Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The power of AIPAC and its influence on American foreign policiy

Dana Milbank:



How much clout does AIPAC have?

Well, consider that during the pro-Israel lobby's annual conference yesterday, a fleet of police cars, sirens wailing, blocked intersections and formed a motorcade to escort buses carrying its conventioneers -- to lunch.

The annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has long produced a massive show of bipartisan pandering, as lawmakers praise the well-financed and well-connected group. But this has been a rough year for AIPAC -- it has dismissed its policy director and another employee while the FBI examines whether they passed classified U.S. information to Israel -- and the organization is eager to show how big it is.

AIPAC has many friends in both the Republican and Democratic parties:

The morning brought Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the evening brought congressional leaders, and at a luncheon "debate" in between, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and informal administration foreign policy adviser Richard N. Perle tried to one-up each other in pro-Israel views.

Perle drew cheers for denouncing Palestinian anti-Semitism and the French. Harman mentioned that an aide once worked for AIPAC, called her audience "very sophisticated" and celebrated Yasser Arafat's death as "a blessing." Debating a hard-liner in front of a pro-administration crowd, Harman heaped praise on President Bush, calling the Iraqi elections "sensationally impressive" and moving to "applaud" or "commend" Perle and the administration a dozen times. "Richard is right, and so is President Bush," she said at one point.

But after half an hour of this, Harman could not keep up. Perle provoked cheers from the crowd when he favored a military raid on Iran, saying that "if Iran is on the verge of a nuclear weapon, I think we will have no choice but to take decisive action." When Harman said the "best short-term option" is the U.N. Security Council, the crowd reacted with boos.

AIPAC is a demanding crowd, and even Rice, introduced as a "very special friend," did not satisfy universally. The participants applauded heartily her reminder that Bush did not meet with Arafat, but when she said Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas, "is committed to both freedom and security," and when she mentioned more U.S. funds for Palestinians, the room was quiet.

Likewise, Rice's call for Arab states to "establish normal relations with Israel" earned an extended ovation; her reminder that Israel must not "jeopardize the true viability of the Palestinian state" did not.

Pentagon analyst faces new charge

NeoconGate: The Movie

The Franklin Affair: A Spreading Treason

Pentagon Analyst Faces New Charges

Ex-Analyst Is Expected to Face New Charges

1 Comments:

At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harman is Jewish; I think this information is perhaps a bit more significant than the fact that one of her aides once worked for AIPAC.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


View My Stats