAC’s “controlled opposition”?

      • eGuard
        September 22, 2015, 5:54 pm

        Yes it is.

    • mijj
      September 24, 2015, 6:50 am

      > “I will believe that AIPAC is headed for the dustbin”

      after the Iraq war propaganda campaign was plainly exposed as fraud and the consequences clearly disastrous, the NeoCons (or is it NeoLibs?) were headed for the dustbin .. but they bounced back with a vengence.

      These malevolent organisms tend to mutate and reinfect the system by whatever channels allow the possibility.

  8. rensanceman
    September 22, 2015, 12:27 pm

    IRMEP headed by Grant Smith is an effective organization, under-appreciated I believe in using legal tools instead of rhetoric to bring Israel to account for its many transgressions of international law and it’s ongoing extraction of U.S. wealth and prestige for its own aggrandizement. He was instrumental in bringing attention to the theft of nuclear material at the Mossad run NUMEC plant in Pennsylvania in the ’50’s used to build Israel’s first nuclear weapons. IRMEP has also hosted two important seminars dealing with our relationship with Israel and the AIPAC. Kudos to Grant Smith.

  9. Kathleen
    September 22, 2015, 1:05 pm

    Followed former Congressman Paul Findlay’s work and group Council for the National Interest for years. He would be a great interview here at Mondoweiss. Not sure if he is still alive. Last time I heard him speak in D.C. still very coherent and sharp.

    Let’s hope that Senator Dick Durbin’s vote against the 2002 Iraq war resolution and his support for the Iran deal squeezes Schumer the warmonger out of position.

    So great that some of these outlets are shining the light on Aipac’s continued degradation.

    So great that Grant Smith is moving forward with pushing for Aipac being required to register under FARA.

    Thanks for this piece

  10. hophmi
    September 22, 2015, 1:09 pm

    It’s like you either don’t know history, or you do know it and you don’t care how silly you sound. When AIPAC loses a battle, there is always a followup like this. And it will end (really, it already has) once there is something else to talk about.

    “The reason the media can run these pieces is that AIPAC’s power is now in eclipse. It is no longer the bully-tyrant giant that could deliver a vote overnight on Capitol Hill. The Israel issue has become politicized at last; and AIPAC finds itself walled off within the Republican Party, with the result something AIPAC has always worked against: broad daylight between the Israeli government and the White House.”

    No, AIPAC never could deliver a vote overnight on Capitol Hill unless the issue was something Congress already agreed with beforehand. Do you really think that tomorrow, if they wanted to, AIPAC couldn’t get every member to vote on a resolution affirming Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state? Or one that called for Iran to stop supporting terrorism?

    “The Israel issue has become politicized at last”

    We’ll see. It’s more politicized than it was, that much is true. But there’s really very little evidence right now that much has changed other than on this issue. There are a lot of hurt feelings. Fortunately, AIPAC didn’t start yesterday, and I suspect that on the fundamentals, they’ll be able to patch things up. And there’s the other problem. There’s no alternative to supporting Israel. People are not going to turn around and support the Palestinians. There’s nothing to be gained from it, and there are nowhere near enough progressives who care enough about the issue to base their vote on it or to primary candidates who support Israel’s right to exist. The anti-Israel movement is still largely a radical movement.

    There is daylight with the White House on one issue, not every issue. And it’s far from the first time that’s happened. There was daylight between AIPAC and the White House in 1991. There was daylight during the Clinton Administration. There was daylight toward the end of the Bush II Administration. There was daylight between Reagan and AIPAC on AIPAC. There was plenty of daylight between AIPAC and Carter.

    You can’t really make a decent argument that there’s this tremendous daylight when all anybody is talking about right now is how big a package Israel is going to get.

    “The liberal Zionist group J Street is the white knight of the NPR piece and the New Yorker piece; but as the head of J Street makes clear in NPR’s story, he doesn’t want aid to Israel politicized. Jeremy Ben-Ami is all for more aid to Israel.”

    That’s no surprise. J Street is an amalgamation of several smaller dovish pro-Israel groups. That’s really all it is.

    “The Institute for Research Middle East Policy has filed a request with the Justice Department to regulate AIPAC as a foreign agent.”

    Big yawn. Not the first, and will not be successful. The day that happens, NIAC will be next, followed by every organization in the BDS movement, especially since all of them claim to be acting at the direction of the Palestinians, and have never argued, as AIPAC does, that the policies they favor are best for America, as opposed to being best for the Palestinians. Much stronger case there than for registering AIPAC.

    Believe it or not, organizations are allowed to argue that strong support for Israel is in the American national interest without having to register under FARA, and if you understood FARA, you’d not only stop raising this always completely nonsensical argument, but realize that the organizations on your size of the fence are far more susceptible to it than AIPAC is.

    • Misterioso
      September 22, 2015, 3:25 pm

      hophmi

      You live in a fantasy world. The “special relationship” between Israel and the US is deteriorating and will continue to do so, faster and faster. No surprise, given the fact that Israel is America’s number one geopolitical liability, an increasingly heavy millstone around its neck, a useless “ally,” and a major cause of justifiable worldwide animosity towards us and not just from Muslims and Arabs.

      As history attests, all great powers eventually act in their own best interests and America will be no exception. Israel is excess baggage. The handwriting is on the wall. Regrettably, Israel and its supporters refuse to read it.

    • Mooser
      September 22, 2015, 9:51 pm

      Shorter Hophmi: ‘If Israel isn’t supported in every intransigence and illegality, occupation, murder, and theft, it’ll fall to pieces and it’ll be your fault!

  11. JLewisDickerson
    September 22, 2015, 2:50 pm

    RE: that nauseating photo of Chuck Schumer

    MY COMMENT: I think Schumer would look smashing with a monocle, à la Fritz Lang! Or perhaps with a pince-nez, à la Anton Chekhov.

    P.S. William Butler Yeats in Pince Nez
    Come on Chuck, hire a decent image consultant and strike a real pose! ! !

    • eljay
      September 22, 2015, 3:10 pm

      || JLewisDickerson: … I think Schumer would look smashing with a monocle … Or perhaps with a pince-nez … ||

      Elton John glasses

      8-D

      • JLewisDickerson
        September 22, 2015, 5:22 pm

        LOL! I don’t think you would make a very good image consultant for U.S. politicians.
        But on second thought, I can easily see the GOPers wearing glasses adorned with replicas of aborted fetuses!

        P.S. Rick Perry sports new specshttp://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Rick-Perry-sports-new-specs-and-shades-of-gray-4927115.php
        Nice try, Rick! R.I.P.

      • eljay
        September 22, 2015, 7:22 pm

        || JLewisDickerson: LOL! I don’t think you would make a very good image consultant for U.S. politicians. … ||

        Yeah, well, to paraphrase Zaphod: They’re so unhip it’s a wonder their bums don’t fall off! ;-)

        || … But on second thought, I can easily see the GOPers wearing glasses adorned with replicas of aborted fetuses! … ||

        Aborted fetuses over one eye; “I♡Jewish State” over the other.

  12. yonah fredman
    September 22, 2015, 3:06 pm

    Aipac, since the time of Golda Meir, has primarily been a backer of whichever government is in power in Israel. Since the election of Begin in 77, the right wing has dominated Israel and as a result the only historical instances of Aipac truly resisting the Israeli prime minister were experienced by Rabin and Barak. (It is easy for one party to hand over the government to the opposing party in Israel, whereas the persons leading Aipac remained the same as those who had just the year before supported the harder line policies of Shamir and Netanyahu and these persons generally agreed with the harder positions of the right wing prime ministers, for that was the gist of pro Israel policy for most of the time and the American bureaucracy of this organization reflected the dominant Israeli political stance, rather than the temporary changes of a Rabin or a Barak.)

    Netanyahu has taken Aipac down the path to its current weakened state. For whom does Netanyahu exert his personality? For three: for Netanyahu, for Israel and for the Republican party. His concept of being for Israel is of the Shamir mode, to hand things over as he received them. Unfortunately his other priorities being for himself and for the Republicans really are not in the favor of Israel. And thus the current state of Aipac.

    Also: Gaza. Gaza has weakened Israel, meaning the withdrawal and the two wars against Gaza and constant siege of Gaza has created a gap between Israeli perception and American perception. Israel views its wars against Gaza as necessities and America perceives these wars as gratuitous. This too weakens Israel in the world and this too weakens Aipac.

    • amigo
      September 22, 2015, 4:10 pm

      “for that was the gist of pro Israel policy for most of the time and the American bureaucracy of this organization reflected the dominant Israeli political stance, rather than the temporary changes of a Rabin or a Barak.” YF

      Are you seriously suggesting that Rabin or Barak were different from the rest of Israel,s leaders.They were both just as much facilitators of the zionist oppression and land theft and illegal settlement expansion as those you refer to as hardliners.No light between them.

      ” Also: Gaza. Gaza has weakened Israel, meaning the withdrawal .”Yonah fredman

      What withdrawal are you referring to.

    • JLewisDickerson
      September 22, 2015, 5:49 pm

      RE: “Aipac, since the time of Golda Meir, has primarily been a backer of whichever government is in power in Israel.” ~ yonah fredman

      FROM BELOW: “Mr. Bloomfield (who spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC) is quoting sources in AIPAC that remember how the organization coordinated its policy in the nineties with (then) opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, in an effort to stop the peace process . . .”

      SEE: “AIPAC, a voice for the Israeli Right (updated)”, by Noam Sheizaf, 972mag.com, 10/15/10

      [EXCERPTS] . . . However, a closer look at the political dynamic shows that AIPAC and groups like The Israel Project and Stand With Us do play a growing role in those so-called “internal” issues [internal to Israel], as the anecdote cited above might suggest.
      A battle is now raging in Israel, between those wishing to change the political status quo – especially, but not only, on the Palestinian issue – and those wishing to keep things as they are. Netanyahu is clearly a status quo man. He didn’t express one original thought on the Palestinian issue before the elections, and it was only under tremendous US pressure that he was ready to declare limited support in the idea of a de-militarized Palestinian state.
      In the last year and a half, and due to political developments in Israel and outside it, Netanyahu feels cornered – and it is AIPAC that has come to his aid (much to the disappointment of many Israelis). By supporting Netanyahu abroad, AIPAC actually does take sides in the internal Israeli debate. It helps maintain the status quo.
      It’s important to understand that AIPAC’s influence is really felt only when it comes to supporting the Israeli Right. Let’s assume Israel elects a Left-wing Prime Minister that signs a peace deal. This imaginary Prime Minister won’t need the help of AIPAC on the Hill
      (because even a Republican Congress won’t object to an Israeli-Palestinian agreement), but he will face intense opposition – both at home and from the elements in the Jewish community in the US. I do not think, though, that pro-Israeli groups such as AIPAC, TIP or Stand with US will engage in an intense effort to promote the peace deal and to fight the opposition in the American community.
      In other words, in the current political context, only the Israeli hawks, the settlers and the extreme-right benefit form the work of AIPAC and the rest of the so-called pro-Israeli organizations. Left wing and centrists leaders don’t need their help.
      This dynamic is well understood with the Israeli peace camp, which often feels frustration and anger over the actions of AIPAC. Only in the US can AIPAC pretend to represent “all Israelis” (and let’s not forget that twenty percent of Israelis are Arabs). In recent months, AIPAC fought against the American demand to extend the partial moratorium on construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. In other words, in the most controversial issue in Israeli politics in the past few decades, AIPAC has taken the side of the “greater Israel”. No elaborate rationalization can change this simple fact. . .
      . . . If I had one piece of advice for my Jewish friends in America who truly wish the best for both Israelis and Palestinians, it would be to prevent AIPAC – and similar organizations – form claiming to speak in their name. The truth is they are speaking for the political interests of Lieberman and Netanyahu.

      UPDATE: After publishing this post, a colleague sent me this link to an article published last year by Douglas M. Bloomfield, who spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC. Mr. Bloomfield is quoting sources in AIPAC that remember how the organization coordinated its policy in the nineties with (then) opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, in an effort to stop the peace process:

      One of the topics AIPAC won’t want discussed, say these sources, is how closely it coordinated with Benjamin Netanyahu in the 1990s, when he led the Israeli Likud opposition and later when he was prime minister, to impede the Oslo peace process being pressed by President Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. That could not only validate AIPAC’s critics, who accuse it of being a branch of the Likud, but also lead to an investigation of violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. “What they don’t want out is that even though they publicly sounded like they were supporting the Oslo process, they were working all the time to undermine it,” said a well-informed source. “After Rabin came in in 1992 and said he wanted to make peace and signed the Oslo accords, and the U.S. was supposed to pay the tab, every restriction on all political and financial dealings [by the Palestinians] came out of our office,” said the insider. “We took full advantage of every lapse by [Yasser] Arafat and the Palestinians to put on more restrictions and limit relations,” the source added.

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://972mag.com/aipac-a-voice-for-the-israeli-right/3690/

    • Mooser
      September 22, 2015, 10:04 pm

      “Israel views its wars against Gaza as necessities….”

      I’m glad “Yonah” is here to explain this strange, primitive and barbaric culture to us. So they view what they did to Gaza as “wars”? And they view these wars as “necessities”?
      And of course, the world should appreciate and accommodate these views? Maybe even praise them as our due?

  13. Misterioso
    September 22, 2015, 3:10 pm

    To quote one of our greatest comedians: “How sweet it is.”

    Hopefully, JStreet, aka, AIPAC LIGHT, will soon be next.

  14. Kathleen
    September 22, 2015, 4:20 pm

    Human rights and social justice activist Art Gish and I used to often talk about that as more and more people have become aware of the crimes that Israel has and continues to commit against Palestinians nothing yet has changed for the Palestinians.

    In fact Art thought the situation was becoming worse since his first winters in Hebron etc in the early 80’s.

  15. Les
    September 22, 2015, 5:07 pm

    These Johnny-come-lately critics of AIPAC remind us that the term, ” zionist intellectual,” is an oxymoron.

    • Kathleen
      September 22, 2015, 11:58 pm

      I still stand on better late than never. even though they take more of a stand when it is much safer to do so…the piling on is good.

  16. eGuard
    September 22, 2015, 5:57 pm

    Given the number of panic responses here by hasabaristas Jonah and hohpmi, the topic is hot in tel aviv. Good work, MW.

  17. gingershot
    September 22, 2015, 10:23 pm

    ‘US Department of Justice Asked to Regulate AIPAC as a Foreign Agent of the Israeli Government’

    I wonder if it would be of use to Grant Smith to at this time also bring forward/remind the US Dept of Justice of the case of former Rep Jane Harman conspiring with Haim Saban to derail the federal espionage case against former AIPAC President Steve Rosen and VP Keith Weissman for passing classified documents to Israel. (Larry Franklin went to prison over his involvement) The FBI said Harman had commited a ‘completed crime’ by her agreeing to waddle over and try to derail the case – which is what happened

    This is a US representative conspiring with a known and wiretapped agent of Israel (Haim Saban, Hillary’s current largest financier) to derail a federal criminal case of Israeli espionage against the US in exchange for Saban’s help placing her as chair of the House Intelligence committee – which if this isn’t treason I don’t know what is

    It is critical as part of taking down the Israeli Lobby in the US that AIPAC is first forced to register as an agent of a foreign government, then the case against Rosen and Weissman brought forward again for criminal penalties, as well as prosecution of Jane Harman for her ‘completed crime’

  18. yourstruly
    September 23, 2015, 12:34 am

    On account of its blatant Israel-firstness AIPAC et al are suffering a loss of credibility. Deservedly so, considering their role in much of the violence and turmoil that afflict the Middle East., But what this take-down of AIPAC means vis-a-vis the attainment of justice for Palestine depends upon how effectively those of us in this struggle take advantage of the space that the decline of Israel-firsters affords us. Space in the marketplace of information, that is, with which we can reach the public re: the righteousness of the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom and independence. Simply put, as AIPAC et al go down, we go up.

  19. RobertHenryEller
    September 23, 2015, 9:21 am

    I suspect that AIPAC would like the world to believe that they are not as powerful as they likely remain. Please recall how AIPAC and like-minded and like-directed groups and individuals protested when Professors Mearsheimer and Walt presented their formal argument for the power of the U.S. Israel lobby in 2006.

    I would not be surprised to learn that AIPAC itself urged mainstream media outlets to publish articles projecting the image of a weak, or weaker, AIPAC.

    I certainly do hope that the U.S. Israel lobby is weakening, or at least (thinking even more wishfully, I admit) that it would advocate in the real long term interests of Israel, i.e., that Israel cease its apartheid occupation policies, and reach a real peace with Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank as well as within Israel itself, and make real peace, not cynical enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend deals, with its Middle East neighbors.

    • inbound39
      September 23, 2015, 10:27 am

      AIPAC cannot sink soon enough for America. It has caused damage far greater than people in America may realise. It will take America decades to live down what they have allowed to happen in Palestine. It is de javu in one sense……the World stood idly by and watched immobile while Germany invaded Poland and committed attrocities on the Polish people. What Israel aided by America is doing in Palestine is no different. History repeating itself when the World said it would never allow it to happen again.

  20. amigo
    September 23, 2015, 11:18 am

    A.I.P.A.C. = Apartheid Israel Political Aid Committee.

    They should be put down and kept down.

  21. inbound39
    September 24, 2015, 6:06 am

    King Abdullah of Jordan has severed telephone communications with Netanyahu over Al Aqsa Mosque so it is clear to everyone that Jordan is not coordinating its response to Al Aqsa events with Israel. The UN speeches this session are going to be interesting.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.677279

  22. inbound39
    September 24, 2015, 7:21 am

    Fuller more comprehensive article here…..it’s got serious.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4703612,00.html

  23. Lemak
    September 25, 2015, 7:09 pm

    I’d like to thank Mondoweiss for its many good contribution and as a regular reader of your articles, I’d like to add a blunt opinion about a term you’ve often used in some of your articles covering the “zionists” and “Israel”

    “liberal zionists” …. now, explain what this means exactly? Knowing full well what the zionist ideology stands for, it is hard to imagine how any added words will ever make it acceptable.

    If your use of “liberal” has the intent to make it sound softer and better, you are wrong. If you persist in thinking it is still appropriate then i think you’re insulting your reader’s intelligence.

    Unless we’re told openly that “liberal nazism” is fashionable again – I do hope that day never sees the day – I do not wish to read your repeated attempts to soften the image of what is basically a very sick ideology that has produced a sick society as acknowledged by their own president, to be anything but what it really is.

    Thank you.

    • echinococcus
      September 25, 2015, 9:22 pm

      Thank you, Lemak, for putting your finger right where it hurts.
      You aren’t alone and we have to insist.

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