AIPAC is having its big lobby day on Capitol Hill today. Will they be taking advantage of this grand opportunity to lobby elected officials to get behind the Middle East peace efforts of John Kerry? Of course, you think. Isn’t that what you would expect from a group that claims to care about Israel?
But you would be so wrong. Instead, members are planning to pressure senators to support the Menendez-Graham letter to President Obama, which would tie his hand in negotiations, what amounts to a hawkish call to war with Iran instead of negotiations.
It doesn’t have to be, even for those elected officials who want the legendary “Jewish vote,” because AIPAC no longer has a chokehold on Jewish opinion (not that they ever did but you could be forgiven for thinking so because, among other reasons, the media gave them sole status for so long).,
I called the offices of Senators Levin and Stabenow. I was pleased to learn that Carl, Michigan’s Jewish senator, is already opposed to additional sanctions, though I didn’t get a commitment that he wouldn’t sign the letter. Debbie, on the other hand, continues to waffle and has taken no public stand yet, though I can’t imagine that she hasn’t made up her mind by now.
While I thanked Carl’s representative for Carl’s pro-peace stance, I noted to Debbie’s representative that her behavior was highly disappointing. (Yes, her waffling is baffling, two words that would rhyme in a kinder, gentler world.) If she wants the Jewish vote, she won’t necessarily get it by kissing the sandals of AIPAC. There are pro-Israel groups that also happen to be pro-peace and their voices are growing louder in DC and in communities around the country.
One group I recommend highly is J Street.