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

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.

Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
Brian Saady
How the “Cocaine Mitch” Saga Deflected the Spotlight on Corruption
David Swanson
Tim Kaine’s War Scam Hits a Speed Bump
Norah Vawter
Pipeline Outrage is a Human Issue, Not a Political Issue
Mel Gurtov
Who’s to Blame If the US-North Korea Summit Isn’t Held?
Patrick Bobilin
When Outrage is Capital
Jessicah Pierre
The Moral Revolution America Needs
Binoy Kampmark
Big Dead Place: Remembering Antarctica
John Carroll Md
What Does It Mean to be a Physician Advocate in Haiti?
George Ochenski
Saving Sage Grouse: Another Collaborative Failure
Sam Husseini
To the US Government, Israel is, Again, Totally Off The Hook
Brian Wakamo
Sick of Shady Banks? Get a Loan from the Post Office!
Colin Todhunter
Dangerous Liaison: Industrial Agriculture and the Reductionist Mindset
Ralph Nader
Trump: Making America Dread Again
George Capaccio
Bloody Monday, Every Day of the Week
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Swing Status, Be Gone
Samantha Krop
Questioning Our Declaration on Human Rights
Morna McDermott
Classrooms, Not Computers: Stop Educating for Profit
Patrick Walker
Today’s Poor People’s Campaign: Too Important Not to Criticize
Julia Stein
Wrestling With Zionism
Clark T. Scott
The Exceptional President
Barry Barnett
The Family of Nations Needs to Stand Up to the US  
Robert Koehler
Two Prongs of a Pitchfork
Bruce Raynor
In an Age of Fake News, Journalists Should be Activists for Truth
Max Parry
The U.S. Won’t Say ‘Genocide’ But Cares About Armenian Democracy?
William Gudal
The History of Israel on One Page
Robert Jensen
Neither cis nor TERF
Louis Proyect
Faith or Action in a World Hurtling Toward Oblivion?
David Yearsley
The Ubiquitous Mr. Desplat
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail