AIPAC used to be a nuanced, sophisticated, bipartisan pro-Israel operation. But its ugly Trump-style ads attacking the Democratic Party are strategically suicidal. How did AIPAC get sucked into the worst partisan politics – and can it recover?
By Ken Toltz | 16 February 2020
HAARETZ — Five years ago, after over 40 years of pro-Israel advocacy experience, both as a professional and then longtime volunteer, AIPAC first lost my confidence. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had addressed a 2015 joint session of Congress, a unilateral invitation orchestrated by Republicans – a blatantly politically hostile act against President Barack Obama, and a dramatic escalation of Israel’s previously stated opposition to his Iran Deal.
I had never before seen AIPAC abandon its fundamental bipartisan stance, but supporting Netanyahu’s attempt to exploit Israel’s partisan relationships in the U.S. Congress, by encouraging Democratic members of Congress to attend the speech was an unusual departure.
Now, in the lead up to the 2020 presidential elections, AIPAC has wandered way off track, choosing to use Facebook to run harshly partisan ads attacking “radicals” in the Democratic Party for “pushing anti-Semitic and anti-Israel policies down the throats of the American people.” Whoa, how did AIPAC get so far off the bipartisan rails? Supporters like me are wondering: Has AIPAC conceded its core bipartisan mission?[…]