Should AIPAC craft policy to be bipartisan or pro-Israel? Should a pro-Israel policy support Israel’s policies or chart a different course?

T. Belman. Read this carefully. AIPAC appears to fashion its policies on what would keep it bipartisan rather than on what is good for Israel. I always thought that AIPAC existed to fight Israel’s battles in Congress. No longer. Why does AIPAC stay committed to the two-state solution or stand against settlement construction. If Trump gives Israel a lot of leeway to build will AIPAC remain against settlement construction? If it backed the new policy, it will lose their bipartisan appeal.

Shmuel Rosner in Notes from AIPAC: The lobby’s greatest battle of all time writes “(AIPAC) is battling the forces that make America a much more polarized society, a place in which a consensus, or a bipartisan cause, are a rarity.” and asks “Is it really in AIPAC’s power to prevent Israel from falling “victim to the same divisiveness that overwhelms nearly every other political issue?”


Their message was clear: AIPAC is a deeply bipartisan organization, and will continue to represent the political center in Washington that is committed to a two-state outcome.

Several lobbies in Washington have pioneered the two-state solution in recent years, but the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has not been one of them, offering what Democrats considered lip service to US-led peace initiatives conducted throughout the Obama administration.

The largest Israel advocacy organization in America has focused on other matters, such as sanctioning Iran, maintaining US defense aid and combating efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state. Establishing an independent, viable Palestine has not been a significant agenda item. But that appeared to change this week, as senior AIPAC officials bent over backwards to emphasize their support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiated directly between the two parties.

In private, AIPAC’s leadership told senior correspondents, lobbyists and government officials that the two-state paradigm remains their sincere preference.

Their message was clear: AIPAC is a deeply bipartisan organization, and will continue to represent the political center in Washington that is committed to a two-state outcome.

It is a tactical effort. AIPAC’s influence on Capitol Hill, for which it is so well known, is predicated on robust bipartisan support.

But that foundation has eroded on the Left amid politicization of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Washington and direction confrontations with Democrats over Iran’s nuclear program.

The lobby seeks to shore up that support by reestablishing the trust of those on the Left who prioritize the establishment of a Palestinian state.

With Republicans in control of a unified government, AIPAC has an opportunity to do what J Street did for the last eight years – overtly align itself with the party in power.

But as it has in the past, AIPAC is choosing to play a longer game, treating this moment instead as an opportunity to appeal to wounded Democrats and express its commitment to the issues they care most deeply for.

AIPAC’s effort has been bolstered by US President Donald Trump’s careful and deliberate yet enthusiastic drive toward a new round of direct negotiations. Because of Trump’s interest in Israeli-Palestinian peace, AIPAC is able to appeal to Democrats on two states without ostracizing the administration.

“We will always talk about our achieving peace through negotiations between the parties, with the goal of a two-state solution,” said one AIPAC official ahead of the lobby’s annual policy conference this week. “The two-state solution has been, and continues to be the goal that we aspire to, and that will be a message we’ll continue to send through the conference.”

March 28, 2017 | 8 Comments »

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  1. AIPAC is an AMERICAN lobby, working to educate and influence Congress to support a strong US-Israel relationship because that is in AMERICA’s interest, as well as Israel’s.

    Being “pro-Israel” means supporting the policies of the democratically elected government of Israel (with all its flaws) rather than trying to tell the people who are represented by that government what WE think is best for them. In that regard, AIPAC is falling short.

  2. :
    The prime directive of a bureaucracy is to *expand* and secure higher funding for itself.

  3. AIPAC is a conglomerate fronting for a large number of self serving satellite organizations and Israel is at best an afterthought for the vast majority of the “majers” in there. Israel must chart it own course and let the foreigners do as they please while making sure they do not betray our and the US national interests.
    Certainly, AIPAC, if they so wish may donate or otherwise contribute to Jewish causes hare while totally staying away from political intent.

  4. AIPAC has no choice because it is comprised of people of many opinions, and the slogan of bipartisanship sounds good to all. IF the leadership of AIPAC would have led otherwise, it could have caused serious crisis in AIPAC.

  5. What is AIPAC needed for exactly?

    Shouldn’t charitable foundations be like the Rosenwald foundation that used up its money on its intended recipients and then closed its doors?

    “He insisted his own foundation should spend energetically so as to close up shop within 25 years of his death, and thus avoid the sclerosis he was already observing in permanent endowments.”

    And how many foundations can make a claim approaching this:

    By 1932, the year Julius died, an astonishing 4,977 Rosenwald schools, and 380 complementary buildings, had been erected in every Southern locale with a significant black population. Fully 35 percent of all black children in the South (and 27 percent of black children period) were educated that year in a Rosenwald school. America would be a very different, and lesser, nation absent this philanthropic inspiration (which outflanked a scandalous dereliction of duty by a variety of governments).”

    “Recipients of Julius Rosenwald’s seminal Rosenwald Fund for African American artists and intellectuals include Marian Anderson, James Baldwin, Julian Bond, Ralph Bunche, W.E.B. DuBois, Katherine Dunham, Ralph Ellison, John Hope Franklin, Zora Neale Hurston, Jacob Lawrence, Dr. Charles Drew, Langston Hughes, Augusta Savage, and Gordon Parks. Addressing needs brought about by the Great Migration, Rosenwald also funded the building of housing and YMCAs for African Americans.”

    “Religious motivations were an immediate spur for Rosenwald’s philanthropy. His rabbi, Emil Hirsch, taught him that “property entails duties.”

  6. Most unfortunately, AIPAC has been left a Hobson’s choice: Be bi-partisan or pro-Israel.
    It is the irony of ironies that Israel is now the target of polemics about rejecting the two-state solution. Since its founding, Israel has never wavered from the concept of peace based on mutual recognition of Jewish and Arab sovereignty over their respective lands. The Arabs, however, have rejected this from the onset.