|It turns out the fearsome American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a paper tiger — and one that will throw Israel under the bus for its pals in the Democratic Party.|
AIPAC has long enjoyed a reputation as an all-powerful lobby whose wrath you don’t want to provoke if you’re running for public office. Academics Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer infamously launched a second career with their essay on it, in which they wrote, “Jewish Americans have set up an impressive array of organizations to influence American foreign policy, of which AIPAC is the most powerful and best known.” The group’s “goal is to prevent critical comments from getting a fair hearing in the political arena. Controlling the debate is essential to guaranteeing US support.”
Left-wing journalists and political functionaries parrot the Walt/Mearsheimer thesis in hushed tones.
Well, someone tell Walt he can take off the tinfoil hat and come out of his bunker now. Recent events prove that not only is AIPAC’s tough reputation unearned, but it’s also not the stalwart defender of Israel in the halls of Congress it claims to be.
The Washington Free Beacon revealed last week that AIPAC tried to make the 2012 Republican platform less supportive of Israel for fear of making the Democrats look bad.
|And of course there was the Iran nuclear deal — specifically, AIPAC’s behavior in its wake.|
President Obama refused to give Congress a chance to kill his Iran capitulation by subjecting it to a vote (as would be required for a treaty). Congress reacted by pushing a “resolution of disapproval” of the deal. If it passed, Obama would veto it. But it would put Congress on the record against the pact.
If it ever came to a vote.
Pro-Israel groups were told by allies in the Senate — like Cory Booker (D-NJ) — that they’d at least get a vote. That meant the target for groups like AIPAC was a simple majority. They just needed 51 votes.
Booker even publicly repeated the pledge he and other senators gave AIPAC in private. “I can’t imagine how my Democratic colleagues and I would not allow this to come to a vote,” he told his constituents at a town hall.
Well, he figured out how to imagine it. And if you can imagine it, you can do it. And he did: Booker helped block the vote.
This was embarrassing to AIPAC. If the group was at all concerned about its image, it wouldn’t let Booker and the others off the hook. It would have to send a message.
And the message AIPAC chose to send was: Go ahead and double-cross us. Humiliate us in public, if you want. We’re the nation’s premier pro-Israel doormat.
“Following AIPAC’s defeat last month in the fight over the Iran deal, the organization has internally debated how and whether its members will restore deterrence in Congress,” reported Bloomberg’s Eli Lake. The conclusion? “Most Democrats who voted for the deal will be welcomed back into the pro-Israel fold.”
But don’t shed a tear for AIPAC: The Iran-deal fight became a major fundraising campaign — and it doesn’t matter that AIPAC lost. As NPR’s Peter Overby reported in September, AIPAC has lost major battles like this before, and “after each of those fights, AIPAC’s membership and fundraising spiked. In special-interest politics, there’s nothing like losing to enhance the bottom line.”
That seemed to be fine with AIPAC, which is clearly less focused on the “Israel” part of its mission than on the “lobby” part.
But perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised. As the Washington Free Beacon notes, the lobby tried to weaken — yes, weaken — pro-Israel language in the 2012 Republican National Convention platform, by cutting a reference to Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital and deleting a passage calling for the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. The evidence against AIPAC is damning: The Beacon has video and multiple on-the-record sources.
Why would AIPAC do such a thing? The answer is illuminating: to bring the GOP platform more in line with the Democratic one, as one source told the Beacon, “in order to manufacture the appearance of bipartisanship.”
This is, to put it mildly, insane.
And let’s remember something else: When pro-Israel language on Jerusalem was added back into the Democrats’ platform, the Democratic delegates in the convention hall loudly booed and shouted down the proposal. This is whom “America’s pro-Israel lobby” wants Republicans to sound like?
AIPAC values bipartisanship above all else. That means the group would rather both parties be less pro-Israel — endangering and isolating the Jewish state — than give the Democratic Party a public-relations problem.
AIPAC is reckless, myopic, delusional and unreliable. And as we now know, it’s also toothless.
This article was published by the NY Post and may be found here.