We won’t miss Michael Oren, an Israeli ambassador to the US so in thrall to the Israeli right he actually considers J Street anti-Israel. But the rumored replacement, Ron Dermer is even farther to the right. He is, at least, more forthright than Oren. I explore at LobeLog.
Posts Tagged ‘Democrats’
Posted in US-Israel Lobby, tagged AIPAC, AIPAC Conference 2013, American support for Israel, Bill Maher, Chuck Hagel, Democrats, GOP, Hagel, Israel Lobby, J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace, Michael Kassen, MJ Rosenberg, Polls, Republicans, Saturday Night Live, sequester, SNL Hagel skit, The Israel Lobby on March 7, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
This article was originally published by LobeLog, an indispensable source for foreign policy news and analysis. Check it out.
The 2013 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference wasn’t quite the same show of arrogant power that it usually is. There seems to have been a note of unusual concern among the 13,000 or so assembled activists. And those concerns echo some of what AIPAC’s detractors have been saying for some time.
The tone was set by AIPAC’s president, Michael Kassen at the beginning of the conference. In what Ha’aretz reporter Chemi Shalev described as “… an uncharacteristic ‘adapt or die’ alarm to the American Jewish community,” Kassen warned of “the growing allure of isolationism among our new leaders”, which would include an aversion to difficult foreign policy issues…like Israel.
Kassen urged the AIPAC activists to expand the base from its overwhelmingly Jewish one, and highlighted the participation of representatives from the African-American and Latino communities in the conference. Yet, despite this outreach, The Forward’s Natan Guttman reports that “…a look at the audience made clear that AIPAC is still largely an organization made up of white Jewish activists.”
There’s more here. Orthodox Jews are disproportionately represented at AIPAC. The Orthodox community represents around 15% of all US Jews. Support among non-orthodox Jews has been dwindling in a hurry, and despite intense efforts by AIPAC to reach out to younger Jews, the crowd is heavily skewed toward grey hair. Guttman also reports that an AIPAC official he spoke to rejected the idea that AIPAC had lost many liberal Jews to the more dovish pro-Israel group J Street by saying that “…if anything, liberal activists are turning away from the issue of Israel altogether and are not seeking a different kind of political approach.”
What AIPAC seems to be facing is the fact that its base, while very active and willing to mobilize considerable wealth as well as time and energy to support the AIPAC agenda, is aging and increasingly out of touch with most Americans. This is something commentators like myself, MJ Rosenberg and groups like Jewish Voice for Peace have been contending for quite some time. And this is only the tip of the iceberg of AIPAC’s problems. (more…)
Posted in Arab Spring, Barack Obama, tagged Bahrain, Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, democracy, Democrats, Iran, Islam, Israel, John Boehner, Middle east, Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, Qatar, Religion, Republicans, Secularism, Sheikh Khalifa, United States on November 9, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
In my latest piece for Souciant, I look at what President Obama can do to create a more positive view of the United States in the Arab world, and how some steps that need to be taken in response to the Arab Spring can actually help move the politics around Israeli-Palestinian peace forward. In turn, that forward motion would also, obviously, help enhance the US’ standing in the Arab world, a pleasant symbiosis that I highly doubt Obama will pursue.
Posted in Democrats, US-Israel Lobby, tagged AIPAC, Antonio Villaraigosa, Avigdor Lieberman, Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, Democrats, Golda Meir, Israel, Israel Lobby, J StreetPAC, Joe Biden, Lyndon Johnson, Mitt Romney, Palestine, Republicans, United States, West Bank, Yitzhak Rabin on November 2, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
In my latest piece for Souciant, I look at the opportunity for change that exists right now. In the attempt to change US Mideast policy, we get opportunities from time to time, though they are rarely great opportunities. This one isn’t that dramatic, but it is the sort of starting point we have regularly bypassed. If we had taken one such years ago, we would be in a very different place today.
This space is normally devoted exclusively to the Middle East. But the absolute insanity that has gripped Washington all of my life has reached a new height these days, and so I break here with “something completely different.”
At this writing, Congress has authorized spending cuts of $38 billion, and sent a bill to the President so that the government can continue operation until September.
“There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.”
As is so often the case with this president, the words sound good, but the actions don’t match the rhetoric. Obama and the Democrats in Congress are faced with Republicans in overdrive; the GOP is rushing to squeeze the few pennies poor and middle class Americans have left for no better reason than to make the rich even richer. (more…)