FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why AIPAC is Dangerous for Jews

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is holding its annual conference May 22-24, where Congress people and many of our national leaders will rush headlong into the committee’s open arms and bountiful coffers. In an increasingly bizarre time warp they will congratulate each other and kvell about Israel’s special relationship with the US, our strategic partnership, and Israel’s commitment to democratic ideals in a “sea of dictatorships” (to quote the website).

What they will not talk about is reality. US Jews are increasingly uncomfortable with a lobby that claims to represent us, but is deeply committed to the militaristic and rightwing policies of successive Israeli governments. Jews in the US tend to be politically progressive, but we are being asked to suspend our liberal beliefs when it comes to Israel. While maintaining a steady dream beat for war against Iran and a world view that, “Israel continues to fulfill its ancient obligation as a ‘light unto the nations,'” AIPAC lobbyists with their Christian Zionist allies guarantee billions of dollars in military aid for Israel each year . Much of this goes towards buying US military weapons and machinery, cementing the massive, interconnected, and lucrative military-industrial-security complex that now exists between our two countries.

Not only has this made a brutal 43 year military occupation possible, but it also provides military and political support to the current Netanyahu government. Let’s be clear. Netanyahu is committed to building Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, undermining any possibility for a two-state solution. He is building Jewish settler-only roads and roads for Palestinians funded by USAID. He tightly controls Palestinian movement through checkpoints, permits, and the Separation Wall which has stolen thousands of acres of Palestinian land and destroyed the lives and livelihoods of people whose families have lived in the region for centuries. His idea of Palestinian statehood, (should he still have one), is a scattering of weak enclaves surrounded by Israeli military. The recently released Palestine Papers painfully documented the degree to which Palestinian negotiators were willing to sell their souls while Israeli negotiators refused to accept any concessions. The US was revealed twisting the arms of Palestinians diplomats to give up basic demands and the massive security coordination between the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority was exposed.

Within Israel, there is a rightwing crackdown on human rights activists, and laws brewing in the Knesset that will criminalize:

1. Nonviolent protests (in Israel and internationally) that advocate boycotts, divestments, and sanctions

2. Providing information that could lead to Israeli war crime charges,

3. Any activity against Israeli soldiers or State symbols including nonviolent legitimate resistance to the occupation.

4. Commemorations of the Nakba, the Palestinian experience of 1948
At the same time there are over 20 laws that maintain the second class status for Palestinians with Israeli citizenship.

While Israeli activists worry about rising fascism in Israeli society, Palestinians are celebrating the Arab Spring that is blossoming in the region and Fatah and Hamas are gingerly talking about unity and democratic elections. Arabs from Tunisia to Yemen are putting their lives on the line for equality and freedom of speech. This breathtaking political moment is changing the political discourse in the Middle East and the US Congress needs to take notice and shake itself free of the world view that is promoted by AIPAC lobbyists. Fear of anti-Semitism and the traumas of the Holocaust do not justify Israeli exceptionalism, militarism, racism towards Arabs, or a belief in permanent Jewish victimization.

Peace in the Middle East is more urgent than ever, but it needs to be based on international law, human rights, and UN resolutions. AIPAC and its supporters are deluding themselves, promoting a perpetual state of war and hostility, living in a world that does not match reality. At the same time, over 100 peace organizations will be meeting in Washington. Under the call: Move Over AIPAC: Building a New US Middle East Policy, they will explore the impacts of US military aid and political cover, the demand to end the Israeli occupation, and the building of a solution that respects the rights and dignity of everyone in the region. There will be no big donors there, but Congress would do well to listen.

Alice Rothchild is a physician, activist, and author of Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: Stories of Jewish Trauma and Resilience. Her website is www.alicerothchild.com.

Take action by attending Move Over AIPAC, a gathering in Washington DC from May 21-24, 2011, to expose AIPAC and build the vision for a new US foreign policy in the Middle East! More information can be found at www.MoveOverAIPAC.org.

More articles by:

Alice Rothchild is a physician, author, and filmmaker who has focused her interest in human rights and social justice on the Israel/Palestine conflict since 1997.  She practiced ob-gyn for almost 40 years. Until her recent retirement she served as Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harvard Medical School. She writes and lectures widely, is the author of Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience, and On the Brink: Israel and Palestine on the Eve of the 2014 Gaza Invasion. She directed a documentary film, Voices Across the Divide and is active in Jewish Voice for Peace.

January 21, 2019
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Peter Crowley
Outsourcing Still Affects Us: This and AI Worker Displacement Need Not be Inevitable
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail