The article below appeared in the Jewish Chronicle. Let me repeat that, the article below appeared in the JEWISH Chronicle. I think that would imply that it is somewhat Jewish. As in it has a Jewish-emphasis. Well, it says it right here so it must be true. So, I am guessing they wouldn't/couldn't be really anti-Semite, huh Rhymes? ;) I better be careful in my use of the word 'Jew' or 'Jewish' too much otherwise some of my friends from yonder may accuse me of antisemitism since my usage frequency of the 'Jew' word may exceed my allowable limit under blog laws (I think it is number of times the word Jew is used divided by number of lines or something).
In annnyyy case, the author Mr. Brummer (who I presume is a Jew by virtue of his close associations with a number of Jewish organizations- hope that doesn't count as an anti-semitic observation) is telling us that the Israeli lobby is waning in influence. Give me a sec. to chew on that… hmm… NOT. Well, at least that is my one-word observation. Because if they are weakening, then God help us if they were strengthening. Let me imagine what a strengthening would look like… would we see voting rights given to Israeli citizens IN Israel (only the Jewish Israeli citizens of course so as not to disturb the apartheid status quo in Israel)? Not that those folks need to waste their time voting anyway, I mean their virtual voting power is about 1000x the average American by proxy of AIPAC & Co. Did you know that the conservatively-speaking, USA has given $108 billion in aid to Israel, per-capita of $15,000 (read all the reports here, and also Congressional Research Report on Israel). So, those Israeli dudes pay no tax to America, yet receive a tax-refund from our nation; now that is what I call a SWEEEET deal!
Sorry for the tangents. If Mr. Brummer is truly right, then the weakening of AIPAC would represent not 'good news', but 'about-time news', because the 900 pound gorilla had gotten so strong that it wasn't leaving any crumbs for the rest of the lobbies. Everything that goes up has to eventually come down. However, I think this one isn't coming down anytime soon… the so-called 'weakened' AIPAC is still a 100 years ahead for Muslim lobbies, i.e. of course if AIPAC will even let them stand up (echoing the recent witch-hunt against CAIR).
What is interesting to me in the article is not the 'weakening' part, but rather Brummer's confirmation of the 'current strength' part. I have highlighted those points below, but the biggest one that jumps out right away is AIPAC and Co.'s $57 million spent on congressional candidates (note ONLY Congressional candidates, not the Presidential race or other government elections) versus a MEASLY 0.8 million by CAIR & Co. Wow! Though, not a bad deal for Israel; they spend, let's say $75 million per year and get $3,000 million in return annually… that would be an yearly return of only 4000%… I would call that a shrewd investment!
Now, if you were wondering why Congressmen are so beholden and afraid of the AIPAC gorilla, and why they would so easily pass over CAIR without any evidence of wrong-doing…. well, you KNOW now, don't you? And just so I can get the antisemitism-accusing folks off my back, let me also remind you that the REAL power, according to Brummer, that seems to be weakening AIPAC is not CAIR, nor ADC, nor any other Arab/Muslim group, rather it is the liberal or dare I say 'humane' Jewish sector in America who hasn't gotten a fair-play yet in US politics. Keep in mind, liberal/fair-minded Jews form a large chunk of the Israeli population, and have more power in Israel than they have in US politics (consider Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper that is probably fairer in its coverage of Israel's occupation than the majority of US media outlets).
So, whoever denies the power of Israeli lobbies, is on AIPAC-administered Ambiance pills and needs to wake up to reality. For further questions, please contact Mr. Brummer, the Jewish-anti-Semite-wannabe. Or you are free to comment here too :)
THE ISRAEL LOBBY IS RAPIDLY LOSING SUPPORT -
Coverage from the FT to The Economist suggests that Aipac's power over the Middle East debate is fading
Alex Brummer, Jewish Chronicle, 3/23/07
The power of the Israel lobby in the United States is indisputable. Two decades ago, I witnessed it personally when covering an election for the Senate in South Dakota, where the Jewish population is virtually nonexistent. In this remote corner of the country, a Senator of Arab-American descent found himself under assault in television commercials because of a vote he had cast against the supply of equipment for advanced F-16 fighter aircraft to Israel. James Abourezk, now an ex-senator, learned to his peril that you take on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), one of Washington's most effective lobby groups, at your peril.
Yet there is growing evidence that the power of Aipac which has just held its annual gathering in Washington DC may not be as overwhelming as it once was.
Criticism of Israel has become more fashionable. Jimmy Carter's book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, has sold a remarkable 200,000 copies and recently won a surprisingly favourable review from Joseph Lelyveld, a former executive editor of the New York Times, in the New York Review of Books.
An essay by American academics John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt claiming that the Israel lobby threatened America's security interests caused a furor last year when it was published in the London Review of Books.
Aipac may still have political pull and financial muscle, but its overwhelming domination of the debate about the future of the Middle East seems to be fading. Even the “Lexington” column in The Economist questioned Aipac's power.
In the Financial Times, writer Graham Bowley chose Tony Judt, a leading British-born historian of Europe, for the weekly “Lunch with the FT” feature.
Judt is increasingly lauded in the media as a dissident on the Middle East, whom the American Israel lobby failed to silence.
As the FT writer reported, Judt has drawn the ire of Jewish groups in America for unexceptional suggestions that the Jewish lobby influences US policy towards Israel and shuts down debate. But the hostility almost certainly dates back to a piece in the New York Review of Books where Judt made the case for a “one state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In the interview, Judt recounts how he and his family received death threats and how he found himself ostracised by the American Jewish establishment for allegedly seeking the abolition of the Jewish state.
But as a young man, the child of middleclass Jewish parents, he tells the FT, he volunteered to go to Israel in June 1967 to work as a translator and drive captured Syrian tanks.
He adds that “Israel exists” and the “only question is what kind of state it will be in future years, what kind of laws is it going to have for first- and second-class citizens.”
For views like these, he argues, he has lost close friends, including Leon Wieseltier, the influential literary editor of the liberal political magazine The New Republic, for which Judt used to write.
Certainly on a superficial level, the power of the pro-Israel lobby, as experienced by Judt, is as strong as ever. At the Aipac meeting, more than 6,000 enthusiastic delegates turned up to hear from the top people on Capitol Hill. The Economist notes that they could admire their work: Jewish numbers in Congress are at record levels, with 30 in the House of Representatives (out of 435 members) and 13 out of 100 members of the Senate. The magazine, which has a large readership in the US, notes there are now more Jews on Capitol Hill than Episcopalians, the American adherents to Anglicanism.
So why does the magazine claim that Jewish power is not what it once was? The association of Aipac with support for the Iraq war, which is increasingly unpopular, had encouraged critics to publicly question America's alliance with Israel. Two retired members of Congress, Paul Findley and James Abourezk, have formed the Council for the National Interest, which bills itself as an anti-Aipac group.
Then there is the growing number of Arab- Americans in the US. Turmoil in the Middle East, since the first intifada, provoked heavy emigration from the West Bank to the rustbelt states of Ohio and Michigan, where more than 3.5 million Arabs now reside.
The Arab-Americans are creating their own pale versions of Aipac, including the Arab American Institute and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
So far, The Economist reports, they have been ineffectual, donating just $788,968 to favoured Congressional candidates against the astonishing $56.8 million raised by Aipac and other pro-Israel groups.
But an even bigger threat looms from more liberal Jewish groups, who find their voice through publications like Tikkun. The more prominent of these include the Religious Action Centre for Reform Judaism, Americans for Peace Now and the Israel Policy Forum. They claim responsibility, for example, for watering down Aipac legislation which would have forbidden American contact with the current Hamas-sympathising Palestinian leadership.
The majority of Americans may still be philo-Jewish. But the tide of media opinion, particularly among the intellectual chattering classes, could be turning.