Finally, Somebody Dares to Hit Back at AIPAC

Yoana Gonen
Yoana Gonen
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Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders rallies with supporters in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. February 29, 2020.
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders rallies with supporters in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. February 29, 2020.Credit: JONATHAN ERNST/ REUTERS
Yoana Gonen
Yoana Gonen

About a month ago ads began appearing on Facebook against three U.S. Democratic congresswomen: Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Betty McCollum. Alongside their photos a petition appeared claiming that “radicals in Congress are threatening the U.S.-Israel relationship,” and that this threat was “more sinister” than that of Hamas, Hezbollah and ISIS.

Tlaib and Omar are Muslims and so it’s clear why from a racist perspective they are “radical” by their very essence. McCollum was on the list of existential threats because of a bill she proposed seeking to prohibit countries that receive American aid from using it to arrest children. The bill was proposed in light of the extent of interrogations and arrests of Palestinian minors by Israel, sometimes using violence and threats.

Bibi went gunning for his only real rival

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One might assume that ads in which American legislators are depicted as ISIS would have been placed by the Republican Party. But no, the ads were posted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the American Jewish lobby group that purports to be bipartisan. It’s hard to imagine a more bipartisan issue than opposition to the abuse of children. But apparently, to AIPAC, if the children are Palestinian, each of their little bodies is a potential terror cell and their legal and moral rights disappear.

The ads were removed following a public outcry, but they show the true face of AIPAC, which spends tens of millions of dollars a year on promoting clearly right-wing policies. AIPAC supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq, opposed the nuclear agreement with Iran, worked enthusiastically against the ban of products from the settlements, among other things. Like the right wing in Israel, AIPAC uses baseless claims of anti-Semitism to repel criticism of the occupation and the settlements, while it is happy to ignore open anti-Semitism when it comes from the Christian right wing.

This is a bipartisan agenda the way Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s agenda is bipartisan, and about as good for Israel as he is.

And so Senator Bernie Sanders’ announcement that he would not appear at this year’s AIPAC conference because the organization provides a platform “for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights, was entirely justified. Moreover, it is precisely the kick that politicians on the American left should have delivered to help smash the false veneer surrounding the gloating AIPAC organization.

Every election year, candidates – both Republican and Democrat – come to the AIPAC convention to garner its leaders’ support. They would rather not get on the wrong side of an organization that is prepared to invest millions against its adversaries and in favor of its friends, and AIPAC wins legitimization for its dangerous position and its false image as bipartisan.

In the wake of Sanders’ comments, Democratic candidates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar announced that they, too, would not attend the convention, citing campaign scheduling; Elizabeth Warren said she would not attend and mumbled something about the “two-state solution;” the Jewish billionaire Michael Bloomberg will proudly speak at the event. It seems like what is needed is a person who is both Jewish and a real leftist, like Sanders, to show that the emperor has no clothes.

It is hoped that this is the first step on the way to an American administration that will take a critical look at the military aid to Israel. Every junkie needs friends who enable their habit, and for too many years now the United States has been funding Israel’s addiction to power and annexation.