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AIPAC Is Not Particularly Powerful

Posted by libhom Thursday, January 18, 2007

A vocal minority of opponents of Israel's occupation of Palestine and the US-Iraq war are under the impression that AIPAC, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, and the rest of the “pro-Israeli” lobby are dictating the Bush Administration's foreign policy in the Middle East. AIPAC is thought of as a nearly omnipotent lobbying group in Washington, DC.

Some of this impression is undoubtedly based on the self-promotional materials on AIPAC's web site. An example follows:

For these reasons, The New York Times has called AIPAC “the most important organization affecting America's relationship with Israel,” while Fortune magazine has consistently ranked AIPAC among America's most powerful interest groups.

Through more than 2,000 meetings with members of Congress—at home and in Washington—AIPAC activists help pass more than 100 pro-Israel legislative initiatives a year.


AIPAC makes itself sound quite impressive. At the same time, there is an understanding that Bush's and Congress' Mideast policies are not in the public interest of the United States. Where people can go wrong is merely tying these two threads together without considering other interests in US politics.

Arab and Muslim countries control much of the world's remaining oil. Oil companies have an obvious interest in keeping control over the resource that determines their profit margins. Control of the flow of oil also provides leverage over other countries who depend on it, including the newest big oil junkies on the petroblock, China and India. Considering how much money the US public and private sectors owe Chinese interests, it is hardly surprising that policy makers would want some source of power over China.

Also, wars in the Middle East, or anywhere else for that matter, provide opportunities for contracts for the Bush regime's corporate cronies. Some of those contracts even are absent of those oh-so-distasteful bidding processes. Then, there are plenty of arms contractors who love to sell more weapons.

Wars also are good for ratings. Corporate media help their bottom lines and the bottom lines of many of their advertisers by stirring up war fever.

Then, there is the Christian Right. They get sick pleasure out of the subjugation, torture, and murder of Muslims. More importantly, they are getting increasingly impatient with a Rapture that never comes and are trying to stir up a Mideast War that they think is prophesied to bring the End Times.

When you see the constellation of extremely powerful interests supporting the Israeli government's policies for their own reasons, it is easy to see why AIPAC is so darned convenient. AIPAC's lobbyists are pushing for things that corporate interests and Christian fundamentalists want. No wonder AIPAC feels so effective when they lobby in Washington.

AIPAC isn't an almighty power.

AIPAC is a pawn.

One should also dispute the claim that the policies AIPAC supports put Israel's interests ahead of those of the United States. The policies of the Israeli government are no more in the interests of Israel than the policies of the Bush regime are in the interests of the United States.

The US-Iraq war has severely weakened Israel's most powerful ally, while strengthening the Islamic extremists who pose the greatest threat to Israel. The pro-settlement policies of Israeli governments have kept that country in a perpetual state of war and have isolated it internationally, outside of the US. Expansionist policies in Lebanon have weakened Israel militarily while creating and empowering Hezbollah.

The more you think about it, AIPAC is more pathetic than anything else.

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