In response to my article today, a long-time reader commented as follows:
“What’s needed is an Eliot-Ness-type figure to bring down this AIPAC mafia. But where is one to be found in this post-heroic era?”
I thought it was worth bringing my response over here, because I think this sort of thinking, while certainly based on being well-informed and thoughtful, is ultimately self-defeating and unnecessary.
I don’t think that’s what’s needed. in fact, I think that approach is part of the problem. Sure, AIPAC has done some shady things in its history. That’s also true of other lobbying groups, incidentally. But the bulk of their success is due to things that are perfectly legal–propagandizing, badgering their opponents, and directing campaign funds. Most of all, straightforward lobbying of elected officials.
Even if AIPAC was less connected to the Israeli government per se, they’d still have a lot of the effect they do. In part, that is due to the fact that they capitalize on the sorts of things I describe in the article above–American idealization, almost deification, of Israel as a military power, American anti-Muslim/anti-Arab bigotry, and the stability of Israel as a country and an ally. While Israel often spits in the face of US desires, the Israeli government knows exactly when it needs to stand by the US–usually when no one else will. Continue reading