An anti-AIPAC protest, referred to as AIPACalypse, is being organized in Washington, D.C. The New Nationalist (TNN) encourages readers to attend this peaceful and orderly demonstration against “American-Israeli” political lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The intent of the protest is to increase public awareness of this foreign-influence agent, as well as provide an opportunity to meet like-minded people. We hope that protesters will use common sense, proper comportment and be alert to baiting, agit-prop staging and dirty tricks.
The AIPAC Policy Conference 2017 will be held Sunday, March 26, through Tuesday, March 28, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center located at 801 Mount Vernon Place, Washington, D.C. between 7th and 9th streets, N Street and New York Avenue. The Convention Center is close to the Mount Vernon Square stop on the Green/Yellow lines of the metro, Washington’s subway.
In 2016, nearly 20,000 delegates attended the AIPAC Policy Conference, and approximately 4,000 of those delegates were students.
AIPAC is a lobbying group that advocates pro–Israel policies to Congress and the executive branch of the United States. The organization claims to have more than 100,000 members, 17 regional offices and “a vast pool of donors.”
One of the criteria to be labelled an “anti-semite” is treating Israel by a different standard than any other nation. This is actually ingrained in EU policy documents on the matter. In terms of the AIPAC aspect, this argument falls flat on its face when you consider that no other nation or group of people comes even remotely close in terms of 100,000 organized members, financial clout, media power and the lobbying aggressiveness of Jewish organizations. In the following video, Shulamit Aloni, a former Israeli minister, freely admits that the holocaust and the “anti-Semite” label is a trick used to manipulate those who criticize their agenda.
Although AIPAC has a $75 million operating budget, the group does not raise funds for political candidates itself, but its members raise money for candidates through PACs that AIPAC helped establish and by other means. AIPAC, on the other hand, accurately describes itself as a bipartisan organization.
AIPAC created “caucuses” in every congressional district, with staffers organizing involved Jews living there. Campaign contributions are bundled and distributed to districts. The AIPAC Insider, a glossy periodical that handicaps close political races, are scrutinized by thousands of potential donors. In addition, AIPAC has target lists of politicians they want out of office.
AIPAC even goes so far as to match members with a congressperson or senator to serve as a contact mechanism. An article in The New Yorker states, “AIPAC is prideful about its influence. Its promotional literature points out that a reception during its annual policy conference, in Washington, ‘will be attended by more members of Congress than almost any other event, except for a joint session of Congress or a State of the Union address.’”
Ex-congressman Brian Baird stated:
“Any member of Congress knows that AIPAC is associated indirectly with significant amounts of campaign spending, if you’re with them; and significant amounts against you, if you’re not with them.”
AIPAC-directed campaign contributions come with considerable “tactical input.” AIPAC staffers told Baird and other lawmakers, “No, we don’t say it that way, we say it this way.” Baird complained that “there’s a whole complex semantic code you learn. … After a while, you find yourself saying and repeating it as if it were fact.”
Congressman Baird, who said that he “had admired Israel since I was a kid,” became alienated from AIPAC when he complained that “when key votes are cast, the question on the House floor, troublingly, is often not ‘What is the right thing to do for the United States of America?’ but ‘How is AIPAC going to score this?’”
Ex Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney spoke out about dealing with the AIPAC lobby, the “pledge” and the forums at the synagogues. When she didn’t play ball, McKinney’s district was gerrymandered out of existence via behind-the-scenes maneuvering.
For more citations, research and background, the best-known critical work about AIPAC is The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy written by University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer and Harvard University Kennedy School of Government professor Stephen Walt. The professors charge that AIPAC is “the most powerful and best known” component of a larger pro-Israel lobby that distorts American foreign policy. They write:
“AIPAC’s success is due to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its agenda, and to punish those who challenge it. … AIPAC makes sure that its friends get strong financial support from the myriad pro-Israel PACs. Those seen as hostile to Israel, on the other hand, can be sure that AIPAC will direct campaign contributions to their political opponents. … The bottom line is that AIPAC, which is a de facto agent for a foreign government, has a stranglehold on the U.S. Congress. Open debate about U.S. policy towards Israel does not occur there, even though that policy has important consequences for the entire world.”
Democratic Congressman Jim Moran from Northern Virginia has been a vocal critic of AIPAC, causing national controversy in 2007 and drawing criticism from some Jewish groups. He told California Jewish magazine Tikkun that AIPAC had been “pushing the [Iraq War] from the beginning” and added, “I don’t think they represent the mainstream of American Jewish thinking at all, but because they are so well organized, and their members are extraordinarily powerful – most of them are quite wealthy – they have been able to exert power.”
AIPAC strongly supports substantial U.S. aid to Israel. Currently, the total U.S. aid package to Israel is approximately one-third of America’s foreign-aid budget, even though Israel comprises just .001 percent of the world’s population and already has one of the world’s highest per-capita incomes.
In 2012, AIPAC called for “crippling” sanctions against Iran in a letter to every member of the U.S. Congress. These were instituted. With Trump’s version of neocons in office, this anti-Iran rhetoric is in full bloom. A war with Iran will be many multiples worse than the criminal invasion and destruction of Iraq. Awareness of this in the U.S. is shockingly low.
In terms of obvious talking points about policy at the AIPACayplse demonstration, keep in mind that a Pew Center survey found that even among American Jews only 38 percent believe the Israeli government is sincerely pursuing peace and 44 percent believe the construction of new settlements damages Israel’s national security. Many feel that AIPAC does not speak for them. TNN would welcome these folks at the demonstration. However, this involves America First interests and thus the conversation cannot be monopolized by the Jews themselves (who make up 2% of the population), as often tends to be the case.