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I'm a Jewish-American. But the American is the part I emphasize, because while I am proud of my heritage, my country comes first, not my ethnicity.

The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee is a very powerful lobby on Capitol Hill and throughout the years, they have effectively advocated on Israel's behalf, and have done a magnificent job in making sure that Israel is a secure, safe, and free state.

But AIPAC has gone off the deep end in recent years. They supported a stupid war in Iraq, which endangered both American and Israeli security, they are advocating for a war with Iran, and they have advocated the US cutting off relations with all Arab governments, including the Palestinian authority.

Regardless of these policies, what ticks me off about AIPAC is that they think they speak for the Jewish community in the US. And politicians in Washington, court AIPAC as though an endorsement from its leadership would lead to the monolithic Jewish vote coming behind him.

This id ridiculous. Jews are the most anti-war religious group in the country, and are very liberal, one of the most solidly Democratic groups in the country.

Barack Obama was talking about the situation in the Middle East a couple of weeks ago and in an off-the-cuff remark, noted that no one is suffering more than the Palestinian people. This was not intended to mean that Israelis who are suffering in the conflict are not equal to the suffering og Palestinians, and AIPAC knows that is what Senator Obama meant.

But AIPAC is interested in holding onto its power. Senator Obama is a new kind of politician, one who is not likely to be beholden to powerful, moneyed interests because he has enormous grassroots support. AIPAC is afraid that they may no longer be able to influence policy because they can't control Senator Obama like they have Senator Clinton, who uses exact codewords of pandering to the pro-Israel community in a cynical attempt to win votes.

I am a huge supporter of Senator Obama, who realizes that in the Middle East, the only solution, is strong support for people everywhere, and that the only side in the Middle East conflict that deserves our support is the side of peace, cooperation, friendship, and progress.

Jews around this country will come to support Senator Obama, because his message of hope and empowerment perfectly aligns with Jewish beliefs.

AIPAC does not speak for me. And it doesn't speak for all Jews, not even most. And politicians better start understanding that there's a lot more money out there to raise from the vast majority of Jews if you speak directly to them, not elitist lobbyists in Washington, DC.

Originally posted to ahf8 on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 10:34 AM PDT.

Poll

Who do most Jews you know support for President in 2008?

29%18 votes
35%22 votes
9%6 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
1%1 votes
6%4 votes
12%8 votes
4%3 votes

| 62 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I sure haven't heard anything about David Geffen, (6+ / 0-)

    Spielberg, Katzenberg, Ari Emanuel, etc. turning against him.

    Join the College Kossacks on Facebook, or the Republicans win.

    by DemocraticLuntz on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 10:39:15 AM PDT

  •  Another day, another identical diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dvo, Jay Elias, Mia Dolan, jhritz

    Has AIPAC ever claimed that it speaks for you? Does that mean anything more than when Bill Donahue claims he speaks for all Catholics or  James Dobson claims he speaks for everyone who is "pro-Family," whatever the hell that is?

    To your credit, most people would have inserted some Hillary-bashing in a diary like this as well. I guess I need to respect you for not doing that.

    •  The issue is a little complicated (4+ / 0-)

      Politicians naturally look to American Jews for perspectives on Israel. There is no "American Jews" listing in the Yellow Pages, so unless they seek out or hear from individual constituents or rabbis, the only group they are going to hear from is AIPAC. Particularly the large number of representatives who have only a token Jewish community in their districts. AIPAC is by far the most effective group lobbying Congress about Israeli policy and in the absence of any other voices, they have a legitimacy in the eyes of Congressmen as the voice of American Jews speaking about Israel that they don't really deserve.

      The issue isn't that many American Jews disagree with AIPAC, although we do; it's that we're disengaged from Israel altogether, or that moderate views on peace are not backed up by the same passion that motivates people at either pole of a discussion.

      I do wish we could have a stronger Jewish group that could advocate for Israel's interests while pursuing a more moderate line than AIPAC does. I don't know enough about AIPAC's structure to know how that can happen. Few American Jews are active in lobbying and know how these things get done.

      •  Israel interest (0+ / 0-)

        Should stay in Israel.

        The problem with bringing Israel interest into domestic politics. It'll turn into Iraq! (Domestic politics dictates what happens in Iraq, instead of reality on the ground)

        Mistakes are compounded and natural discussion of Israel politics become distorted by Washington politics.

        So essentially, what happen in Israel, now is dictated by the most powerfull player in Washington DC.

        (The reality on the ground start to appears: buying the wrong weapons, confrontational policy, earmarks of aids, industrial invesment pattern, military strategy, intrntional agreements, etc, etc)

        basically, Jewish American lobby is turning Israel into a totalitarian military regime. (aka. we like Israel to be strong and kick everybody's ass)

        THAT is the ultimate logic of mixing Israel politics with washington politics.

        (eg. smaller, minor parties, dissent and peace movement starting from the ground in israel can't get voice.)

        •  A question (0+ / 0-)

          May I ask you, are you an American? Your English is excellent but it appears it may be a second language. I'm just curious because we are discussing U.S. politics.

          •  yes I am (0+ / 0-)

            grew up and spend time in southern europe.

            -------------

            http://www.haaretz.com/...

            Meretz chairman MK Yossi Beilin yesterday commended the establishment of the new lobby. Beilin told Haaretz that the lobby would not compete with AIPAC but portray another facet of American Jewry.

            "It's important for both the administration and congress to know that AIPAC is a right- wing organization that represents only part of the Jewish community in the United States," Beilin said.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

            "AIPAC's success is due to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its agenda, and to punish those who challenge it. ... AIPAC makes sure that its friends get strong financial support from the myriad pro-Israel PACs. Those seen as hostile to Israel, on the other hand, can be sure that AIPAC will direct campaign contributions to their political opponents. ... The bottom line is that AIPAC, which is a de facto agent for a foreign government, has a stranglehold on the U.S. Congress. Open debate about U.S. policy towards Israel does not occur there, even though that policy has important consequences for the entire world.

            ------------

            "They have the threat of voting out [congressional] representatives," said Yossi Beilin, a Cabinet minister under former Labor Party prime minister Ehud Barak. "I never liked this leverage they have. It's counterproductive. Some see AIPAC as the long arm of Israel, even if it's totally wrong."

            More size data:
            (~30M budget for 165 staff)

            http://www.mre.gov.br/...

            It now has 85,000 members, an annual budget of $33.4 million and a staff of 165, with offices in Washington, 10 states and Israel.
            In 2003, the organization reported spending $1.28 million on lobbying. Though not insubstantial by Washington standards, it is a fraction of the amounts spent by one of the largest lobbying groups, the AARP, which dedicated $20.9 million to lobbying last year.

          •  PS (0+ / 0-)

            at least we agree we are not discussing Israel policy.

  •  But he's talking up war with Iran and keeping (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SamSinister

    and pandering to AIPAC, too.

    Before deciding to run for President, he refused to end the war in Iraq.

    So how is he the peace candidate?

  •  Obama recognizes (0+ / 0-)

    imho, the potential good of Israel, and the power of AIPAC. He recently spoke to AIPAC and made no enemies.

    It is in Israel's  and the US's interest to keep America strong without never ending wars.

    Overthrow the Government ~Vote~

    by missliberties on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 10:45:23 AM PDT

  •  Obama is sure Iran's a threat to Israel, world. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SamSinister

    He has been reported as saying so in an AIPAC regional meeting. My point being, whatever Obama's view of Iran's policies and behaviors, he's indicated by this appearance that he accepts the importance of being on the record as offering positive support for Israel and negative criticism of Iran's nuclear enrichment program. Whoever AIPAC represents, Obama respects their power and influence enough to come to them to offer support for their general policy concerns.

    "That which you will not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learn--or be forced--to accept." Impeachment for treason is an American value.

    by Enough Talk Lets Get Busy on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 10:54:41 AM PDT

    •  I'm not sure how to read your last sentence (0+ / 0-)

      Do you agree that it's possible to come to these conclusions about Iran's nuclear program, and the wisdom of not having a nuclear Iran, without the impetus to make friends with AIPAC?

      I'm not sure if that's what you're saying or not.

    •  Of course Iran is a threat (0+ / 0-)

      So are any number of countries and organizations to a greater or lesser extent.

      The question is how does one address those threats?  The Bush administration has taken the idiotic path of belligerence and public confrontation.  They actually say stupid things like "we don't talk to enemies."  Given that attitude, of course we wind up in hopeless wars and increasingly unpopular in the world community.

      I don't fault Obama for recognizing reality.

      "When watchdogs, bird dogs, and bull dogs morph into lap dogs, lazy dogs, or yellow dogs, the nation is in trouble." - Ted Stannard

      by jrooth on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 11:40:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not that I have a dog in this hunt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SamSinister, Mia Dolan, zemblan

    but what is a lobbying PAC supposed to do? It hires lobbyists to go out and promote their client. One of AIPAC's clients happens to be the Israeli government. What are they going to do, express they want Israel to be destroyed? Right now the government in Israel is a tad militaristic (ok, they're a lot militaristic). AIPAC is not going to represent the labor party's plank because labor is out of power. Do a bit of research of all PACs including the Arab American Leadership Council and you'll find all of them tout their client's policies. It's not the PAC that are guilty of anything, it's the politicians who pander to them.

    •  Well ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LynChi, npbeachfun

      AIPAC is at fault to the extent that they push for policies that aren't really in the long-term interest of either of our countries.

      "When watchdogs, bird dogs, and bull dogs morph into lap dogs, lazy dogs, or yellow dogs, the nation is in trouble." - Ted Stannard

      by jrooth on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 11:42:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Same here. Today's AIPAC is not yesterday's.... (7+ / 0-)

    AIPAC. Today's AIPAC has been taken over by a group of radical-right, Likud allied neocons, hell bent on driving the U.S. to support Israel's neocon plans for wars in Iraq, IRAN, and Syria (as outlined by PNAC).

    Today's AIPAC represents only a small handful of incredibly powerful and wealthy right-wing Jews, and those who subscribe to their Likudnik-fascist views.

    In their present form, they should be banned. And as several of their principals have been indicted for treasonous spying, it's plain to for all to see that this group is now a danger to both Israeli and U.S. interests.

    NO MORE DYNASTIES! No more triangulation! No more lies! No more war! No more corporatists! ELECT PROGRESSIVES NOW!

    by Hornito on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 11:00:38 AM PDT

  •  See Soros' (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hornito, cas2

    article in the NY Book review for a well-articulated pro-Israel stance that does not equate pro-AIPAC.

    If there is no justice, what are kingdoms, but vast systems of robbery? - St. Augustine

    by nailmaker on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 11:01:53 AM PDT

  •  AIPAC is not the new Iraq (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zemblan

    I don't like some of their stances but they are not the wizard behind the curtain of American foreign policy.

    We have a dumbo President that doesn't really need AIPAC influence to do what's wrong.

    "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

    by JNEREBEL on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 11:05:16 AM PDT

  •  This is an important diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hornito, npbeachfun

    I am not Jewish; however, the Jews I know are the most politically liberal people in the world.  I haven't been able to get my head around this AIPAC thing but conclude that, as you note, they've gone off the deep end...most particularly in supporting not only the Iraq war but just about any potential war any place in the Mideast that the U.S. will pay for and fight. AIPAC may be setting Israel up for a serious backlash.

    BTW, I watched Hillary's AIPAC speech on YouTube and was appalled at her transparent warmongering. I guess she knows who butters her bread.

  •  One thing that jumps out at me... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brittain33, SamSinister, zemblan

    I'm a Jewish-American. But the American is the part I emphasize, because while I am proud of my heritage, my country comes first, not my ethnicity.

    You ought not have to justify yourself to anyone.  No one ever has to claim that they are a Catholic-American but that their country comes first.

    I have no love whatsoever for AIPAC.  But I am filled with rage and hate at a society that makes Jews feel they need to provide disclaimers like that.  It fills me with an urge to walk up to the US Capitol and to scream that they should take their "equality" and shove it up their fucking ass.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 11:23:41 AM PDT

    •  like my immigrant grandparents (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jay Elias

      I agree - when I read that part of the diary I felt, sadly, like I was reading a graspingly assimilationist letter to the editor from 1926

    •  It's unfortunate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      npbeachfun

      It's sad that jews have to make such disclaimers.  I have muslim friends who are in a similar situation.
      The comparison to say, Catholics, is not valid, though.  I know many jews who look to Israel as a second home, a safe haven in case of another holocaust.  Other religious groups don't have such parallels.

      •  First of all... (0+ / 0-)

        ...many of them do.  Second, I don't care.  You want to know why Jews look to Israel as a second home?

        Because that's how we're treated in the homes where we live now.

        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

        by Jay Elias on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 11:42:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  that's fine (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          npbeachfun

          It's ok for you to not care about other religious/ethnic groups, but your comparison still doesn't hold.  

          •  Why not? (0+ / 0-)

            If other groups were treated this way, what makes you think they would not react similarly?

            Jews did not first experience questions about their commitment to their country when Israel was founded.

            The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

            by Jay Elias on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 11:59:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  can't speak for ancient times (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              npbeachfun

              Minorities have always been treated badly, it's not specific to Jews.  It doesn't make it right, and we should fight it, because treating everyone well is good for society as a whole, not just the minorities.
              And other groups are treated similarly, but the accusations are different.  Muslims, for example, are accused of being more loyal to "The Caliphate" than to their home countries, even though there is no such thing as a caliphate.  They don't get accused of wanting to immigrate to Saudi Arabia and therefore caring about Saudia Arabia more because Saudi Arabia is not a homeland to muslims who are not saudi.  Catholics get accused of being more loyal to the Vatican sometimes, but again, not in the same way Jews do because Rome is not a "catholic homeland".
              Don't get me wrong, I completely understand why Jews around the world feel the need for a safe haven, since time and time again they have been persecuted.  And of course, if the same thing happened to another group they would do exactly the same (i.e. Kurds).  
              My point was that even though it's wrong for anyone to assume a Jewish-American is more loyal to Israel than the US, your comparison of other religious minorities in the US is not quite accurate, since there is no "xxxx homeland" for Mormons, Muslims, Athiests, etc.
              Not only is it wrong to accuse Americans who are Jewish of putting Israel above the US, it actually doesn't even make sense logically, since if the US went down in flames Israel would have a hard time defending itself against its many enemies, given the its size.

              •  Yeah... (0+ / 0-)

                ...all of that is nice, but utterly unrelated to the subject of my post.

                Thanks though.

                The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                by Jay Elias on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 12:16:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  related to this sentence (0+ / 0-)

                  "No one ever has to claim that they are a Catholic-American but that their country comes first."

                  •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...do they?  It was an issue for a minute when JFK was running for election, and not since.

                    Frankly, the statement could have been about any other ethnic/religious group.  But it remains true.  And the existence of Israel doesn't make it okay.  And I'm already fairly pissed about this, so either make a point about what I am talking about, or don't.

                    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                    by Jay Elias on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 12:53:44 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  doesn't make it ok (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      npbeachfun

                      I never said accusing someone is ok regardless of the circumstances.  I just don't agree that the comparison to catholics, or pretty much any other religious group does much to prove your point.  You should make your point without dragging other religious groups into the argument.
                      It's unfortunate that you're pissed, but it's not my responsbility to improve your mood.  You don't have to have a discussion if you don't want to.

    •  Not quite true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sunshineonthebay

      "No one ever has to claim that they are a Catholic-American but that their country comes first."

      There was a time when a number of Irish (Catholics) in this country were sending arms and money to the IRA in Ireland.  The same question arose.  The same resentments surfaced.  This allegiance issue is nothing new.  

      To God: Please stop talking to George Bush. Too much is being lost in translation.

      by miriam on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 01:04:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  whose Army's uniform did you don? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      npbeachfun, sunshineonthebay

      if I remember correctly, you once mentioned that you were a member of the IDF. I'm half Dutch and half Danish....however, I would never think of joining Holland's or Denmark's Armed Services. Your mileage may vary.

  •  George Soros agrees with you about AIPAC. (0+ / 0-)

    On Israel, America and AIPAC.

    I wonder if he agrees with you on Obama.

    Katrina was America's Chernobyl.

    by lysias on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 11:37:17 AM PDT

  •  Israelis and Irishman (0+ / 0-)

    are the same to me. I have not visited either country, although am book knowledgable. But reading cannot substitute for on the ground kmowledge. As a Jewish American I would neither support AIPAC any faster than an Irish Lobbying Group.....Jews in American and Israelis are simply not interchangeable. American Jews who support AIPAC should move to Isreal.

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