Sunday, September 30, 2012

Aipac: Israel’s Agent Feeling Squeezed?

by Franklin Lamb

The American Israel public affairs committee (AIPAC) has seen headier days according to US congressional staffers forced to work regularly with the pro-Zionist agent of Israel. The grip of fear and the lock on Congress that the Israel first organization has long touted in its service to Israel may be weakening against a backdrop of American Jews rejecting the increasing rants of Prime Minister Netanyahu that are driving many Jews to distance themselves from him, from AIPAC, from other Arabphobic US Zionist organizations, and from Israel.

AIPAC tells some Congressional aids that fund raising is hurting and it can’t keep promises it made to certain candidates that it would arrange “indirect” funding for their current election campaigns. This at the same time Netanyahu is increasingly becoming the butt of jokes across the Israeli and American political spectrum. Several in his cabinet and member s of the US Congress reportedly consider him an embarrassment. A perception likely added to by his recent General Assembly cartoon gimmick and his repeated Nazi style arm and hand gestures that were widely distributed by the main stream American media outlets especially Reuters, AP and even the Zionist Drudge Report.

In addition, there are signs that some members of congress and their staffs, who are heavily lobbied by AIPAC to donate cash, are beginning to chaff at heavy handed AIPAC fundraising tactics.

Perhaps reflecting financial pressures on its free spending policies including astronomical administration costs in the 75% range, on 9/24/12, Jonathan Missner, AIPAC’s Director of National Affairs and Development sent out more 500,000 emails in a desperate and thinly veiled bid to raise cash to defeat Obama.

Wrote Missner:

Dear Friend of Israel:

I am writing because we have not yet heard from you, and your support is greatly needed by September 30th.

As I’m sure you know, Israel and America are now facing serious threats throughout the Middle East. In recent months alone we have seen:

* Protestors in multiple Arab countries storm U.S. embassies, burn American and Israeli flags, and chant “death to America, death to Israel,” amidst false reports that a video was created by an Israeli Jew and backed by 100 Jewish financiers.

* Iran sent military personnel and large quantities of weapons across to Syria to aid the Assad regime’s violent crackdown.

* A deadly terror attack along the Egypt-Israel border that killed 16 Egyptians and enabled terrorists to penetrate into Israel.

* Leaders in Iran and its regional proxies increased their vitriol against Israel. The frequency and intensity of these recent statements has been troubling: “Anyone who loves freedom and justice must strive for the annihilation of the Zionist regime.” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (August 17th).
* If you’re like most pro-Israel Americans, these events have made you more scared for Israel’s existence than you’ve likely felt in many years.
* But as you watch these dangers continue to unfold, it is important to remember there is something you can do to help keep Israel safe.
* You can join AIPAC, and help ensure that our leaders in Washington speak out clearly and unequivocally in support of Israel and that the aggressions shown toward our greatest ally Israel must immediately cease.
* At this dangerous time, the number one strategic answer to the threats facing Israel is for America to express – in every possible way- an unwavering, unshakable commitment to Israel.
* We must ensure that President Obama speaks out for Israel.
* We must ensure that America stands by its full commitment to Israel’s security assistance for fiscal year 2013, which is vital for Israel to be able to defend herself.
* And we must ensure that America continues to pledge 100% of its diplomatic support to Israel.
* We must do all of this, so that we can send a strong and loud message that America stands by Israel and that any attacks on Israel’s security is an attack on America’s security.”

AIPAC appears to be failing in carrying out its orders from the Israeli Embassy in Washington “to defeat Obama, whatever is required.” The latest polls, including two commissioned by the American Jewish Committee and one from the Anti-Defamation League show Obama likely avoiding defeat on November 6th that Tel Aviv hoped his combative attitude toward Israel would produce. Obama currently leads Mitt Romney by a 69-20 percent margin among likely Jewish voters. If these polls hold, while they represent a marked decline from the 78 percent of the Jewish vote Obama got in 2008, they show Romney’s promise to put Israel “first no matter what “ is not resonating with American Jews. By even garnering 25% of the Jewish vote this shows there is plenty of resistance to the Romney candidacy on a variety of domestic social issues that increasingly among the American public matter more than Israel’s perceived zany schemes. These poll projections may have been reflected at the UN last week when Netanyahu appeared to back off a bit from his pillorying of the Obama administration as being weak on terrorism.

Meanwhile, according to an Arab American Institute (AAI) poll, 52 percent of all Arab-Americans say they plan to vote for Obama, compared to 26 percent who have declared their support for Romney. Broken down by religion, Arab American Muslims support Obama overwhelmingly (75% to 8%), while Orthodox/Protestants support Romney by a 16% margin. According to the poll, Arab American Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-1 margin (46% to 22%), continuing a steady migration away from the GOP toward the Democratic Party since 2002.

Congressional staffers report that the Obama White House is rejecting the tactics being employed behind its back to assert pressure for the “red lines” that Netanyahu’s has been pushing and that the administration is aware that AIPAC is actively working to defeat President Obama on November 6th.

What is confusing many in the American Jewish community appears to be the same as what perplexes a growing segment of the non-Jewish American public. And that is Netanyahu’s nonsense over Iranian progress in having nuclear weapons and the history of this “the sky is falling-we must cry wolf!” canard...

Congressional sources insist that White House staff will not forget Netanyahu’s blatant attempts to humiliate and defeat their boss.

The American public, as well as the international community are exhibiting exhaustion over this incessant hysteria which was summed up recently by Professor Stephen M. Walt, writing in Foreign Policy. “Those prophesying war with Iran are starting to sound like those wacky cult leaders who keep predicting the End of the World, and then keep moving the date when the world doesn’t end on schedule. At what point are we going to stop paying attention?”

One Congressional source emailed this observer: “Time will tell if next year’s AIPAC conference finds President Obama or any of his top aides on its program.”

Franklin Lamb is a former Assistant Counsel, US House Judiciary Committee and Professor of International Law at Northwestern College of Law in Oregon. He earned his Law Degree at Boston University and his LLM, M.Phil., and PhD degrees at the London School of Economics. Following three years at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Lamb was visiting fellow at the Harvard Law School’s East Asian Legal Studies Center. Lamb is the author of Israel’s 1982 War in Lebanon, International Legal Responsibility for the Sabra-Shatila Massacre, The Price We Pay. His latest book, The Case for Palestinian Civil Rights in Lebanon, is due out shortly. Currently based in Lebanon, he volunteers with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign and the Sabra-Shatila Foundation

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