Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Eric Cantor and AIPAC

In May 2009, Congressmen Eric Cantor (R., Va.) and Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) wrote to President Barack Obama about U.S. policy toward Israel. Their staff sent the letter as a PDF but forgot to change the name of the file to something other than “AIPAC Letter Hoyer Cantor May 2009.pdf.”

AIPAC stands for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a group widely recognized as one of the most effective at lobbying Congress, and a group that consistently promotes the positions of the rightwing party of the Israeli government. AIPAC also has the distinction of having lobbied against accountability for an Israeli attack on a U.S. ship and in favor of leniency for a man convicted of selling U.S. secrets to Israel. In a separate case, six years ago, two AIPAC employees were indicted for obtaining U.S. secrets from a U.S. military employee who pled guilty. After powerful Congress members like Jane Harman (D., Calif.) lobbied on their behalf, the charges were dropped.

That’s what it means to be an effective lobby group: having your way. Need sanctions on Iran? You got em. Support at the United Nations for illegal settlements in Palestine or a blockade and bombing of Gaza? Not a problem. In fact, it would be our pleasure to provide the weapons needed, whether it’s for bombing Gaza, bombing Lebanon, or killing Turkish and American peace activists on an aid ship as happened last year. We’d be honored, and don’t let cost be a consideration! That would be an insult in these times of huge budget surpluses in Washington! (Warning, this paragraph contained sarcasm.)

We give $3 billion in “military aid” to Israel every year, more than we give to any other country. This is justified by the need to protect Israel from all the other countries in its region, most of which we also give or sell arms to. Last fall, when pressure was building in Washington to cut off foreign aid spending, Congressman Cantor proposed making an exception for Israel that would help guarantee it $30 billion over the next decade by hiding that funding in the U.S. “defense” budget. That proposal didn’t fly, but neither has any funding of Israeli weapons been cut.

Is there any spending here in Virginia that Congressman Cantor has defended this tenaciously? Would there be if we could afford it?

Cantor is listed on Maplight.org as the top recipient of campaign money from “pro-Israel” groups in the U.S. House of Representatives, having taken in over $200,000. These groups, most of them affiliated with AIPAC, dump tens of millions of dollars into U.S. elections each cycle. And they certainly appear to get what they pay for. In February, continuing a decades-long pattern that has made the United States the leader in U.N. vetoes, President Obama instructed U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to veto and overrule the other 14 Security Council members’ backing of a resolution condemning as illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The problem here is more specific than the wild-west financing of U.S. elections. The problem is that the interests of the Israeli government, far from always representing the Israeli people, in no way represent those of the American people or the people of Virginia. Our views may align or diverge. But the Israeli government’s hostility toward Iraq or Iran, Lebanon or Palestine, or to independent democratic rule in Egypt and the rest of the region, need not be our own. That should be for us to decide, open to foreign input, but free of foreign financial pressure. AIPAC raises its money in the United States but advances the agenda of a foreign nation, diverging often from the majority views of both Americans at large and Jewish Americans in particular.

Later this month, Congressman Cantor will be a featured speaker at AIPAC’s annual conference in Washington DC, but over 100 peace and justice organizations will be holding a counter-conference called “Move Over AIPAC.” I wonder if Eric Cantor will get the message.

DAVID SWANSON is an author and blogger in Charlottesville, Va.

 

More articles by:

David Swanson wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org  His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition.

May 24, 2018
Jeff Warner – Victor Rothman
Why the Emerging Apartheid State in Israel-Palestine is Not Sustainable
Kenn Orphan
Life, the Sea and Big Oil
James Luchte
Europe Stares Into the Abys, Confronting the American Occupant in the Room
Richard Hardigan
Palestinians’ Great March of Return: What You Need to Know
Howard Lisnoff
So Far: Fascism Lite
Matthew Vernon Whalan
Norman Finkelstein on Bernie Sanders, Gaza, and the Mainstream Treatment
Daniel Warner
J’accuse All Baby Boomers
Alfred W. McCoy
Beyond Golden Shower Diplomacy
Jonah Raskin
Rachel Kushner, Foe of Prisons, and Her New Novel, “The Mars Room”
George Wuerthner
Myths About Wildfires, Logging and Forests
Binoy Kampmark
Tom Wolfe the Parajournalist
Dean Baker
The Marx Ratio: Not Clear Karl Would be Happy
May 23, 2018
Nick Pemberton
Maduro’s Win: A Bright Spot in Dark Times
Ben Debney
A Faustian Bargain with the Climate Crisis
Deepak Tripathi
A Bloody Hot Summer in Gaza: Parallels With Sharpeville, Soweto and Jallianwala Bagh
Josh White
Strange Recollections of Old Labour
Farhang Jahanpour
Pompeo’s Outrageous Speech on Iran
CJ Hopkins
The Simulation of Democracy
Lawrence Davidson
In Our Age of State Crimes
Dave Lindorff
The Trump White House is a Chaotic Clown Car Filled with Bozos Who Think They’re Brilliant
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Domination of West Virginia
Ty Salandy
The British Royal Wedding, Empire and Colonialism
Laura Flanders
Life or Death to the FCC?
Gary Leupp
Dawn of an Era of Mutual Indignation?
Katalina Khoury
The Notion of Patriarchal White Supremacy Vs. Womanhood
Nicole Rosmarino
The Grassroots Environmental Activist of the Year: Christine Canaly
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
“Michael Inside:” The Prison System in Ireland 
May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail