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AIPAC

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U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar speaking with supporters of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 2020. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Members of both parties spent months last year lambasting Rep. Ilhan Omar for claiming that the pro-Israel lobby influences US policy and discourse with its political spending. As the controversy’s latest installment plays out, federal campaign finance records show the pro-Israel lobby is doing just that. A Mondoweiss analysis of Federal Election Commission records and Facebook’s ad library found pro-Israel PACs have spend around $2 million in an effort to oust Omar.

California Senator Kamala Harris speaks at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington, D.C., March 28, 2017. (Photo: AIPAC)

The recent victory of Jamaal Bowman over AIPAC-backed Eliot Engel; AIPAC being forced to “give permission” to members of Congress to oppose Israeli annexation plans for the West Bank; and the recent letter to U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, from 12 Representatives and one Senator not only opposing annexation, but promising legislation to condition U.S. aid to Israel to their policies in the West Bank – all provide evidence that AIPAC may be losing its grip on Congress.

European opposition to Israeli annexation plans mean nothing to Trump or Israel because Europe hasn’t articulated “a single concrete sanction,” says Lara Friedman of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. And Democratic opposition to annexation is just as “soft,” she says, and therefore if you hope that annexation can be turned back, “hope would be deeply, deeply misplaced.”

James Klutznick, chair of Americans for Peace Now, criticizes Zionism in context of Netanyahu’s annexation plans: “It would be remiss if I didn’t say this unilateralism wasn’t actually rooted in the history of the Zionist movement. From the very begining we had our Jabotinskys and I think they were pretty singleminded in their purpose of a greater Israel, which included all that territory.” Now American Jews have to “weigh” their relationship to Israel and say firmly, “No to any form of annexation. Not a scintilla of property.”