Misunderstanding AIPAC by Listening to Its Greatest Detractors

Sept. 10 2020

In the recently released documentary The Kings of Capitol Hill, the Israeli filmmaker Mor Loushy attempts to highlight what she sees as the internal contradictions and failures of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Loushy has created other documentaries airing leftwing criticisms of the Jewish state, including Censored Voices, stitched together from uncorroborated interviews with veterans of the Six-Day War, which, contrary to the film’s central claim, had never been censored. Based on a published interview with Loushy, David E. Bernstein raises some objections to the new film’s premises:

[Loushy] points out that “AIPAC’s aims do not mirror those of the bulk of American Jewry.” Not to put too fine a point on it, but most American Jews are fairly indifferent to Israel, and on average politically much more left-leaning than the population as a whole. Obviously, AIPAC, dedicated to being a bipartisan pro-Israel lobby, is not going to mirror that indifference and that strong bias to the left, but is going to make Israeli-American relations a priority over other political issues and will try to be centrist in political orientation. . . . AIPAC’s role is to serve as a pro-Israel conduit that can appeal to the broad middle of pro-Israel Americans, not to represent American Jews writ large.

Loushy also relies on M.J. Rosenberg for her understanding of AIPAC and American politics. Rosenberg worked for AIPAC long ago, but has long since become a leftist gadfly who is far from a reliable source on anything AIPAC-related. For example, he helped popularize the use on the left of the . . . term “Israel-firsters” to refer to American Jews who support Israel. Note that this calumny goes beyond accusing Jews of dual loyalty, and into accusing (some) American Jews of having primary loyalty to Israel. Not surprisingly, the phrase originated on the anti-Semitic far right, and eventually migrated to the anti-Semitic far left.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: AIPAC, American Jewry, Anti-Semitism

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship