Thursday, March 22, 2007

Soros on AIPAC... power shifts

David Seaton's News Links
What George Soros says, in his NYRB piece abstracted below, is what you can read in any progressive blog, or in any European, (or for that matter Israeli) newspaper.

The significance is that these home truths are being stated by George Soros in a prestigious American publication. Important people with worldwide prestige, like Soros, Judt or Carter are stepping forward to criticize AIPAC following the pioneering report by Mearsheimer and Walt. They step forward knowing full well the kind of slander and insults they are going to be subjected to. They also know that those insults and slander prove every criticism of theirs to be true.

They are doing something very brave and at the same of vital importance, because AIPAC is one of the most sinister organizations in contemporary America.

One thing that I think should be made clear, although AIPAC is Jewish, it is much more an American
phenomena than a Jewish phenomena. It has everything to do with the masculine identity crisis of middle aged, American white men of all denominations and much less about Judaism or antisemitism... The cloak of victim-hood obtained by the Jewish identity is just a convenient disguise for a type of behavior much too familiar in American life and which would not be acceptable if not for that mantle. With the Iraq war the AIPAC has gone "A Bridge Too Far". George Soros, who really knows from personal experience what true antisemitism is, knows that this is a matter that the Jewish community itself must clean up before the damage spreads. DS
George Soros: On Israel, America and AIPAC - New York Review of Books

Abstract: The Bush administration is once again in the process of committing a major policy blunder in the Middle East, one that is liable to have disastrous consequences and is not receiving the attention it should. This time it concerns the Israeli–Palestinian relationship. The Bush administration is actively supporting the Israeli government in its refusal to recognize a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas, which the US State Department considers a terrorist organization. This precludes any progress toward a peace settlement at a time when progress on the Palestinian problem could help avert a conflagration in the greater Middle East.(...) While other problem areas of the Middle East are freely discussed, criticism of our policies toward Israel is very muted indeed. The debate in Israel about Israeli policy is much more open and vigorous than in the United States. This is all the more remarkable because Palestine is the issue that more than any other currently divides the United States from Europe. Some European governments, according to reports, would like to end the economic boycott of Hamas once a unity government is successfully established. But the US has said it would not. One explanation is to be found in the pervasive influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which strongly affects both the Democratic and the Republican parties.[2] AIPAC's mission is to ensure American support for Israel but in recent years it has overreached itself. It became closely allied with the neocons and was an enthusiastic supporter of the invasion of Iraq. It actively lobbied for the confirmation of John Bolton as US ambassador to the United Nations. It continues to oppose any dialogue with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas. More recently, it was among the pressure groups that prevailed upon the Democratic House leadership to drop the requirement that the President obtain congressional approval before taking military action against Iran. AIPAC under its current leadership has clearly exceeded its mission, and far from guaranteeing Israel's existence, has endangered it.(...) The pro-Israel lobby has been remarkably successful in suppressing criticism.[4] Politicians challenge it at their peril because of the lobby's ability to influence political contributions. When Howard Dean called for an evenhanded policy toward Israel in 2004, his chances of getting the nomination were badly damaged (although it was his attempt, after his defeat in Iowa, to shout above the crowd that sealed his fate). Academics had their advancement blocked and think-tank experts their funding withdrawn when they stepped too far out of line. Following his criticism of repressive Israeli policy on the West Bank, former president Jimmy Carter has suffered the loss of some of the financial backers of his center.(...) Whether the Democratic Party can liberate itself from AIPAC's influence is highly doubtful. Any politician who dares to expose AIPAC's influence would incur its wrath; so very few can be expected to do so. It is up to the American Jewish community itself to rein in the organization that claims to represent it. But this is not possible without first disposing of the most insidious argument put forward by the defenders of the current policies: that the critics of Israel's policies of occupation, control, and repression on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem and Gaza engender anti-Semitism. The opposite is the case. One of the myths propagated by the enemies of Israel is that there is an all-powerful Zionist conspiracy. That is a false accusation. Nevertheless, that AIPAC has been so successful in suppressing criticism has lent some credence to such false beliefs. Demolishing the wall of silence that has protected AIPAC would help lay them to rest. A debate within the Jewish community, instead of fomenting anti-Semitism, would only help diminish it.

No comments: