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NPR covers AIPAC

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This morning NPR’s David Welna reports, Pro-Israel Lobby Finds Longtime Supporters Defect On Syria , on AIPAC’s influence in Congress during this rare instance the lobby is fighting an uphill battle over the proposed U.S. attack on Syria. Here’s a clip:

 AIPAC’s lobbyists swarmed Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell — the third biggest beneficiary in Congress of pro-Israel contributions — went to the Senate floor to announce that the resolution the Foreign Relations panel approved last week authorizing military action against Syria did not pass muster. “So I will be voting against this resolution. A vital national security risk is clearly not at play,” McConnell said, adding, “there are just too many unanswered questions about our long-term strategy in Syria.”McConnell is up for re-election next year in his home state of Kentucky. Longtime Kentucky political analyst Al Cross isn’t surprised by McConnell’s decision to break ranks on this issue with pro-Israel contributors. “He’s a party leader who wants to remain party leader, and his party is clearly, the majority of his party is against this,” says Cross, “and he faces an opponent in the primary who’s against it.”

Number two Senate Republican John Cornyn, who’s also seeking re-election next year, has also come out against the Syria resolution.

University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer, who co-authored a book on the pro-Israel lobby’s influence in Congress, says AIPAC has limited clout on Syria. “It almost always gets its way on issues like the Israel-Palestine conflict, on foreign aid to Israel, and on protecting Israel in the United Nations,” he says. “But when it comes to pushing the United States to use military force against another country because it’s seen as being in Israel’s interest, the lobby does not always get its way.”

…….. American University’s Thurber says there’s a good reason why that resolution was pulled yesterday from the Senate floor. “It looks like they’re not going to get the votes,” says Thurber, “and so it is something, at least on this issue, that’s rare, that you have all those people together, and rare that it looks like they may lose.”

And that would also be a rare outcome for AIPAC’s lobbyists.

Is it a sunrise for the nightflower?

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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26 Responses

  1. ritzl on September 12, 2013, 11:41 pm

    Another macro-political dot connected (the mere mention). The interview connected some of the political micro-dots (politicians involved; npi) as well, without dwelling on them.

    Brief but to the point.

    Morning Edition claims 26M listeners, weekly. Who knows what that translates into daily, or for this specific piece, but it may be a sizable, drive-time audience. Certainly millions. Of liberals/base/upper-middle class, donating (money and time) “people-that-matter.”

    Thanks Annie. Hopeful.

    I sure would like to be a fly on the wall of the editorial meetings on this piece. It’d be great to know what holds them back and/or if they will follow up on this. Still, even if it’s a one-off, it has traction given current events.

  2. seafoid on September 13, 2013, 1:21 am

    It’s the 20th anniversary of the Oslo accords. Israel won but can it keep deceiving the world indefininitely ? The lobby keeps the settler construction machine moving. And the lobby been exposed.

  3. Krauss on September 13, 2013, 3:50 am

    For some reason, NPR’s coverage on the Middle East is more aligned with Fox News than with the New York Times. (Could it be because their Middle Eastern editor is a committed Zionist who schmoozes with Lieberman when he’s in NYC?)

    This political story is a rare exception – and only published after politico, NYT and many other outlets did.

    Just shows when even NPR has to be dragged doing the story, dragged by all other media outlets, it’s seriously becomming mainstream.
    Hopefully this will become a routine whenever AIPAC is pushing something which is bad for America but good for Israel(read: most of the times).

    The reporting before a war with Iran will need these stories, too.

    • Hostage on September 13, 2013, 11:03 am

      I can’t help pointing out that John Mearsheimer has the same nuanced position on the power of the Lobby as Chomsky.

      • American on September 13, 2013, 12:09 pm

        @ Hostage

        I think Mearsheimer position’s on the Lobby “was deliberately and cleverly nuanced” for the purposes of making their book immune from accusations of Anti Semitism—-iow, no one could see or prove in what they wrote any ‘anti semitic motives’ in it—-except the Lobby and the usual suspects—which they knew would attack them regardless.
        I read and re read the book several times and I think what they did was an excellent job of ‘throwing a bomb’….but…..’defusing it’ just enough that it wasnt a mushroom cloud kind of explosion that groups like Neo Nazis could tout as a Jewish conspiracy .

      • seafoid on September 13, 2013, 12:56 pm

        “I can’t help but share in Stephen Walt’s self-satisfaction over Tony Blair’s testimony to the Chilcot Inquiry, in which he recognized that Israeli officials were consulted about the decision to invade Iraq and were a major part of the run-up to the war:

        In his testimony to the Iraq war commission in the U.K., former Prime Minister Tony Blair offered the following account of his discussions with Bush in Crawford, Texas in April 2002. Blair reveals that concerns about Israel were part of the equation and that Israel officials were involved in those discussions.

        Take it away, Tony:

        As I recall that discussion, it was less to do with specifics about what we were going to do on Iraq or, indeed, the Middle East, because the Israel issue was a big, big issue at the time. I think, in fact, I remember, actually, there may have been conversations that we had even with Israelis, the two of us, whilst we were there. So that was a major part of all this.””

        @ American

        When you have 300 AIPAC lobbyists working Congress to get the US to bomb Syria how do you draw the line between conspiracy and democracy ?

      • American on September 13, 2013, 2:03 pm

        @ American

        When you have 300 AIPAC lobbyists working Congress to get the US to bomb Syria how do you draw the line between conspiracy and democracy ?

        It goes back to this:

        ”All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.
        However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
        Washington’s Farewell Address 1796

        Since AIPA’s agenda is increasingly less ‘secret” it is not exactly the zionist ‘conspiracy’ it use to be. ..the original conspiracy acheived what it wanted to acheive for the most part..infiltrating the US government and US media influence organs. Now that it has made, or thinks it has made both the public and the politicans consider and treat Israel as important as the US interest or even more so, they dont feel the need to hide their agenda as much. iow, they think they have convinced our nation that we owe them for the holocaust and that we must support them forever because of that and that Israel is ‘like the US and that it is ‘an ally.
        Time will tell if this propaganda and these fallicies hold forever or not.

        Democracies are easily corruptible by those who turn a nation’s own democratic tools against it. That is what US ethnic foreign lobbies do—you will hear them claim they have a ‘democratic right as US citizens to lobby the government”–that they are no different than the NRA or any other US lobby.
        What they are actually doing is “perverting’ democratic rights to service their foreign interest/loyalties.
        Just as Washington above, and our other founders who were intimately familiar with the ‘crisscrossing intrigues of the countries’ of old Europe, warned us against.
        It is now so ‘established’ in US governing and politics that what it would require to stop it is new laws on ‘subversion’, even expanding the legal definition treason to reflect the current realities of today and this practice.
        But now that these lobbies “have already’ so thoroughly corrupted the lawmakers that would be needed to enact new laws there’s little chance they would do it.
        Some national ‘crisis’ cause by these lobbies, or one of them, that could laid right on their doorstep, will probably have to occur to ever cut this cancer out.

        Then again, the American public could wake up to the even bigger picture on whats really going on and what and who is behind things like Syra and Iran any day now……you never know.

  4. seafoid on September 13, 2013, 8:21 am

    The money shot from that NPR link

    ” And Capitol Hill was blanketed this week by some 300 lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.”

    I wonder how many AIPAC sent to get the war in Iraq on .

  5. ramzijaber on September 13, 2013, 9:46 am

    I wonder what impact, if any, will this have on how US citizens see AIPAC?

    • annie on September 13, 2013, 2:36 pm

      ramzi, hopefully more people will become aware of the lobby. lots of people have never heard of aipac. but more importantly, lobby or no, more people are becoming alarmed with our country’s ‘close’ relationship with israel.

      when i think about it, i have no awareness growing up as a child in america we had this ‘special friend’ whom we protected above all else. i don’t see how that could be the case anymore. it’s been repeated so often by the press and by our politicians, from an early age our children are being indoctrinated into accepting this relationship. and if we do not do anything about it, they won’t know any better. certainly it’s how the world perceives us now.

      we have to break the permanency of this bond that’s dragging us down, it’s a burdensome relationship, it’s not normal, unhealthy and dangerous for our national security and welfare.

      • ramzijaber on September 13, 2013, 6:00 pm

        I agree Annie. aipac is relatively a new phenomenon. It really started to emerge during the Nixon administration and kept low profile until recently. They are getting cocky. I hope this Syria thing will, not only expose them and educate the American people, but will also bring their demise.

  6. Obsidian on September 13, 2013, 11:11 am

    US citizens are more concerned with putting food on the table and enjoying their time on this earth than they are with AIPAC.
    Newsflash. There is life outside of the echo chamber.

    If US citizens had been paying attention, they would have seen AIPAC answering Obama’s call to help him win votes in Congress for his Syria position.

    • seafoid on September 13, 2013, 12:26 pm

      Yeah Obsidian

      Americans don’t care. That’s why Israel spends tens of millions on hasbara making sure they don’t find out about anything.

      All abuse is the same. Deeply shameful. Perpetrators know it’s wrong so they cover it up. Israel is no different.

    • annie on September 13, 2013, 2:28 pm

      US citizens are more concerned with putting food on the table and enjoying their time on this earth than they are with AIPAC.

      yeah, it’s such a non issue. that’s why some posters are spending their Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people, here on these threads discussing the israel lobby.

      • marc b. on September 13, 2013, 2:37 pm

        annie, has o’bagy’s firing been covered here yet? been out of the loop for a bit.

      • annie on September 13, 2013, 2:46 pm

        only in the comments marc. i wish i knew more about it, some additional gossip. i actually googled her a bit and could find little about her past. i wonder how the kagan’s found her to begin with. did she knock on their door and apply for a job? what sparked her to work for the state department, or drew the state department to her? and how could know one know in a place like dc she didn’t have a doctorate from georgetown? that seems almost unfathomable. she’s been the mouthpiece on syria for kagan’s group. why her?

        and where did she come from? it’s a mystery to me.

        [edit: just saw this wag the dog video about o’bagy ]

      • marc b. on September 13, 2013, 3:03 pm

        haven’t seen the comments yet. antiwar has a piece, essentially questioning her bona fides (or ISW’s ‘failure’ to catch her fake PhD) but also questioning whether she actually had the first hand experience with the rebels that she claimed. that allegation is based on the content of her comments regarding her ‘in-country’ experiences, as well as kagan’s non-answers about the sources of funding for those trips. (hopefully this is another nail in kagan’s coffin. metaphorically speaking. as if her Iraq cheerleading weren’t enough.)

      • annie on September 13, 2013, 3:26 pm

        thanks, yeah i just finished reading it.

        from the first time i heard of her (moa, b linked to her report) i posited she was too young to have written it and figured she was a front for kagan &co who probably penned it. i linked to the report in my subsequent syria post, because at the time even they were admitting the extremists had the upper hand and it was all laid out as the perfect framing for getting a ‘moderate’ team on board. but that’s all they had, a plan. it was a nice one step two step arrangement, designed to lead the reader thru a future plan. the problem, as i saw it, was making the plan come to fruition. and after nusra joined AQ, and that big announcement . it was a goner.

        anyway, it was kagan’s front. non jew, young, cute, an unrealistic rebel expert/package.

      • marc b. on September 13, 2013, 3:32 pm

        yes. moderates. a Turkish prosecutor is charging a Syrian ‘moderate’ with buying sarin precursors in Turkey and attempting to smuggle them into Syria.

        The indictment, which included transcripts of several phone conversations between the suspects involved, said that a 35-year-old Syrian citizen, identified as Hytham Qassap, established a connection with a network in Turkey in order to procure chemical materials for the al-Nusra Front and jihadist Ahrar al-Sham Brigades.

        The indictment rejected the legitimacy of the suspects’ claim that they were unaware the chemicals they tried to obtain could be used to produce sarin gas.

        “The suspects have pleaded not guilty saying that they had not been aware the materials they had tried to obtain could have been used to make sarin gas. Suspects have been consistently providing conflicting and incoherent facts on this matter,” the indictment said.

        wacky Syrian moderates.

      • annie on September 13, 2013, 3:43 pm

        ok, here’s something interesting. i knew i had written about her before and couldn’t find anything in a search of my archives here so i turned to my email. i had a conversation w/phil by email around the time i was writing the syria post. so i did a search for ‘kagan’ sure enough. here’s the link

        Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.

        “My sense is that there are no seculars,” said Elizabeth O’Bagy, of the Institute for the Study of War, who has made numerous trips to Syria in recent months to interview rebel commanders.

        that was the official acknowledgment in april. and now they are claiming it’s only 15% extremists? PLEASE!!!!

      • marc b. on September 13, 2013, 3:58 pm

        so i did a search for ‘kagan’ sure enough.

        and that’s the issue, really. not some ambitious young thing itching to get close to power. what did Kagan – and Kerry and McCain – know about their ‘expert’ before she got tossed to the curb?

      • Ellen on September 13, 2013, 10:11 pm

        The Daily Caller is all over the O’Bagy fraud and the complicity (yet again) of The New York Times in information fraud — which in turn was used by Kerry and McCain to push their war.!/entry/wall-street-journal-sat-on-knowledge-of-obagys-link-to,52328b13da27f5d9d01f1328

        Where did she come from? D.C. is crawling with people
        like her — who feel worthy and important around power — and are ready to work as operatives for anything. Anything at all.

      • lysias on September 13, 2013, 10:26 pm

        What’s with the O’Bagy name? It’s a name that’s totally unfamiliar to this Irish-American.

      • annie on September 13, 2013, 11:07 pm

        i did a history search on the name/US census. there are a few (not many tho) in the US. some in pennsylvania. some from hungary of all places.

    • piotr on September 14, 2013, 6:32 am

      “US citizens are more concerned with putting food on the table and enjoying their time on this earth than they are with AIPAC.
      Newsflash. There is life outside of the echo chamber.”

      Double newsflash. Congress will not hang out with AIPAC if AIPAC sucks. (Not true, usually, but sometimes AIPAC sucks really, really badly. For those of you who spend time with heads under the rocks, google “double newsflash sucks” to find the deleted words.)

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