The recent hissy fit about Rep. Ilhar Omar’s tweet, “it's the Benjamins” is beyond excessive.
AIPAC indeed influences legislators — not by donating directly since it’s a non-profit — but by directing donors to pro-Israel causes and trying to defeat legislators AIPAC labels “not supportive of Israel.” AIPAC is behind the rash of anti-BDS laws in some 27 states, recently passed on the Federal level. (You have to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel if you want a government job! Think about that.)
That Omar apologized shows AIPAC’s excessive power. Zionists tried to stop “60 Minutes” from airing segments that show Israeli brutality. In 1990, 17 Palestinians were murdered by Israel’s army, but Israel blamed Palestinians, saying they injured Jews with rocks. When Mike Wallace reported the truth (that Israel’s army rioted wildly against Palestinians and no Jews were hurt), AIPAC and the Israel Lobby made a huge fuss and called Mike a “self-hating Jew”.
Read Mearsheimer/Walt’s, “The Israel Lobby” for more examples.
AIPAC leaders themselves have bragged about their out-sized influence on politics. After they defeated Congressman Chuck Percy in 1984, Mike Wallace in 1988 quoted AIPAC’s director Tom Dine: “All the Jews in America … gathered to oust Percy, and the American politicians … got the message.” Google “Steiner/Clinton” for another example, quickly denied.
Many liberal Jews (JVP, Dave Newman of a Portland, OR synagogue, Mondoweiss) have said they “wish Omar hadn’t apologized; she did nothing wrong.”
Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. Zionism is racist; Israel is an apartheid state. Criticize away!
June Forsyth Kenagy
Albany (Feb. 18)