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AIPAC Delegates Assert: Fierce Loyalty & Ignorance

Max Blumenthal:

Watch the video.

On May 22, thousands of supporters of America’s most powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, converged on Washington for the group’s annual conference. For two days they watched Democratic and Republican congressional leaders pledge their undivided loyalty to the state of Israel, and by extension, to AIPAC’s legislative agenda. Speeches by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted the conference, with Obama attempting to clarify his statement demanding that 1967 borders be the “starting point” for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

I interviewed several AIPAC delegates in the streets outside the conference. While few, if any, of them were able to demonstrate the slightest degree of sophistication in their understanding of the Israel-Palestine crisis, they had been briefed inside on how to respond to critics. No one I spoke to would concede that Israel occupied any part of Palestinian territory; none would concede that Israel had committed acts of indiscriminate violence or that it had transferred Palestinians by force; one interviewee could not distinguish Palestine from Pakistan. With considerable wealth and negligible knowledge — few had spent much time inside Israel — the delegates were easily melded by the cadre of neoconservative and Israeli “experts” appearing in AIPAC’s briefing sessions.

Speaking of fierce loyalty and ignorance, here are some comments from Robert Parry about the responses of Congresspeople to Netanyahu's U.S. appearance:

Congress, with repeated standing ovations, showed its love for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but the valentine may have unintended consequences by stirring dangerous passions of Likud’s rejectionist wing, which is now weighing the risks of transforming Israel into an overtly apartheid state.

These hardliners might well interpret the congressional obsequiousness as signaling that Israel still has a free hand to do whatever it wants, even if that means defying President Barack Obama’s mild pressure for movement toward peace with the Palestinians.

As Democrats and Republicans competed to see who could jump to their feet the fastest and most often, Netanyahu mixed a rhetorical commitment to peace with preconditions that he knows are unacceptable to the Palestinians, including his insistence that they not only recognize Israel’s right to exist but hail it as a Jewish state.

Palestinian negotiators have balked at accepting Israel’s Jewish identity because about 20 percent of Israel’s population is Arab. They also have said it is up to Israel to define itself as it wishes, not the Palestinians or any other outside group. But Netanyahu has made this declaration a prerequisite for peace talks.

In addition, this notion of a religious identity applying to any government runs counter to a core American principle, that governments should not show favoritism toward one religion over another and that all people are created equal.

So, there was something craven, arguably un-American, about the U.S. Congress cheering a foreign leader who insists on a religious state and even requires its acceptance by a group of people living under his military domination.

Republican commentator Pat Buchanan once got into a lot of trouble for saying that “Capitol Hill is Israeli-occupied territory.” But Congress on Tuesday behaved as if it was determined to vindicate Buchanan’s point.

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madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Because the new left decided, based on nothing, that Israel has no right to exist. That position is not tenable from any historical or moral standpoint.

The new left lost a lot of Jewish people when it decided to side with the self-termed "Palestinians" (which now means Hamas and Fatah together, by the way) over Israel. There may not be a lot of us, but we were a huge part of the really far left in America. Not any more.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

to exist?

Declaring the Gazan War happened whereby 1400 innocent civilians were killed is not insisting that Israel does not have the right to exist. If those 1400 people had not been slaughtered Israel would no longer exist right now? Is that what you are saying?

Myopic war-mongering, whether it is Jewish or US, is evil. Collateral damage via ego-maniacal leaderships is evil.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

including his insistence that they not only recognize Israel’s right to exist but hail it as a Jewish state.

An argument implying that a right to exist is unreasonable is pretty damn close to the argument there is no right to exist, yes?

As an aside, I'm still sort of tripping over citing Pat Buchanan in support of much of anything.

Submitted by lambert on

I could use a link, or a series of links on that. There were a lot of reasons that the "new left" was destroyed.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

People are free to believe whatever they want that may be beyond my abilities to comprehend, but for all sorts of reasons of my own, personal and ethical, I want Israel to survive as a free democracy.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

"I do not think that word means what you think it means."

Submitted by libbyliberal on

movement lost pro-Israel advocates. Suddenly humanitarian principles threatened by cronyism and tribalism for Israel.

And AIPAC you divorce from corporate cash? Quite a serious lobby there or are they a "special" exceptionalism lobby?

Submitted by Randall Kohn on

largely campaigned for the other side. As for AIPAC, it's not a corporate lobby in the same way as Big Oil or Big Pharma; it's more like the gun lobby. I used to be a member: I paid dues of $25 a year.

As for tribalism, when outnumbered 400-1, you'd better be a tribalist.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

might makes right ... assume the victim rationale as you put your boot on the necks of others and terrorize and kill them as you declare they are threatening you. Their wounded and dead don't matter, the large numbers, since they are so dehumanized. And then you holler that they don't like you and are irrationally threatening innocent you after you have radicalized them with your own violence. I am talking about both countries MOs here. Or any war criminal country.

Netanyahu works on roadblocks rather than a roadmap for peace. Obama will do his minimalism kabuki and even that is way too stressful for Israel and her supporters. Do you think he will fight for real justice and honest negotiations? HAH. But even his kabuki is too threatening. Even the whiff of challenge brings about hysterical blowback. That is the profile of a border-line personality disorder.

Weaponry arsenals are so dazzling and sophisticated that that is the way to power. Peace and diplomacy? Why go the girlie way. And annihllating weaponry also cleans up the mess, why bother arresting and detaining people. That is too much of a headache. And the secret enforcement covert death squad agencies, really out of sight of one's own masses and ignored and unseen by the media now, and their amoral ends justifies the means rules. Yeah, we'll congratulate our selves on being democracies but that ship sailed long ago, if it ever existed.

The far right running things now in Israel is still golden even if they are as scary as the right here because it is Israel and the cronyism here and there is so fierce still? And the lack of empathy and denial. The Gazan boats with non-weaponry for the Gazans. Deadly force did not have to be used, but it is used as a deterrent and punishment without conscience or regret. Trust PR will make amorality go away? Just like US kill squads. Real rules of engagement are that there are none and God help those who whistleblow the inhumanity. That is when the strong arm of government intervenes or knee-jerk cronyism.

Liberman over there? Dear God. Netanyahu and his hypocrisy and dangerousness? US scolds about settlements and gives $3bn a year. Blocks justice in the UN every time because of a cronyism that is not based on reality and justice but exclusive self-interest and power and codependency unplugging from international conscience (thus neutering potential of UN to be a broker for peace). Israel has universal health care but we don't? Apartheism is okay as long as the Israelis are the top class? Bulldozing people out of their homes. Killing and wounding protesters. There is a non-violent movement over there among the Palestinians but who controls the media to hear about it?

Yes, violence is wrong on both sides. But look at the disproportionate use of force and the collateral damage and the nature of the mass murdering weaponry like phosphorous being used by Israel.

The total lobbification of our Congress by AIPAC? Partisan bickering about this country. But eerily on the same page about Israel and the hyper-militarization of this country totally bipartisan even if the polls show in this country the solid majority of citizens say stop the kililng stop the warring. But no, the killing machine is on a roll, the question is which country or countries will we go bomb the shit out of and occupy next in the name of GWOT, the blank check to evil that Bush and Cheney achieved. You think the pro-Israel stance of our Congress is based on the issues and not political terror of these jokers in Washington to the political vengeance of AIPAC and the tight tribalism and/or cronyism of their Jewish and non-Jewish and Christian-fundamental constitutencies?

As for the regard of the US and Israel by the rest of the world. Where is the moral authority of our nations in actuality? Fascism is happening fast. But just as Obama cronies deny his collusion in enabling fascism, Israel cronyism denies that fascism and the mutual fascism taking place with our countries.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

César Chelala:

The decision by Egypt’s military rulers to open the Rafah border with Gaza will not only allow the movement of people and goods across the border. Perhaps more importantly, it will end the feeling of isolation the Gazans have had since the blockade was imposed by Israel –with Egypt’s collaboration- more than three years ago.

The blockade on Gaza has had a devastating effect on Gazans’ health and quality of life, despite a partial easing of the restrictions by Israel in recent months. “The situation in Gaza remains very serious from a humanitarian perspective. The blockade has been eased in some respects but it has been maintained in other respects, and it continues to put the population there under great psychological and physical stress,” stated last October Professor Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Professor Falk added that Israel’s continued refusal to allow export of goods from Gaza has destroyed its internal economy, and young people from Gaza continue to be denied the right to visit their families in the West Bank and East Jerusalem or attend universities in other parts of the territories.

The most vulnerable -old people and children- are the ones who suffer the most. Even the supply of paper is limited, for fear it may be used to print propaganda, making children unable to play and draw pictures with crayons.


The blockade has predictably had a detrimental impact on the health of the people living in the Strip. On average, two patients die every month waiting for Israeli permits so the sick can leave Gaza for treatment, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO also stated that a shortage of required medicines poses a threat to the working of hospitals in the Strip.

According to the WHO, 38 percent of basic medicines in the Strip were out of stock in early 2011, while 40 percent of primary health care services and 80 percent of general services offered by hospitals suffered as a result. Out of 260 cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy in Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, 100 are not able to receive treatment because several medicines are required and are not available.

Many times, several basic illnesses such as diarrhea, pneumonia and skin infections cannot be treated due to lack of antibiotics. Even drugs needed for asthma treatment are not easily available in the Strip’s central warehouses.