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Questions about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
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This hub is addressing the issues raised by Mearsheimer and Walt in their book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. This analysis and review may or may not necessarily represent my personal views but it encourages an honest look at AIPAC and its influence on the U.S. Foreign policy and domestic politics. My sincerest apologies if anyone is offended however I will not apologize nor be categorized into a "pro Israeli" or "anti Israeli" categories. My views support Palestinian rights and Israeli rights to coexist in peace in the Middle East without foreign powers (meaning Western, Arab and Eastern powers) interfering in their attempts for dialogue and peace.
What are the major issues AIPAC appears to be concerned about and why?
AIPACS’s primary focus has been on Israel’s territorial national security. The issues that bother AIPAC today are Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Hezbollah’s armed incursions from the North, Hamas’s influence in the West Bank and Gaza and the issue of a Palestinian homeland, Syria as a regional Arab power, Israel’s bad image in UN with regards to Palestinian human rights, the control of Jerusalem, American Aid for defense and territorial integrity. AIPAC focuses on the threats mentioned above because they intend to deprive the Jewish state’s land and right to exist as a sovereign entity with definite borders. For example, the Iranian president has clearly voiced his opinion about the destruction of Israel and is vigorously seeking nuclear capabilities to back his country’s opposition to a Jewish state. In response to many threats like this, Israel seeks to nullify the Arab threat to its existence. Since AIPAC concerns are synonymous to Israel’s, the threats mentioned above are a cause of great concern to Jewish state’s supporters.
Obama at AIPAC
How is AIPAC seeking to address those issues?
AIPAC makes Israel’s problems America’s problems. By equating Israel’s and America’s issues, AIPAC deceives the US government to act for itself, while really securing Israel’s goals. AIPAC primary strategy to deal the threats mentioned above is by forcing the US government to publicly talk about its pro-Israel position angering the Arab states, and fight its battles at the cost of its own security while Israel silently benefits. The United States has strongly condemned Iran for its nuclear program, rejected Hamas though they were elected in the parliament as representatives of the Palestinian people, toppled Iraq while it posed no threat for the US, threatens sanctions on Syria while it has tried to cooperate with the CIA, and condemns any resolution in the UN which criticizes Israel’s violation of human rights. An example of AIPAC’S influence against Iran is the Iran Non-proliferations Act of 2000 which requires the president to sanction any company that supplies missile technology to Iran. Furthermore, Israel has received the greatest amount of foreign aid without any restrictions unlike any other country. Hence, AIPAC has made the US a pack mule of Israel, to fight her wars and sustain her with billions of American tax payer dollars to her own detriment.
To what extent does AIPAC influence American foreign policy in the Middle East? Is AIPAC good for the United States or not?
AIPAC controls American foreign policy to a very large extent that is severely detrimental to the well being of the United States. AIPAC exerts its control firstly through Jewish Senators and congressmen and even non Jewish neoconservative senators and representatives. It is safe to say that the US congress represents Israel, not the American people. Israel’s policies receive no criticism in congress but only firm support even when it is detrimental to US security. AIPAC exerts more influence through pro-Israel congressional staffers, who control the drafts, speeches and the daily activities which actually dictate the policies. Thirdly and very importantly by controlling election funds through political action committees who gives money to the candidate who supports Israel and punishes anyone who does not. Fourthly, AIPAC sidelines the Library of congress and congressional research archives and gives information suitable to Israel’s needs and all causes that ultimately lead to that. Fifthly, they exert control in the executive Branch by making sure that the people who get in to top policy making positions are pro Israel. The president’s choice is sidelined. Sixthly they control the media and force them to proclaim pro Israeli stances, if not be faced with boycotts and demonstrations. Seventhly, they inflict the charge of “anti Semitism” on anyone who opposes Israeli policy regardless his position or how terrible the policy is.
AIPAC is not good whatsoever for the Unites States of America. The success of AIPAC is a testament to the unraveling of our democracy. The US government, from its actions does not promote its own interests but the interests of another nation! AIPAC does not influence the US government, society and people, it controls them. While lasting peace and evenhanded approach can bring peace, AIPAC is the chief obstacle making the US more prone to terrorism and anger from the Arabs, who have a lot more to offer. Israel has been an unfaithful ally to the United States is usually not there for anything that supports American interests, but diverts needed finances and attention of the US government away from their own people. American democracy is being controlled by someone else!
Why do you believe so many American politicians attend AIPAC's annual "Policy Conference."
American politicians attend AIPAC’s annual policy conference because they are forced to. They attend the policy conference to learn the about what Israel needs next, and how that is important to America. However, there is also another need. It is AIPAC who controls election committees and funds from the grass roots level to top positions. If the politicians want to receive election funds from AIPAC, they must dance to their tune. This conference is not only to show the myth that Israel’s problems are America’s problems, but to entice congressmen, senators and executive policy makers and ensuring their cooperation through election support and funds. The politicians go there to be assured that they get their continued support from AIPAC to keep their seats.
Do you agree with Mearsheimer's and Walt's arguement about the Israel lobby? Why or why not?
I fully agree with their argument about the dangerous control of the Israel Lobby. Their evidence that America has neither a strategic gain, nor a moral obligation to Israel is very convincing. America receives nothing of trade value from Israel compared to the Arabs, who not only sell oil, but also are open markets for US goods. The cold war rhetoric of Israel being a strategic ally in the middle east is nonsense. America’s true ally should have been the Arabs because it is they who had the oil and it is they who dominated the Middle East. If America showed an even handed approach to the Arabs, the economic and political relationship that is truly needed for America would have been secured. I am not saying that America should have ignored Israel, but to take a stance obviously disadvantageous to the American interests proves Mearshiemer’s and Walt’s argument, that it is Israel Lobby that forces American politicians to act against their own interests in favor of another nation. Morally speaking, the Jews have had a difficult past, but that does not endow them with any special rights whatsoever. There are many other nations which have much more to offer the US than Israel, who is a burden to the US government and people. They are equally guilty of acts of terrorism, violence and espionage. They have ignored the rights of the Palestinian people and suppress all attempts to give them nationhood. Thus, logically speaking, the US has no reason to support Israel the way it lavishly does. The only remaining explanation for America’s odd actions in the Middle East is the Israel Lobby, which just like a virus is hidden on American soil leeching the money, time and efforts of American politicians and people for their selfish ambition and at the cost of Americans.
Based on the work by Mearsheimer and Walt, what is your general reaction to AIPAC? Are you comfortable with AIPAC's level of influence in the US?
To say the least, I am severely disgusted with AIPAC. I am not comfortable at all with AIPAC or any such organization dictating American foreign policy, domestic policy or for that matter any policy. Their control of our government is violation America’s firm belief in democracy, which requires consent of the governed. AIPAC’s policies have hampered the US government from finding a lasting peace in the Middle East by blindly favoring Israel. AIPAC perverts the views and goals of the US government to point where it hurts itself. Israel is not a special nation to receive one iota of special treatment either in aid or any other form. By openly supporting Israel and isolating the Arab states which are of true economic and strategic value to the United States, AIPAC has caused great problems one of which terrorism against US soil. Terrorism was meant against Israelis, not Americans. But when America was seen as a full fledged supporter of Israel ignoring Arab demands, concessions, economic offers, it is not a surprise that radical Islamic groups began to hate the US. The US government is for the American people, not Israelis. The casualties of these mishaps and AIPAC’s selfish ambition are difficulties for the American public, namely the middle and lower classes.
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