Santa Claus and the Israel Lobby

AIPAC-620x350Like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, the Israel Lobby is a myth. AIPAC, like jolly bearded men sitting in shopping malls, exists. And like the men with fake beards and pillows under their red coats, it goes through the motions. Its activists lobby, its events attract politicians and the one thing that it and its enemies agree on is its vast sphere of political influence that, like Santa, is absolutely everywhere.

If you believe AIPAC, it’s an incredibly effective organization. If you believe its enemies, AIPAC runs America and parts of Canada. It’s not an accusation that AIPAC denies too hard. Mall Santas don’t deny that they have flying reindeer waiting for them on the roof. AIPAC is a fat man in a rented red suit and fake beard trying to pretend that it can do anything. But AIPAC would have better luck making reindeer fly than countering the dominant power of the anti-Israel left and the Saudi lobby in Washington D.C.

And that’s because it doesn’t even try.

When the Democratic Party’s platform deleted the usual mention of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, removed a call to boycott Hamas and opposition to the “Right of Return” vocal protests came from Jewish organizations.

AIPAC was not one of them.

DNC aides claimed that AIPAC had reviewed and approved the new party platform, a claim that it denied. AIPAC’s submission contained a reference to Jerusalem, but the organization, often wrongly described as “hard-line” or “right-wing” by the media, made no objection to its omission.

Obama had already rejected two of these points, one overtly and one covertly, with the third yet to come up, making them little more than the fake beard they had been all along. AIPAC, which was being the DNC’s bipartisan fake beard for pro-Israel voters, did not waste time talking about them.

Once the outrage bubbled over, AIPAC, true to form, took credit for restoring Jerusalem. It did not do it to protect Israel. It did it to protect itself.

AIPAC isn’t a pro-Israel lobby. It’s a pro-AIPAC lobby.

If AIPAC didn’t exist, Israel’s enemies would have had to invent it. Its existence gives them a powerful “Israel Lobby” to tilt against. Photos and videos of prominent politicians at AIPAC conferences feed the myth of an organization whose influence reaches into the highest levels of government.

But AIPAC’s influence comes from its lack of influence. When influential politicians are naturally pro-Israel, AIPAC takes credit for it in its donation envelopes. And when they aren’t, AIPAC shuts up.

Under Obama, AIPAC has shut up. It sat out the nomination fight over Chuck Hagel. The former Nebraska senator with ties to the Iran lobby had said, “The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.” If anything, Obama had intimidated AIPAC. Not that AIPAC has ever been hard to intimidate.

AIPAC not only backed down from Obama and Hagel, it even backed down from criticizing J Street’s Congresswoman, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, over her opposition to sanctions on Iran. It supported Congressman Bill Pascrell over a pro-Israel GOP candidate.

If AIPAC can’t take on Schultz and Pascrell, is there any influential Democratic politician it can take on?

AIPAC backed away from a showdown with Obama over Iran sanctions. Instead after pressure from the White House it pulled out all the stops to lobby in favor of Obama’s strikes against Syria. Some asked whether it had now become the pro-Syrian lobby. AIPAC had avoided the Iraq War, but at a phone call allowed itself to be used to push for Syrian military strikes that would have benefited Israel’s enemies.

It was not the first time AIPAC had lobbied for Israel’s enemies. AIPAC had brought the Palestinian Authority’s people to Capitol Hill and still lobbies against any cuts in foreign aid to the front group for the PLO.

AIPAC’s opposition to Rand Paul’s bill cutting off aid to the PA/PLO after its unity agreement with Hamas wasn’t anything new. AIPAC had also opposed Eric Cantor’s proposal in 2010 to separate Israel aid from the rest of the foreign aid budget which would have made it easier to achieve reductions in foreign aid.

AIPAC endorsed the 2007 Ackerman-Boustany letter which called Abbas a “peace partner” and urged more aid to the Palestinian Authority. By signing on, AIPAC was joining the ranks of left-wing Anti-Israel groups such as Peace Now, the Israel Policy Forum and the Arab American Institute.

Around the same time AIPAC neutered a series of divestment initiatives in companies that do business with Iran and Sudan. It was one of many instances in which AIPAC interfered with a pro-Israel initiative.

Why does AIPAC do these things? Its primary mission is to protect its influence. It’s not, as its critics accuse, an arm of Israel in the United States. Instead it’s a Beltway institution whose agenda is driven by insider contacts and favor trading. Like many other Washington lobbies, its commitment to its political networks is far more important than the agenda that it claims to represent.

AIPAC engages in outreach, not to convince politicians to support Israel, but to convince them to support it. It works to solicit any statement of support for Israel as a validation of its existence.

AIPAC is bipartisan. It is bi-everything. It’s for Israel and for the Palestinian Authority. It’s for supporters of Israel and critics of Israel. If you’re a politician who isn’t openly calling for Israel’s destruction, you can stop by AIPAC’s rubber chicken dinners and deliver a speech written by one of your Jewish staffers.

Everyone comes to AIPAC’s conferences for some cheap applause and a line on their election flyer. Attendees leave believing in the illusion of their own influence, but the influence is a photo op and a few hours of a politician’s time. AIPAC doesn’t ask anything too difficult of the politicians who show up and avoids taking any positions that might embarrass them.

Meanwhile the actual support for Israel, more among Republicans than Democrats, has to do with the Jewish State’s popularity in the United States and its ties to the defense industry. That support rarely moves beyond the tangled defense industry relationships which account for the large foreign aid figures.

AIPAC’s contribution is the production of meaningless letters and resolutions. These policy statements, like the support for Jerusalem, never actually become policy. Instead they provide political cover for politicians like John Kerry who talk pro-Israel and act anti-Israel.

These are the fake beards of the politicians who play Santa to AIPAC while AIPAC plays Santa to American Jews. None of it is real, but it is deeply comforting. AIPAC keeps many American Jews from having to grow up and when reality intrudes, as it did when the Democratic Party tossed Jerusalem, it convinces the Democratic Party or the Republican Party to help it lull them back to sleep.

AIPAC’s influence comes from its relationships, but it avoids fights so as not to endanger those relationships. It would rather have a meaningless letter signed by most of the Senate than back a controversial bill that might make a genuine difference.

Like so much of Washington, AIPAC is an establishment. It’s another of the many institutions in the bubble of the nation’s capital that stopped representing the people and began representing themselves.

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  • Brian Williams

    AIPAC is a foreign lobbying group….it should be banned along with pro-Saudi groups as well.

    • http://www.chaverimisrael.org Norbert Haag

      And Santa flies on a reindeer.

    • Gee

      Just a few problems with that moronic comment. AIPAC is an American lobbying group. So racist idiots like you seem to believe that Americans if they are Jewish do not have equal rights with the rest of the Americans? Maybe you should lose your rights because you haven’t the IQ of a gnat.
      As for the Saudi groups – they are FOREIGN AGENTS because they are funded by the Saudi government. They are not banned but registered.
      Why don’t you advocate the blocking by the highest foreign donors? Germany is number one, Canada is number two, UK is number three, Mexico is four.
      Truly a stupid person

      • Bastiat

        Was John F. Kennedy a racist for wanting AIPAC to register as agents for a foreign government?

        • heb macman

          JFK, though immortalized as almost infallible was nothing of the sort… He was plain wrong on AIPAC just as he was wrong on many other issues…

          • Bastiat

            How was JFK wrong about AIPAC? Do you not support labeling CAIR as agents for a foreign government?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      way to upvote yourself

      • Andy_Lewis

        Hopefully he’s not the Brian Williams.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          who knows

    • Tony K.

      Dude you upvoted your own post, talk about depiration.

  • logdon

    I once had a to and fro emailing with the late Barry Rubin.

    We talked of how, if the Jewish lobby was so powerful, how come Israel, amongst the left, is the most defamed country on the planet?

    There was of course grim humour in our discourse on Hollywood, media, the entertainment industry and to paraphrase Hillary Clinton, ‘that vast Zionist conspiracy’.

    It’s a chimera, nothing more, nothing less and suits the current islamophilic narrative to a t.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      it was like the myth of Jewish power in the 1930s

      Because there are individually powerful Jews and these people have their own organizations doesn’t mean that Jews are powerful

      • logdon

        Exactly.

        The Rothchilds much vaunted international influence couldn’t and didn’t stop the Holocaust.

      • HiPlainsDrifter

        Seems these ‘fake bearded phonies of AIPAC, are simply run-of-mill communists with ‘Jewish’ last names, giving the false impression they represent the interests of the Jewish state.

        If you’ve ever seen the anti-Semetic ‘Brother Nathaniel’ on YouTube, this misdirection comes to life.

  • wildjew

    Did Mr. Greenfield mention AIPAC (like Abe Foxman / ADL) supported the forcible uprooting of thousands of peaceful, law-abiding Jews from Gush Katif, Gaza, August 2005? AIPAC would not allow one anti-”disengagement” speaker to address AIPAC delegates at its annual 2005 convention in Washington. AIPAC keeping Israel dependent on American aid is not doing Israel any favors in my view.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      AIPAC bars even more basic pro-Israel stuff than that

    • http://www.themadjewess.com/ The Mad Jewess

      Yep, why do Jews even support this monstrosity of a Jew hating organization

      • Shel Zahav

        Thanks for sharing, Mohammed.

  • Habbgun

    Always miserable to go looking for your hidden sports channel in the hundreds and to have pass through some channel showing an AIPAC conference. Every so called speaker is a Hollywood lawyer. They even champion the ill fitting white yarmulke that Larry David uses as a joke on Curb Your Enthusiasm. These people are 20 minutes a year Jews and their chance to recite crib notes at an AIPAC meeting is there second choice over being elected officer at the right kind of country club. They basically represent their own inflated fees and nothing else.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      exactly

  • FrontPgSubscr

    I hadn’t really known that about AIPAC (why I’m a … frontpgsubscr). Certainly makes sense. How much is America “wormholed” by similar organizations
    pretending, for all intents & purposes, to be ONE thing when, in actuality, they’re
    something altogether different?? In places like Sudan and, in particular, Pakistan,
    such ‘groups’ (for most part) don’t exist!!

  • CDM

    It seems that AIPAC is more of a pro-Democrat money raiser than a pro-Israel group. “Send us money, so we can protect Israel and, by the way, help elect Democrats.” Much like how the SLPC hauls up the “racism” flag when they need to raise some more money from their gullible donor list.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Not even that. They provide bipartisan political cover to anyone who shows up

  • http://www.themadjewess.com/ The Mad Jewess

    Ymch Shmo AIPAC

  • HamBaconEggs

    So apparently AIPAC isn’t “pro-Israel” enough? OK, fair enough. Why don’t they make official what everyone already knows and register as the agent of a [hostile] foreign government. AIPAC, like the usurping jewish supremacist entity it serves, is a parasite feeding on the blood and treasure of the US. Separation of synagogue and state!

    • UCSPanther

      Moron.

      • HamBaconEggs

        Nice self-portrait there, Yitzhak.

        • UCSPanther

          That’s actually you in front of a synagogue…

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      “F” Pal-e-SWINE.

    • reader

      Did you register as HAMAS representative? You’re the one sporting a hostile regime’s flag for your profile.

      • UCSPanther

        Ham and bacon are also forbidden by Islamic law, so our troll here is more of a “useful” idiot…

    • Gee

      Since you don’t know the difference between and PAC and a foreign agent – perhaps you should shut up.

      As for supremacist entity – no Jews are not Islamofascists. We do not want to control the world – we refuse to be controlled by Islamofascists that state they will control the world.

      The only way to peace is to get rid of you and your racism

      • HamBaconEggs

        Presidents Kennedy and Johnson were also apparently “confused” about the difference between a PAC and foreign agent as concerned “Israel,” and the former was certain “shut up” for it.

        Washington is Zionist-occupied territory as much as the West Bank, and everyone in Washington knows if–even if they’ve been bought off my jewish supremacist money. As for your aspirations to achieve “peace” and my “racism,” I didn’t realize that jews were a race.

        • Gee

          Wow you sure proved how stupid you are. Please stop now – we already know that you are a moron, you really don’t have to prove it again

    • Softly Bob

      No proof just rubbish, the sort of rubbish that could only come from a misinformed, paranoid moron.
      You people talk of Jewish supremacy without one shred of proof.
      It can’t be Israel, they’re the most hated country on Earth. They’re not even allowed to build houses in their own country without the U.N. having a fit.
      Jews are less than half-per-cent of the population, yet they’re so powerful according to retards like yourself.

      Is the U.S. president Jewish? No. Is Vladimir Putin Jewish? No.
      Where are these Jewish supremacists trying to take over the World? Do you hear them screeching from the pulpits like Muslim clerics do?
      No.
      Like Adolf Hitler, people who believe in Jewish supremacy are deluded fools. Look what happened to Hitler.
      You people learn nothing from history and are truly amongst the most brain deficient of people. Seriously, do you expect anybody with even half a brain cell to believe in your crap?

      • HamBaconEggs

        Asking for proof of jewish supremacism is like asking for proof that water is wet. Only a jewish extremist or “shabbos goy” (I don’t know which you are) would make such ludicrous demands, and no matter what evidence I supply, you’ll simply accuse me of being an “anti-Semite.” Although I don’t support his far-right and racialist views, David Duke penned a book, “Jewish [sic] Supremacism,” that is a comprehensive and well-researched treatise on the subject. Check it out if you can tear yourself away from those ADL talking points on your lap, Bubbelah.

        • Softly Bob

          Many people have written books on the subject – all false, all nonsense.

        • UCSPanther

          And David Duke is hiding in Ukraine because that is the only place that will pay to hear his nonsense.

    • kertitor

      WHO IS THE PRASITE, YOU BRAINLESS ANTHROPOID ?! Your kind invaded the whole world, ( alas with the keen cooperation of the real supremacists). WHO IS SUCKING THE BLOOD (and welfare) of every country?!

      • HamBaconEggs

        I’m not quite sure what a “PRASITE [sic]” is, nor am I certain which “kind” I am supposed to belong to. Go back to reading your Talmud.

        • kertitor

          I am not against a good argument, but your head is full of David Duke’s ( and many similar opinion makers)” well researched” writings. The only thing you are right is that letter A . And I don’t believe the Duke, Tort, and Icke media. Your recommended literature (Talmud) does not inspire me.

        • Salz86

          Yikes, I just read through all your posts on this website. Far from being someone that is merely concerned with the “plight” of the Palestinians, you’ve revealed yourself to be a real vicious Anti-Semite. You’re not going to deny that you hate Jews, are you?

    • SoCalMike

      The people you’re supporting wouldn’t hesitate to murder you just for the “crime” of your tag name.

      • HamBaconEggs

        And whom exactly am I supporting? The “Mooooslims”? I don’t believe everything I read in the Zionist-controlled media. Yes, there are Muslim supremacists out there, but they are dwarfed in both proportion and influence by jewish supremacists. I speak out against any and all extremism, and this website is ground zero (if you’ll pardon the expression).

        • reader

          I don’t believe that you read anything at all – barring David Duke, who is such a winner that after failing to impress Americans went to Ukraine and did not fare any better there. Next stop is Nigeria, I suppose. May be not – he’s smart enough to figure that his head may be literally on chopping block there. He just won’t tell morons like you about it.

    • hollywoodjeff

      This is a website devoted to and inhabited by what might be called the “lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe.” With them it’s Israel Uber Alles 24-7.

      • HamBaconEggs

        For sure. They’ve ironically become the very Nazis that persecuted them.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          “They’ve ironically become the very Nazis that persecuted them.”

          “lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe.”

  • Tzipporah

    Another great article. Thanks. It is depressing to realize that so many Jews today are not pro-Israel. It is something I find hard to understand. How can any Jew support the PA and Abbas is beyond my understanding.

    • Lightbringer

      It’s because they’re progressives rather than Jews. They worship leftist ideas and incorporate them into their warped versions of “Judaism”, then claim that they represent all of us.

      • http://www.sandiegoteam.org jjs110

        Very well put. And it actually gets worse. As the new film “The J Street Challenge” superbly demonstrates, they also pat themselves on the back for being such good guys. It’s called “moral narcissism”, and it fits them perfectly. Whatever they say has nothing to do about Israel and its security, and all to do about their selfish concern about self-image. Pathetic and sad characters.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    My head is spinning.

  • Microaggressive

    Jews mattered at one point, when America only had a few different cultures. Supporting multicult shows that Jews aren’t very good at foresight.

    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2002-09-01/topic/0208310033_1_saudi-arabia-ibn-saud-king-of-saudi

    So when Roosevelt made this promise about Palestine, it never occurred to Ibn Saud that another president could come along and break that promise.

    But Roosevelt died a week after sending the letter to Ibn Saud.

    Harry S. Truman, Roosevelt’s successor, came to office suddenly and unexpectedly.

    Truman placed the United States forcefully and decisively in support of the partition of Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state in 1948. The sentiments of the king of Saudi Arabia were not considered important.

    “I’m sorry, gentlemen,” Truman explained to worried Arabists. “But I have to answer to hundreds of thousands of people who are anxious for the success of Zionism. I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents.”

  • hollywoodjeff

    AIPAC has written every piece of Iran sanctions legislation as well as the sanctions legislation that preceded it against Iraq and Syria. Its legislation gets 100 to 0 votes in the Senate and over 400 votes in the House, not because members of Congress love Israel but because they know there might be a price to be paid if they don’t.

    In 1985, when the US-Israel Free Trade Agreement was under discussion, it was opposed by Monsanto, Dow, Gov, Bill Clinton in Arkansas, speaking for its bromine industry and all the nation’s farm bureaus. It was supported by AIPAC and a handful of small, insignificant companies. The winner: AIPAC. Does this Greenfield think people are fools?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      The sanctions legislation is cover for Iran going nuclear. That’s my point.

      • hollywoodjeff

        Would you prefer that AIPAC call on the US bomb Iran’s nuclear reactors on Israel’s behalf? Or come to Israel’s aid if it decides to do so? One of those resolutions authored by AIPAC did the latter: Sen Res. 65 in May 2013, which called on the US to support Israel, “politically, economically, and militarily,” should it decide to attack Iran in “self-defense.”

        It passed 99-0 because Frank Lautenberg was too ill to make it to the Senate floor. There was not one word about it in the mainstream media.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          I would prefer that AIPAC stop pretending it’s doing anything except promoting itself with pointless resolutions.

    • Bastiat

      Yes when the author of this piece calls the Israel Lobby a “myth” it severely diminishes the author’s credibility.

  • Paul Vonharnish


    “When one person suffers from a delusion its called insanity; when many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion”

    - Robert Pirsig -
    (1948-xxxx)

  • Suzanne

    This article is spot on and I’m very glad you wrote it. SOMEBODY should call AIPAC out for the phonies they are. Personally, I’ve thought that AIPAC was more than useless for a long time now. It seemed to me that they were forever supporting policies that were directly HARMFUL – NOT HELPFUL to Israel I could never understand all the hoopla that attending AIPAC meetings generated in my home town. So many big “machers”, the same type who run “The Associated” running down to Washington for their meetings – so many rabbis (more than a few “orthodox”, unfortunately), so many self identified “proud and concerned” Jews all clamoring for a space at their meetings. It never ceases to amaze me how brain dead the Jewish community is when it comes to our survival.

  • zee

    In fairness, opposing the cut off of aid to the PA does coincide with the “hard-line, far-right, fascist, warmongering” Netanyahu government so that could be considered pro-Israel :-(

  • Shel Zahav

    Like most of American Jewry, AIPAC is slowing dissipating.

  • richdonnagreat

    aipac has become a dhimmi organization…just like that old dhimmi abe foxman..
    when cair says jump, aipac says how high?

  • Shel Zahav

    IMHO, AIPAC does more harm than good anymore.

  • asherpat

    Dear Daniel, the American Jews are mostly lost to the suicidal liberal fata morgana. In fact, America is lost to the anti-Judeo Christian civilisation forces. Do you believe that America will ever again have a Republican, let alone a truly conservative and spinefull president?

  • VictorMC

    It’s just more evidence that America as a respected world power is finished.