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AIPAC is suddenly getting a lot of bad press, in Jewish papers and ‘Washington Post’

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One pleasurable surprise of the AIPAC policy conference in early March — the leading Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee — was how much bad press the organization got. It’s becoming almost fashionable to criticize the lobby for its enforcement of lockstep political support for Israel in Washington, and for its Soviet-style policy on access to the press.

These criticisms are finally showing up in the mainstream press. Reporters have been licensed by the injury mere high school students have done to another powerful lobby, the National Rifle Association. So maybe AIPAC is on the same path-to-pariah status, more than a decade after Walt and Mearsheimer published their book The Israel Lobby.

Here are a few items. Notable among them is a report in the Washington Post of all places saying that AIPAC was born to rally American Jews to stand shoulder to shoulder behind Israeli “lies” about a massacre of Palestinians, back in 1953. And two angry pieces in the Jewish press decrying AIPAC’s blackout policy on coverage of its gatherings.

First off, Gershon Baskin reports in the Jerusalem Post that a Maryland insurgent Democrat, Dr. Jerome Segal, is taking on Senator Ben Cardin, who voted against the Iran deal, because he is so pro-AIPAC. Baskin paints AIPAC as the NRA.

An interesting aspect of [Jerome] Segal’s candidacy is not only that he is challenging Senator Cardin, but that he is taking on AIPAC. Cardin is a kind of AIPAC “poster boy,” not only representing what AIPAC wants, but being on the front line of acting on behalf of AIPAC in the Senate. Segal believes that he will take the votes that supported Bernie Sanders (35% of the Democratic voters) and gain many other votes because the broad flow of American Jewish opinion is toward his Jewish Peace Lobby’s ideas and away from AIPAC’s blind support of Israel….

Segal presents himself as David to Cardin and AIPAC’s Goliath. Segal’s slogan is “if we beat AIPAC in Maryland, we can beat the NRA [National Rifle Association] in America.”..

Baskin is frank about AIPAC’s power (though he says, mistakenly imho, that the NRA is more powerful (Dems run against the NRA)):

Many members of Congress are simply afraid to ever challenge AIPAC, not because AIPAC puts so much money in the campaigns of everyone it supports, but because AIPAC’s strategy is also to target candidates that it doesn’t like and put huge amounts of money into their challengers’ campaigns. The candidates that AIPAC wants out usually don’t stand a chance.

And AIPAC is vulnerable because it has become the Trump lobby.

The AIPAC show of last week does not reflect the majority view of American Jewry. I believe that most of the thousands of participants at AIPAC were in fact Trump supporters.

Peter Beinart also says AIPAC is vulnerable, in a piece at the Atlantic site saying that AIPAC faces a “struggle to avoid the fate of the NRA.” Beinart says young Dems are alienated by AIPAC’s achievement: blocking criticism of the occupation. While rightwing Republicans are alienated by its lip service to the two-state solution.

AIPAC is conducting a remarkable experiment. It’s doubling down on bipartisanship and ideological diversity even as tectonic shifts in American politics and culture make that harder and harder…

It’s fascinating to watch, and it’s likely to fail…. It will fail because the thing about Israel that young liberals admire least is its half-century long policy of denying Palestinians in the West Bank basic rights like free movement, due process, and citizenship in the country in which they live—and entrenching that denial by building settlements where Jews enjoy rights that their Palestinian neighbors are denied. [AIPAC CEO Howard] Kohr’s endorsement of the two-state solution notwithstanding, AIPAC remains the most powerful force in American politics opposing pressure on Israel to end the occupation. Thus, young liberals can only embrace AIPAC if they place their support for Israel ahead of their opposition to its occupation.

There’s more of the NRA theme at Truthdig. Maj. Danny Sjursen, a former West Point instructor, laments on the death of the antiwar Democratic liberal congressperson, and rightly sees the lobby’s role in that transformation.

I nearly spit up my food the other day. Watching on C-SPAN as Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., gleefully attended a panel at the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, I couldn’t help but wonder what has happened to the Democratic Party. The worst part is I like her, mostly. Look, I agree with Sen. Klobuchar on most domestic issues: health care, taxes and more. But she—a supposed liberal—and her mainstream Democratic colleagues are complicit in the perpetuation of America’s warfare state and neo-imperial interventionism. Sen. Klobuchar and other Democrats’ reflexive support for Israel is but a symptom of a larger disease in the party—tacit militarism.

AIPAC is a lobbying clique almost as savvy and definitely as effective as the NRA. Its meetings—well attended by mainstream Democrats and Republicans alike—serve as little more than an opportunity for Washington pols to kiss Benjamin Netanyahu’s ring and swear fealty to Israel. Most of the time, participants don’t dare utter the word “Palestinian.” That’d be untoward—Palestinians are the unacknowledged elephants in the room.

Sjursen laments Israel’s shadow over the U.S. image in the world.

The far right-wing Israeli government of Netanyahu, who is little more than a co-conspirator and enabler for America’s failed project in the Middle East, should be the last group “liberals” pander to…. For 50 years now, the Israeli military has divided, occupied and enabled the illegal settlement of sovereign Palestinian territory, keeping Arabs in limbo without citizenship or meaningful civil rights.

This is, so far as international law is concerned, a war crime. As such, unflinching American support for Israeli policy irreversibly damages the U.S. military’s reputation on the “Arab street.” I’ve seen it firsthand. In Iraq and Afghanistan, hundreds and thousands of miles away from Jerusalem, captured prisoners and hospitable families alike constantly pointed to unfettered U.S. support for Israel and the plight of Palestinians when answering that naive and ubiquitous American question: “Why do they hate us?”

Speaking of war crimes, The Washington Post published an important piece on “The dark roots” of AIPAC, by Doug Rossinow, a teacher of history at the University of Oslo. Rossinow says that AIPAC has its origins in the 1953 effort by American Jews to explain away a massacre of Palestinians.

Rossinow describes AIPAC as “a huge factor in U.S. policy” and endorses Gideon Levy’s picture of the group as a “Jewish lobby” — it “welded a united front of American Jews in support of Israel, a unity that politicians have had to respect.”

The original leader of the lobby group, I.L. “Si” Kenen, found most of his political friends among liberal Democrats, Rossinow writes. Truman had of course endorsed the Jewish state, pushed by major Zionist donors; but Eisenhower bucked Israel on several occasions, including during the famous Qibya massacre in the West Bank in 1953 — when Ariel Sharon’s troops killed “more than 60 civilians indiscriminately in retaliation for the murder of a Jewish woman and her two children in Israel.”

Back then, Israel didn’t get away with human rights violations.

The outcry was sharp and wide.

Time magazine carried a shocking account of deliberate, even casual mass murder by Israeli soldiers at Qibya — “slouching . . . smoking and joking.” The New York Times ran extensive excerpts from a U.N. commission that refuted Israeli lies about the incident.

Qibya was the genesis of AIPAC, Rossinow asserts, as Israel supporters prepared “for any future shocks coming out of Israel.”

Aware Israel’s reputation in the United States had been tarnished, American Jewish supporters of Israel scrambled to mount a damage-control effort in late 1953 and early 1954.

And Jewish solidarity was key. Stalinist orthodoxy needed to be enforced. AIPAC’s predecessor did what the lobby does today, redlines the Jewish community (and even Americans for Peace Now marches along with its mouth shut).

Even before AZCPA [AIPAC predecessor, American Zionist Council for Public Affairs] appeared, Kenen and others labored to construct a united front among American Jewish groups in support of Israel amid the Qibya controversy. AZCPA strengthened that Jewish united front, which was impressively broad. ..

It showed that there was nothing Israel might do that would jeopardize American Jewish support. Indeed, to some in the Jewish community, the more disturbing Israeli behavior was, the more Israel needed their ardent advocacy….

The perception that AIPAC represents a consensus among American Jews has always been a key to its political influence, which explains the group’s sometimes seemingly outsized opposition to Jewish dissent from its line. “America’s Pro-Israel Lobby,” born in awful knowledge, has always existed to make Israeli realities and priorities palatable to Americans.

The worse things got, the louder were the Jewish voices. Denying “awful knowledge.” Imagine, that was in the Washington Post!

More dissent. The editors of the Jewish Week, angered by AIPAC’s stiffnecked policy on the press attending the most interesting sessions at the policy conference, refused to attend the conference. From “Why We Won’t Be at the AIPAC conference.”

Lobby leaders said that speakers and panelists at the conference may feel inhibited in expressing their views if members of the press were in the room. We countered that a conference with 20,000 attendees, and dozens of sessions with many hundreds of delegates, is by nature not conducive to keeping secrets, especially in the age of instant tweets and texts. If members of the press agreed to the ground rules of attending “off the record” sessions, it would allow the media to get a sense of the important give-and-take that takes place in these informative sessions without violating journalistic or AIPAC boundaries….

AIPAC has a long history of being wary of and less than friendly toward the press. Members of the press enter the AIPAC convention through a separate entrance and must be accompanied by staff to proceed to the main area where sessions are held — and even accompanied to the rest rooms at times. Such treatment doesn’t foster trust and mutual respect. AIPAC officials say the press is overly critical in its coverage of the lobby….

The editors also say that Israel is under fire, and so “AIPAC’s mandate of promoting bipartisan support for Israel is more vital than ever.” But the press policies are hurting that goal.

The Atlanta Jewish Times chimes in, deploring AIPAC’s policy and saying it was unable to cover an AIPAC gathering in Atlanta because it was off the record.

The perfect image of AIPAC’s wrongheaded attitude emerged Sunday, March 4, the first day of the Washington conference. Outside a session titled “Free Speech and Freedom of the Press in Israel” was this sign: “THIS SESSION IS OFF THE RECORD AND CLOSED TO THE PRESS.”

Sign outside a panel on press freedom at AIPAC, foto in Atlanta Jewish Week.

…AIPAC recently held its annual Atlanta community event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Bret Stephens of The New York Times speaking. But you didn’t see any coverage in the AJT because everything AIPAC does locally is off the record.

It’s particularly aggravating when the speaker is a fellow member of the press, such as Stephens…

We suspect AIPAC just likes to maintain a sense of mystery that brings an aura of power and perhaps increases people’s desire to pay to see what’s inside.

In sum, the atmosphere is changing for AIPAC. People are more willing to criticize it in the press. A sea change in establishment attitudes is under way, I believe, though it will take a while…

Thanks to Donald Johnson, Todd Pierce, Adam Horowitz, John Whitbeck. 

 

About Philip Weiss

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

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49 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    March 16, 2018, 11:04 am

    Phil writes:

    “Baskin is frank about AIPAC’s power (though he says, mistakenly imho, that the NRA is more powerful):

    Many members of Congress are simply afraid to ever challenge AIPAC, not because AIPAC puts so much money in the campaigns of everyone it supports, but because AIPAC’s strategy is also to target candidates that it doesn’t like and put huge amounts of money into their challengers’ campaigns. The candidates that AIPAC wants out usually don’t stand a chance.

    but the quote does not mention NRA. My “take” is that all pressure groups use small gifts to the loyal, and threats of large gifts to challengers of the disloyal, to keep the troops in line. BIG-ZION (AIPAC et al.) has done that for many years. NRA probably does it. BIG-BANKS? BIG-PHARMA?

    • US Citizen
      March 17, 2018, 2:51 pm

      The solution is simple – when an AIPAC endorsed Congress person rails against anyone not pro israel just spell it out for them, wherever that congressional idiot appears/speaks ask them about all the money we give to israel that could be spent here at home. People understand dollars and cents. Make AIPAC and the people who receive money from AIPAC and are blindingly, unquestioning of apartheid Israel defend giving 11+ millions dollars a day to a ‘vibrant democracy’ when our own are going without. Spell it out for them and shame these israel firsters/AIPACers. It’s long overdue.

      It’s time for progressive politicians to put Palestinian rights on the agenda, stop being bullied by AIPAC, and get with the program, or else they are going to lose the support of the constituents they need to get elected- if not today, then tomorrow.

      • MHughes976
        March 17, 2018, 4:06 pm

        People do want a few dollars and cents for themselves, certainly, but don’t they also like to see themselves as cheerful givers to good causes, like brave little democracies surrounded by terrifying hordes? We need to win the moral argument.

      • Ellen
        March 17, 2018, 10:11 pm

        Oh, but didn’t you all just read : Americans remain Staunchly in Israel’s Corner.

        No comment to the screaming and hyperbolic Gallup headline. And do
        wonder what exactly the poll question was?

        http://news.gallup.com/poll/229199/americans-remain-staunchly-israel-corner.aspx

      • MHughes976
        March 18, 2018, 9:05 am

        Didn’t we just? Per Gallup they are beating us 64:19, per Pew 46:16. Both seem to record a major decline in neutral responses over the years, though Pew, which discourages those responses, makes it seem as if neutralism, of the ‘sympathy with both sides’ + ‘don’t know’ varieties, is still quite strong. Gallup’s overwhelming 64 becomes a less than majority 46. But it seems as if the former neutrals are coming off the fence about 2:1 against us. The Gallup commentary mentions religion as a factor, which is plausible. I guess that our gains are coming mainly in universities, ie are a result of objective thinking. Our one real advantage is that we’re right.
        The Gallup question was ‘In the ME situation are your sympathies more with the Israelis or with the Palestinians?’

  2. Maghlawatan
    March 16, 2018, 11:07 am

    It is pretty clear that Israel is not interested in peace and that Jewish Israeli society has lost touch with reality. AIPAC followed Likud blindly over the last 20 years. The time for lying is over and what is left in plain sight is pretty ugly. AIPAC is not strategic. It’s groupthinking and now is not the time for groupthinking. It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.

    Tammany Hall was just as bad and we all know what became of Tammany Hall.
    May the last Likudnik be strangled with the guts of the last AIPACer.

    • Emory Riddle
      March 16, 2018, 6:04 pm

      Anyone trying to sell the idea that the NRA is more powerful than “The Lobby” is full of baloney.

      • genesto
        March 17, 2018, 2:22 pm

        Right! The NRA only influences gun policy while AIPAC, and its lobby allies in Congress, adversely affects US foreign policy.

        That’s a BIG difference!!

    • Misterioso
      March 17, 2018, 11:46 am

      HEADS UP!!

      https://www.amazon.com/review/RL120UHRLT8BT/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv

      Must read!! An excellent and informative “Customer Review” published on Amazon, March 15/18, regarding Norman Finkelstein’s recently published book on the horrors inflicted on the Gaza Strip by the entity known as “Israel.”

      • MHughes976
        March 17, 2018, 2:40 pm

        Thanks for that reference, Mist, to Deborah Maccoby’s excellent review and summary of Finkelstein’s work. The tragic Goldstone Recantation plays a central role.

  3. Maghlawatan
    March 16, 2018, 11:13 am

    This is a systemic problem for AIPAC. There is no recovery. Israel has to retreat towards justice and can’t. Israel is not going to make it.
    Bit of uptempo music.

    • LHunter
      March 16, 2018, 2:12 pm

      • Maghlawatan
        March 16, 2018, 3:47 pm

        Israel bet everything on the settlements. Everything. Everything
        And it is going to lose the US.

  4. Citizen
    March 16, 2018, 12:39 pm

    Only CSPAN covered any of AIPAC’s most recent conference, which they did live, with no commentary or discussion. It has not popped up as a topic on Washington Journal’s call-in morning show. However not long before, CSPAN also covered live segments of the most recent anti-AIPAC panel discussion. That was also not covered by Washington Journal call-in show.

  5. pabelmont
    March 16, 2018, 12:43 pm

    The perfect image of AIPAC’s wrongheaded attitude emerged Sunday, March 4, the first day of the Washington conference. Outside a session titled “Free Speech and Freedom of the Press in Israel” was this sign: “THIS SESSION IS OFF THE RECORD AND CLOSED TO THE PRESS.”

    Perfect! (Per AIPAC closed session) Israel either has — or has not — some sort of free speech, but America should not be allowed to know what AIPAC is saying. AIPAC’s speech is not free but expensive!

    Is this part of AIPAC’s “Stalinist Orthodoxy” enforcement effort? come here, pay up, and be brain-washed, but the rest of the SUA will never know what passed here. Shhhhh!

    • Mooser
      March 16, 2018, 4:43 pm

      “Is this part of AIPAC’s “Stalinist Orthodoxy” enforcement effort?”

      “Stalinist Orthodoxy”? “Yonah” is not going to like this.

  6. ckg
    March 16, 2018, 1:46 pm

    Another example: In a recent Twitter thread on the NRA, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes wrote

    Part of the NRA’s strength for a long time was that it was truly bi-partisan and single issue. It will ultimately come to regret the turn its taken…It’s part of the broader polarization of American life, but paraphrasing Michael Jordan “Democrats buy guns, too.”…Although few and fewer households have guns over time, while more and more guns are sold, which is correlated to the the NRA’s evolution into a hard-right culture war outfit.

    A twitter user responded, “similar thing happening to Israel, seems like.” Hayes replied,

    it’s not nearly as far along the road as the NRA but trending in exactly the same direction…AIPAC conferences will, I think, sound like this very shortly.

    This was a week before the recent AIPAC conference.

    • Maghlawatan
      March 16, 2018, 3:37 pm

      The vast majority of people (except in Israel) are decent. Israelis are brainwashed. They would be decent if they weren’t brainwashed.
      AIPAC and the NRA are not decent. They are extremist and they deal in death. So the decent people move away from them.

  7. CHUCKMAN
    March 16, 2018, 3:06 pm

    Well said.

    The more this organization is brought to the general public’s attention, the healthier American politics may become.

  8. Keith
    March 16, 2018, 5:25 pm

    PHIL- “And AIPAC is vulnerable because it has become the Trump lobby.”

    Let us not make too big a deal over criticism of AIPAC which is but a part of the Zionist network of influence. Several times I have quoted and linked to an article concerning Tom Hayden and his need to declare his support for Israel to even run as a Democrat for the California state assembly. Much the same applies to the US Congress where running as a Democrat requires support for Israel as a Jewish state. Can you name even one Democratic Senator or Congressman who doesn’t support Israel as a Jewish state? Even one who does not vote for US aid to Israel regardless of Israel’s policies? Looking at it this way, the US Congress is a much more potent Israel lobby than AIPAC.

  9. Steve Grover
    March 16, 2018, 5:52 pm

    It is glaring that Phil Weiss doesn’t mention the recent pieces by Caroline Glick and other more Conservative pro-Israel commentaries that are very critical of AIPAC. Phil Weiss won’t admit that AIPAC is centrist and represents pro-Israel Americans. Those who support AIPAC like I do will only support peace plans that the vast majority of Israelis decide for themselves and on their own and will not regret for the rest of their lives without bending to external pressure. AIPAC is obviously successful because it upsets people with more conservative views and those who are J-STREET supporters and further left. But anyone who isn’t as much a leftist as Weiss is “Right Wing” in the eye of Weiss. Of course I’m speaking to a crowd that competes to out hate Israel more than the next guy, so y’all ain’t interested this bit of nuance and truth.

    • LHunter
      March 16, 2018, 8:20 pm

      Steve Groveler – you are speaking to a crowd that supports equal rights regardless of race, religion etc. Why is that leftist? Why isn’t that simply about being humane and not about left or right politics? Perhaps that is too nuanced for you to answer.

      How about this instead – zionism = racism by every definition of the word racism. AIPAC supports zionism making it a racist organization. Prove me wrong or admit the assertions are correct. If you agree with the assertions we can then discuss whether racism should be supported or defeated and why.

      Come on Groveler – why is Zionism not racism? Enlighten us – be as nuanced as you possibly can and dont be shy about giving us the truth (we can handle it).

      I’m sure Mooser, Misterioso, Eljay, Annie Robbins, Ossinev, Pablemont, RoHa, , Keith, John Douglas, MHughes976, echinococcus, Kay24, Marnie, Emory Riddle, Eva Smagacz, gamal, Kaisa, amigo, John O, Maghlawatan, genesto, inbound39, JWalters, Brewer, ritzl, Citizen, CHUCKMAN, ckg, festus, Paranam Kid, will be able to understand your nuanced messages and any other subtleties you wish to convey. Start swinging or start groveling Stevo

      • JosephA
        March 17, 2018, 1:40 am

        How dare you exclude me . . .

      • MHughes976
        March 17, 2018, 7:54 am

        I looked nervously to see if I was included – phew! You are definitely one of us, Joseph, spirit of our spirit.
        I think of racism as prejudice based on whether someone is flesh of our flesh marked by skin colour or some other result of ancestry rather than on spirit or ‘content of character’. Z to me is the belief that people who are Jewish, and they only, have an inherent right – birthright – to a share in sovereignty over Palestine, others having a share only by the grace and generosity of the true heirs. Jewish means, in effect, people who practise the Jewish religion or are sufficiently close descendants of some who did practise it and are therefore considered to be of Jewish ethnicity. There is thus a significant element of according and denying rights on the basis of ancestry. This is not justified by any reasonable argument, so must rest on prejudice, so is racism. Others may define the terms differently, of course, but I think that I’m making a valid moral point.

      • LHunter
        March 17, 2018, 9:51 am

        JosephA- never again

      • Tuyzentfloot
        March 17, 2018, 9:58 am

        I wouldn’t bother. When Mooser yelled ‘Up Yours!’ Steve only felt more alive than ever.

      • LHunter
        March 17, 2018, 11:37 am

        Tuyzentfloot – lol. How telling.

    • Misterioso
      March 17, 2018, 11:00 am

      @Steve Grover

      You live in a fantasy world. This is 2018, not 1948 or 1967. the entity known as “Israel” is rotting within and increasingly seen around the world for what it truly is, i.e., fascistic, racist, expansionist, an ongoing ethnic cleanser, an illegal/brutal occupier and a serial violator of international law.

      In its 2004 report, the U.S. Senate 9/11 Commission declared that “mastermind of the 9/11 attacks,” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’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.”

      In its analysis of terrorism, the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board of the U.S. Defense Department concluded that “Muslims do not hate our freedom,…they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority object to what they see as one-sided support in favour of Israel and against Palestinian rights….”

      “[The U.S.] no longer seems to see Israel as a ‘special’ or ‘extraordinary’ state in the Middle East, with which the U.S. must maintain a different dialogue than with other states. ‘The feeling is that the dialogue and coordination with the Arab states and with Europe is today no less important to the U.S. and perhaps more so than with Israel,’…” (Haaretz, 8 May 2009)

      I remind you of the shocking briefing given to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen by senior military officers in 2010. The team was dispatched by Commander General David Petraeus to brief the Pentagon on intelligence that Israeli intransigence in the peace process was jeopardizing American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and that America was perceived as weak, ineffectual, and unable to stand up to Israel.

      Ha’aretz, January 13, 2012:
      “‘Israel is supposed to be working with us, not against us,’” Foreign Policy quoted an [American] intelligence officer as saying. ‘If they want to shed blood, it would help a lot if it was their blood and not ours. You know, they’re supposed to be a strategic asset. Well, guess what? There are a lot of people now, important people, who just don’t think that’s true.’”

      Ha’aretz, July 28, 2012
      http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/former-u-s-officials-say-cia-considers-israel-to-be-mideast-s-biggest-spy-threat-1.454189
      “Former U.S. officials say CIA considers Israel to be Mideast’s biggest spy threat”
      EXCERPT:
      “…despite statements from U.S. politicians trumpeting the friendship, U.S. national security officials consider Israel to be, at times, a frustrating ally and a genuine counterintelligence threat.
      “In addition to what the former U.S. officials described to AP as intrusions in homes in the past decade, Israel has been implicated in U.S. criminal espionage cases and disciplinary proceedings against CIA officers and blamed in the presumed death of an important spy in Syria for the CIA during the administration of President George W. Bush.
      “The CIA considers Israel its No. 1 counterintelligence threat in the agency’s Near East Division, the group that oversees spying across the Middle East, according to current and former officials.”

      http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.763443
      “Opinion: Increasingly, Supporting Israel No Longer Serves America’s Interests”
      “Obama’s UN abstention was only the most recent manifestation of ongoing strategic changes that Trump too won’t want or be able to reverse.”
      Professor Brent Sasley, Jan 07, 2017, Haaretz.

      In short, Israel is a big piece of “doo doo” on America’s shoe that must be scraped off. America’s leaders will inevitably have no option other than to heed the sage advice of their country’s founding father. In his Farewell Address, George Washington admonished his fellow citizens to steer clear of a “passionate attachment” to another nation, as it could create “the illusion of a common interest…where no common interest exists.”

      As went France and Algeria, Britain and Rhodesia, Belgium and the Congo, so will America and Israel.

      • MHughes976
        March 17, 2018, 1:43 pm

        However the position of Israel within the Western political class seems all but intact. Some cracks on the surface, as someone has said – not much more. Israel is very well entrenched in the world order, as Netanyahu’s recent visit to India showed. The support of idealistic young people in America is not as important as it was, I think.

    • Mooser
      March 17, 2018, 12:00 pm

      ” without bending to external pressure”

      “Steve Grover”, not even the United States can protect ‘Israel’ from the consequences of the failing Zionist project.

      • LHunter
        March 17, 2018, 12:58 pm

        Dare i say it – Perhaps not even God

  10. LHunter
    March 16, 2018, 7:29 pm

    Phil I do think you are right that AIPACs image in the MSM these days is less than wonderful. Likely the result of what seems to be a growing concern with getting money out of politics.

  11. Rob Roy
    March 17, 2018, 12:06 am

    Glad to hear AIPAC is getting a bit tainted in the press. May it continue and grow.
    This sentence bothers me, however, “It’s becoming almost fashionable to criticize the lobby for its enforcement of lockstep political support for Israel in Washington, and for its Soviet-style policy on access to the press.” “Soviet-style”? There’s more freedom of the press in Russia than here. I suggest you read Natylie Baldwin’s article in consortiumnews today. I knew it before I read the article. Putin/Russia is not “Soviet” any more.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 17, 2018, 1:34 am

      Putin/Russia is not “Soviet” any more.

      i don’t think he meant russia. i think he meant soviet-style. in lock-step, under strict control.

    • Mooser
      March 17, 2018, 12:38 pm

      ” Putin/Russia is not “Soviet” any more.”

      No, it’s not “Soviet” any more. So, what would you call the system adopted in Russia after the fall of the Soviets?

      • John O
        March 17, 2018, 5:12 pm

        Sadly, pretty much the same system as in the US – oligarchy.

  12. JosephA
    March 17, 2018, 1:43 am

    This bad press for AIPAC is a hairline fracture, however with time it will worsen and crack, eventually shattering the stranglehold pro-Israel voices have in the USA (USA! USA!)

  13. Paranam Kid
    March 17, 2018, 4:50 am

    The louder they scream, the more money they spend to shore up their position, and the more restrictive they become, the clearer the writing on the wall becomes. Israel is a Zionist project, a futile, racist attempt by a handful (compared to the Arabs) of European Jews who infested the area and only had the bible to claim ownership of Palestine. All the efforts being made by Israel & its surrogates around the world, which nothing that any other country in the world has to undertake, confirms that the country lacks legitimacy, its UN membership & diplomatic ties notwithstanding.

    Israel has feverishly tried to keep a numerical majority inside Israel proper by all sorts of acrobatics, but to no avail. There are probably something like 1 million Israeli Jewish expats living in the US alone, and more elsewhere. Many Israeli Jews are disgusted by the society, so the numbers game is a losing game.
    http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Why-more-Israelis-are-moving-to-the-US-501301
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/why-jews-flee-to-europe-or-at-least-half-of-it/article15446274/
    https://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/jews-from-the-cis-prefer-germany-to-the-jewish-state-1.8798

    The numbers game will definitely be lost when Israel annexes the Stolen Territories because it will then incorporate some 5 million more Palestinians, even if the country chooses to remain an Apartheid state.

    The Zionist project will fail, and Israel’s polity as it exists today will have to be dismantled to be replaced by an all inclusive one. So all of Palestine may be called Israel, but it won’t be the home for the Jews only. History will have gone full circle. What irony :-)

    I rejoice now whenever I read/hear of ever more racist & restrictive measures being imposed by the Ziofascist state because it means it is getting ever closer, ever faster to the edge of the cliff that the Ziofascist elements will blindly push the country over. Timing? Don’t know: 25 years?

    • Misterioso
      March 17, 2018, 11:05 am

      @Panama Kid

      Well said!! It’s only a matter of time. The entity known as “Israel” serves no positive purpose for America whatsoever. It’s a millstone around our neck, a geopolitical liability that must and will be set adrift.

  14. James Canning
    March 17, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Aipac has worked continuously to encourage Israel in its endless occupation of the West Bank, and fostered ever more oppression of the Palestinians. Whether this was in the true best interests of Israel is open to question.

  15. Elizabeth Block
    March 17, 2018, 10:43 pm

    That sign is priceless – the one in the photo, announcing that the session on Free Speech and Freedom of the Press in Israel is OFF THE RECORD AND CLOSED TO THE PRESS.

    It is matched, perhaps, by an incident David Berlin reports in “The Moral Lives of Israelis.” He accompanied Alexa McDonough, who was at the time the leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, on a trip to Israel. The soldiers they talked to didn’t realize he spoke Hebrew (and could tell the difference between what they said to each other and what they said, in English, to the visiting Canadians), until he told them, in Hebrew, that they were full of crap.
    The next day Alexa McDonough got a call from the foreign ministry. She had a meeting scheduled with Supreme Court Justice Barak, but she was told that David Berlin was not welcome.
    “Let me make sure I understand,” she said. “We are scheduled to meet with Justice Barak to discuss freedom of speech, and you are telling me that Mr Berlin is not welcome because he spoke his mind yesterday?” No answer. “Cancel that meeting.”

  16. yourstruly
    March 18, 2018, 9:42 pm

    Dr Jerome M Segal, the Baltimore cardiologist who is challenging Israel loyalist Senator Ben Cardin in Maryland’s June 26 primary elections is president of the Jewish Peace Lobby. From the material on the the JPL’s website I gather that it’s a Zionist organization that supports a two state solution (indeed, it has developed its own 2 state plan*) with shared control of Jerusalem.

    Assuming Segal and Cardin won’t differ much on domestic issues, seems to me that Dr Segal’s chances for winning the democratic nomination could very well depend upon how forcefully he separates himself from Sen. Cardin on Israel/Palestine. Don’t know if he’s up to it but if only he calls for the US govt. to end its special relationship with Israel, that might just do it for him – even though in doing so he would be loudly denounced by AIPAC and the Democratic establishment.

    I’m also assuming here that America’s unconditional support for Israel is one of those issues that has the potential to infuriate and activate a public whose mood now is demonstrably anti-status quo. Timing, after all, may not be everything but it surely counts for a lot.

    *available on its website

    • Annie Robbins
      March 19, 2018, 12:25 am

      yourstruly, there’s an embed to segal’s senate campaign website under his name in phil’s article (above).

      https://www.segalforsenate.org/

      1. Cardin is a vehicle of AIPAC, the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee, only second to the NRA in its influence over Congress. AIPAC carries the agenda of Bibi Netanyahu, for Israel and, unfortunately, too often for the United States as well. Twenty-nine years ago, I founded the Jewish Peace Lobby (www.Jewishpeacelobby.org) as an alternative vision of what it means to be pro-Israeli. This campaign is the first time we, or anyone, has challenged AIPAC electorally, and challenged their tight grip on Congressional action on all things directly or indirectly related to Israel.

      2. AIPAC/Cardin defends and shelters the aggressive settlement activity of the current Israeli government. This is destroying the possibility of the two-state solution, and thus, necessitates an Israeli choice between being a Jewish state or being a democracy. It is clear that democracy is losing in that contest. This is a heart breaking tragedy, and must be fought with all we have got.

      3. Secondly, Cardin, again aligned with AIPAC, joined with all 54 Republican Senators in opposing the Iran Nuclear agreement negotiated by the Obama Administration. President Obama told us that the choice was either between the nuclear deal or the use of force against Iran. Bibi wanted an American attack. John Kerry confirmed this publicly a month ago. In effect, Ben Cardin voted for war against Iran. Anything he says to the contrary is BS.

      4. Cardin, in his blank-check support of any Israeli government policy introduced legislation that would felonize (up to 20 years in jail) any American who joined and supported a boycott of the Israeli settlements, if that boycott was called by the United Nations or any of our European allies. The ACLU has condemned this as un-Constitutional, as has my excellent Congressman, Jamie Raskin, formerly a Professor of Constitutional Law.

      Further, I join the Congressional Black Caucus in calling on Israel to halt the deportation of African refugees seeking asylum in Israel. Of course, Israel has to have control of its borders, but as a country that calls itself the Nation State of the Jewish People, Israel must be true to our people’s historical experience. We must remember Exodus 22:21 “And a stranger shalt thou not wrong, neither shalt thou oppress him; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

      DOMESTIC POLICY

      I am running against Cardin from the left. My campaign banner is Bread and Roses, the banner carried by women textile workers in their historic strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1912.

      Bread basically means A Decent Society, one in which basic human needs are met, even for the poor. Roughly speaking this is Bernie Sanders. I support the goals of Bernie’s agenda, and most of his policy positions. If elected, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Jerome Segal will form a solid tripod, to which I will add my strengths and benefit from theirs.

      (more at the link)

      • yourstruly
        March 19, 2018, 1:29 am

        Annie, I checked out Segal’s website. His 2 state proposal is for a democratic Jewish state and a Palestinian state. Better and simpler if he just called for ending the special relationship. Gonna suggest this to him.

  17. Jett Rucker
    March 20, 2018, 9:57 pm

    “Reporters have been licensed …?”

    I’ve been using (and reading) English for over 70 years at this point, and I can’t quite make sense of this statement. Could anyone elucidate this usage of the verb (licensed) so as to imply censure, as the context would appear to imply?

    A typo? Incensed? I seek precision in these discussions, as Orwell once enjoined us to do.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 20, 2018, 10:41 pm

      jett, my hunch is that he’s speaking metaphorically. and instead of to “imply censure”, i read it to imply “a license to criticize” AIPAC. as if they’ve not been licensed (authorized or given permission) in the past. to phrase it another way would be: because of the injury mere high school students have done to another powerful lobby, the National Rifle Association, reporters are now licensed to criticize AIPAC (maybe on the same path-to-pariah status….).

  18. John D
    March 20, 2018, 10:06 pm

    AIPAC may say they believe in and support a two-state solution but – truly – they don’t.
    They are just playing the same dishonest and morally bankrupt game as Israel.
    They are both liars.

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