The Power Of AIPAC

Andrew Sullivan —  May 24 2011 @ 10:12am


Witness the Democratic Majority Leader in the Senate directly attack his own president over a critical foreign policy stance to appease the pro-Israel lobby. Inconceivable on any other foreign policy issue. Meanwhile, AIPAC’s control of the US Congress will be demonstrated more powerfully than ever today, as Netanyahu, fresh after a contemptuous and furious meeting with the president, will now attempt to cut an American president off at the knees, by interfering in another country’s affairs. Again: can you think of any other analogy to this kind of thing?

And remember what this is about: not cutting off aid, not imposing any solution, not reassessing loan guarantees, not putting the UN veto in question. Just saying the words “1967 borders” is such an affront to the pro-Israel lobby it must rally the entire US Congress against its own president, and threaten to cut off donations to the Democrats. And recall that this statement was issued by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs just November 11. Money quote:

‪‪The Prime Minister and the Secretary agreed on the importance of continuing direct negotiations to achieve our goals. The Secretary reiterated that “the United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state, based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.” Those requirements will be fully taken into account in any future peace agreement.

My italics. Now that’s lobby power. What was once an idea the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs deemed anodine is now a radical break designed to weaken Israel. But, of course, the pro-Israel lobby doesn’t exist, and mere mention of it makes one an anti-Semite. But without the power of that lobby, how do you make any empirical sense of last week’s events at all?

(Photo: Young Jewish settlers stack rocks in an attempt to build a new outpost on a hilltop, on May 23, 2011 near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, West Bank. Tensions between Israel and United States remain high over the growing Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Last week President Obama called for a return to Israel’s 1967 borders with landswaps. By Uriel Sinai/Getty Images.)