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AIPAC’s 2-state lip-service: conference featured university in settlement

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
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AIPAC's 2014 policy conference showcased Ariel University. (Photo: AFP)

AIPAC’s 2014 policy conference showcased Ariel University. (Photo: AFP)

The annual policy conference for the premier Israel lobby group earlier this month featured lip-service to the two-state solution, an indication of how a once-taboo idea has become the dominant model for ending the Israel/Palestine conflict. “We have worked for the day when a Jewish state of Israel is living in peace and security with a non-militarized Palestinian state,” said Bob Cohen, the president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), in his remarks to the conference.

But the showcasing of Ariel University at AIPAC’s big event exposes how the lobby group does little more than voice rhetorical support for a two-state solution.  In reality, AIPAC, by making any criticism of the state over its settlement policy anathema, has played a key role in allowing Israel to consolidate its control over the West Bank.  Ariel University’s featured status at the AIPAC village is a telling example of how the lobby group has no interest in a viable two-state solution–and is bent on legitimizing the most damaging illegal settlements.

Earlier this month, the Tazpit Press Service, an Israeli communications company, reported on how Ariel University‘s Research and Development Department attended the conference to show off its research.  According to Friends of Ariel–a U.S. non-profit that supports the mega-West Bank settlement–it was the first time AIPAC had invited the school to their confab.  Ariel University–recognized as an official Israeli university in 2012–is located in the settlement of Ariel, which juts deep into the West Bank and blocks the territory’s contiguity. The official conferral of university status was a first for any school located in a settlement, and sparked a controversy in Israel, with 165 academics pledging to boycott Ariel University.

But AIPAC sees no problem with the school, despite the group’s on the record commitment to a two-state solution.  The lobby group did not return a request for comment.

“We thank AIPAC for their hospitality,” Ariel University Professor Avrahami said in a statement, “and for enabling Ariel University to share the latest innovations developed by its students.”

Those innovations were “projects for water preservation and purification.”  Ariel University sure has the credentials to talk about water.  The settlement its located in–built on Palestinian land–sits on top of a huge water basin. 80 percent of its water goes to Israelis, while 20 percent goes to Palestinians.

Ma'ale Adumim's swimming pool on a hot day in the West Bank, 2012, photo by Scott Roth

Ma’ale Adumim’s swimming pool on a hot day in the West Bank, 2012, photo by Scott Roth

The support for Ariel University is just one example pointing to AIPAC’s support for a Greater Israel.  In 2012, The Daily Beast‘s Peter Beinart reported on how “AIPAC isn’t as hostile to the one-state agenda as it first appears”–though AIPAC’s “one-state agenda” is recipe for permanent apartheid. He cited the group’s support for total Israeli control of Jerusalem.

The icing on AIPAC’s one-state cake came during a meeting to endorse the group’s 2012 “action principles,” which made no mention of a Palestinian state.  As Beinart reported then, the liberal Zionist group Ameinu, which is a member of the National Council that approves those principles, offered up an amendment to declare that AIPAC is opposed to settlement outposts–those minority of settlements that are illegal under Israeli law, set up by wildcat settlers. But even that mild amendment was voted down.

Alex Kane
About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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10 Responses

  1. Pixel
    March 21, 2014, 5:35 pm

    Thanks for all you do, Alex.

    I love your work and, because they are so close to my heart, I particularly appreciate your coverage of young people and university-related stories. Your excitement and enthusiasm for positive change are contagious.

  2. Citizen
    March 21, 2014, 7:08 pm

    Dick and Jane have no clue, so let’s keep giving Jewish Israelis Palestinian nice water for their swimming pools while Palestinians drink poisonous water. Status quo. Chelsea Clinton loves it, just like Scarlett Johansson. Liz Warren? Her goy self knows how Wall St rips of Dick and Jane, but is our of her office when it comes to Israel.

  3. DICKERSON3870
    March 21, 2014, 7:18 pm

    RE: “But the showcasing of Ariel University at AIPAC’s big event exposes how the lobby group does little more than voice rhetorical support for a two-state solution.” ~ Kane

    MY COMMENT: In other words, AIPAC is a “two-state faker”!*

    * SEE – “Flotilla 3.0: Redeeming Obama’s Palestine Speech with Gaza’s Ark”, By Robert Naiman,, 3/25/13

    [EXCERPTS] There’s a half-empty way and a half-full way of looking at President Barack Obama’s Jerusalem speech about the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
    The half-empty way of looking at it is: This was Obama’s white flag of surrender.
    To everyone around the world who for decades has been assuming that at the end of the day, the president of the United States would lead the way to resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, Obama was saying: Don’t look at me. Just because the United States is the principal military, diplomatic and economic protector of the Israeli government, doesn’t mean that I, as the president of the United States, will do anything about the military occupation of millions of Palestinian human beings. Bibi doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; Bibi’s government doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; AIPAC doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; and Congress – which defers to AIPAC – doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state. Of course, many of them mouth the words – not Bibi’s government, they don’t even do that – but those who mouth the words oppose any practical measure that would help bring an independent Palestinian state into existence. They’re “two state fakers.” Settlement freeze? Impossible. UN membership for Palestine? Can’t be done. No, according to the two state fakers, the only option on the menu in the restaurant for the Palestinians is to return to negotiations without a settlement freeze, negotiations that for 20 years have brought more land confiscation, more settlements, more restrictions on Palestinian movement and commerce, more oppression. And so, Obama was saying, my hands are tied. Don’t look at me.
    The half-full way of looking at it is this: It was a great speech. If you “price in,” as the markets say, acceptance that the US government isn’t going to lead on this, it was a great motivational speech. President Obama made a very compelling case that someone else should do something. . .


  4. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    March 21, 2014, 7:45 pm

    “Israel lobby group earlier this month featured lip-service to the two-state solution, an indication of how a once-taboo idea has become the dominant model for ending the Israel/Palestine conflict.”

    I remember those thrilling days of yesteryear: “We will never allow a Palestinian state, they’ll just use it as a launching pad against us!” “We will never talk to the PLO!” “FATAH is evil, eeeeevilll!” And then, suddenly it all passed away, like a fart on a windy morning.

    “Never” just isn’t as long as it used to be.

  5. bilal a
    bilal a
    March 21, 2014, 10:43 pm

    Many progressives are hoping for a Jewish president:

    Why Hillary Clinton Should Fear Bernie Sanders


    Sanders is the darling of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee and the right-wing Likud government of Israel. He has done everything within his power to keep the myth of Islamic terrorism alive. He never questions the U.S. government’s unconditional support of Israeli acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians. It is as though these are nonevents.

    • puppies
      March 21, 2014, 11:16 pm

      @bilal a – To all Mondoweiss purposes, you can’t call Zionists “progressive”. At another venue, perhaps, but most people here won’t follow you there.

  6. DaBakr
    March 22, 2014, 1:00 pm

    The job of the lobby is to promote relations between the State of Israel and the USA. It is not to make judgements as to wether there is a right, right/center, center/left or left wing party in control of the K. AIPAC would be doing its job in similar fashion if ANY of the prominent Israeli political parties were in power with or without coalition.

    Imagine if any of the powerful pro-Arab lobbies took political positions against their client states? It always make me chuckle to see how hysterical people get when a lobby is actually doing the job it is mandated to do.

    • March 23, 2014, 8:10 am

      It makes you chuckle that US taxpayers are paying for Israel’s war crimes and crimes against humanity with out blood and dollars?

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