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Blogging AIPAC: part two of two

Bwog correspondent Armin Rosen decided to spend part of his spring break hobnobbing with the stars at the America Israel Public Affairs Committee’s conference in Washington DC. His second dispatch follows.

After hearing Dick Cheney drone through a half-hour long exposition on the danger that a premature American pullout from Iraq poses to Israel, I realized that my disgust from the previous night was probably misdirected. A conference with 6,000 attendees and Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Dick Cheney on its schedule obviously isn’t that concerned with pleasing everyone, so a bombastic John Hagee can be understood as a means to a greater end: if he can share the stage with the top Democrats in Congress then there’s no reason for anybody in Congress not to show up.

kjhAnd show up they did. After another day’s discussion on the immediacy of Israel’s existential threats and the two countries’ mutual values and interests, over half of the House and most of the Senate made their way to the Washington Convention Center, whereupon they endeavored to score easy points with thousands of more or less like-minded people. Completely anonymous lawmakers like the one in this picture probably didn’t, as they are part of the amorphous mass of the House of Representatives.

But these guys sure did, because they’re running for president:



If had to call the race based on their post-AIPAC gala buzz I’d say that a certain junior senator from Illinois is looking like a pretty comfortable bet in ’08 (OK, I’m like 8,000th on the bandwagon, but give me a break). Obama, mobbed as he was by scores of well-wishers impatient for handshakes, pictures and answers to the pressing political questions of the day, vacated his post-gala reception after about five minutes—but this electrifying in-and-out was brilliant in its brevity.

On the Republican side, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback talked about the urgent situation in Darfur and defended the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman—but not before guaranteeing victory in November ’08.

As I wrote yesterday, the methods by which AIPAC brands and packages America’s alliance with Israel are at times highly troubling. But this shouldn’t detract from what was one of the conference’s many encouraging aspects: that Israel supporters are a powerful and diverse enough group that several major presidential candidates from both parties (whose stances on Israel are virtually identical) found it worthwhile to campaign specifically to them. So while Cheney’s speech was outrageous on too many levels to address, it is itself evidence of AIPAC’s success in uniting some of the most outspoken ideologues from every end of the political and cultural spectrum. And the fact that politicians as completely opposite of each other as Brownback and Obama thought they could win votes here is an indication of just how frighteningly well AIPAC is doing its job.  

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  • Two AIPAC posts says:

    @Two AIPAC posts Bwog staff suffering from tunnel vision much?

  • oh God says:

    @oh God not another one

  • rosensucks says:

    @rosensucks whooaaa is rosen happy about an events or speaker?? this must not be him!

    1. Er... says:

      @Er... wow, that’s fair. He’s screwed no matter what he does — if he acts one way, it’s typical, and if he goes the other way, trolls will step in to be total dicks! You clever devil.

  • Timmy says:

    @Timmy It’s funny how it is ok to gloat about how powerful AIPAC is when you think that that is a good thing. But when one suggests that AIPAC is powerful and that that might not be to the inteterest of America, you are considered an anti-Semite.

    AIPAC has hijacked America’s foreign policy to serve the interests of Israel. None of this crap is in any way good for America’s strategic, economic and security interests.

    We will only see a true peace in the Middle East when AIPAC as an organization is rendered irrelevant.

    But as long as little idiots like Rosen grow up salivating to how great it is, then that doesn’t look very likely.

    1. someone with sense says:

      @someone with sense Timmy, you are such a genius. Once America stops supporting tiny little democratic Israel, citizens of the Middle East will become our best friends. Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran will toast the former Great Satan as the reincarnation of the prophet. Bin Laden will return to the construction business. If only those pesky Jews didn’t insist on occupying that slice of land in Muhammed Country this could all be a reality!

      1. Hey ASSHAT says:

        @Hey ASSHAT Respond to this:

        I look forward to being called an anti-semite and having the issues dodged!

        Commenter #8

  • Easy to explain... says:

    @Easy to explain... It’s John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory

    Normal People + Anonymity + Audience = Total Fuckwads

  • well says:

    @well I’m sure AIPAC influences US government to a degree like any other lobbying group, but the US government has supported plenty of other oppressive states sans lobbying groups representing those respective countries.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous the Saudi lobby is a hell of a lot more dangerous & powerful than AIPAC — but instead of having grass roots conventions of 6,000 activists – Saudis just cram the petrodollars down our throats.

    Ethenol now!

  • derek says:

    @derek The Credulosphere
    March 13, 2007

    By the time you read this, the bloggy fringes of the Democratic Party will already be inveighing against Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid. Both leaders will have just given speeches on the Middle East to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

    Aipac, the establishment pro-Israel lobby, in this day and age is a liability to Democratic leaders who want to please the online activists that might be called the credulosphere. For the credulosphere, Aipac has become something like what the Trilateral Commission was a generation before for fringe anti-communists.

    It’s not just that Aipac musters towering majorities in Congress for resolutions favoring Israel or the annual foreign aid budget. For the willing believers inside the netroots, Aipac foisted the Iraq war on the world with connivance of the Bush-Cheney war machine. That was the thesis published last year by two professors, University of Chicago’s John Mearsheimer and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Stephen Walt, and it has been echoed by a gullible and self righteous lot that warns their Internet readers of the latest neocon conspiracies.

    There is a University of Michigan professor, Juan Cole, who declared during Israel’s war with Hezbollah that the Jewish state was practicing “ethnic cleansing” in southern Lebanon and that Israel tended to start its wars in the summers to avoid censure from American universities who were not in session. There is New York University professor, Tony Judt, who took to the pages of the New York Times to complain that the press was censoring debate on the lobby’s role in pressing for the Iraq war.

    President Carter, meanwhile, is flitting around the country saying that Jewish organizations have launched a campaign to discredit his book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” Whether they have or not, I have no idea. But if they haven’t, they certainly should, not that it’ll be a difficult task.

    There has always been a vocal minority of Americans who side with the Palestinian Arabs. They include academics that have turned the anti-Israel cause into a litmus test for the new left. They have in recent years made common cause with the isolationist right. Every year or so this crowd gins up petitions urging people of conscience to speak out against Israel’s “ethnic cleansing.”

    Most political seasons, this combination is about as relevant to mainstream Democratic Party politics as the opinions of, say, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. This year though, it’s a bit trickier.

    While no major Democratic candidates call for American direct pressure on Israel to begin dividing Jerusalem or to rail against the occupation of Ramallah, Democrats, today, are careful to walk a fine line on the main threat to the Jewish state, Iran.

    On January 23, Senator Edwards told an audience at Herzliya, “To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep all options on the table, Let me reiterate — all options must remain on the table.” He meant the option of a military response to Iran. That earned him contempt from the credulosphere that said he was buying into the Aipac hype about Iran to gin up a new war.

    So Mr. Edwards doubled back a month later in an interview with American Prospect online. In response to a question about whether America could live with a nuclear Iran, Mr. Edwards said, “I’m not ready to cross that bridge yet.” He went on to say that he favored direct negotiations with the Iranians and then, amazingly, criticized President Bush for threatening that “all options were on the table.”

    General Clark famously told Arianna Huffington that he was sure Mr. Bush would bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities because such speculation was in the Israeli press and he heard it from the “New York money people.”

    If there is one issue where the credulosphere is king it is on Iraq. No Democratic presidential aspirant dares cross the netroots on withdrawal from Iraq, and it is such a partisan issue that Aipac has not taken any formal position on the matter. Nor did Aipac lobby for the war resolution in 2002, by the way, or, for that matter, the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, which made regime change in Iraq an official article of American foreign policy.

    1. what was the point says:

      @what was the point of that article? it just skeptically referred to ethnic cleansing by placing the term within quotes. the author seems like the type douche bag who constantly uses air quotes with his fingers. he doesn’t prove or disprove anything empirically. he’s just a snarky son of a bitch.

    2. you do know says:

      @you do know that the New York Sun is an incredibly pro-israeli/jewish paper right? It’s credibility is right up there with the Post.

      How about you actually READ the LRB article and respond to the academic points raised questioning the United States’s blind support for Israel and the role groups like AIPAC play in maintaining that status quo?

      Preferably without waving the bloody shirt of the “Islamist Menace”, and “Mullahs with Millions of followers”. TY.

  • i'm "confused" says:

    @i'm "confused" So whatever good points the above piece had are discounted because you assume he’s a douche?


    And “ethnic cleansing” is in “quotes” because its “unsubstantiated”. Like the “massacre” in Jenin. Yet, like said “massacre”, it is immediately accepted as “fact”

    try “actually” “reading” the “entire” article someday. it may “help”.

    i’m “done”.

    1. to "confused" says:

      @to "confused" If the “ethnic cleansing” was unsubstantiated (I’m not going to put it in quotes because that’s obnoxious), what has this article done to substantiate the opposing view? If it doesn’t provide any evidence for or against it, the author should refrain from using quotations, which discredit the idea. It’s a sign of poor writing style.

      I reference the ethnic cleansing example because the article doesn’t prove or disprove anything. If th response is, “Well, it’s an Op-ed,” then what’s the argument? That opposition to the war in Iraq, a possible war with Iran, or AIPAC’s influence is limited to this “credulosphere?” That some academics oppose these things? *Yawn*

      I’m done. Sans quotation marks.

  • Armin is pathetic says:

    @Armin is pathetic There is nothing more pathetic than a young Zionist fascinated by how much power the forces of darkness at AIPAC have; and actually thinking that these are forces of good.

    One day you’ll realize what a moron you are for writing this bullcrap.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous but the forces of the petro-dollar infested terro-supporting racist Arab anti-Israel lobby are the forces of good?

    Islamo-Arab Colonialism & Terror is as the worst Imperialism of them all.


    1. LMAO says:

      @LMAO Your liberal use of hyphenated portmanteau’s demonstrates your tremendous grasps of the nuances of the situation!

      Riddle me this Derek

      *Why does Israel, the nation with the 26th highest per capita GDP in the world get anywhere between 1/5 and 1/4 of the US’s total foreign aid budget?

      *Why is Israel the only recipient of US foreign aid that gets the aid in a lump sum instead of quarterly installments?

      *Why is Israel the only aid recipient that does not have to provide an accounting for how aid money is spent?

      1. BECAUSE says:

        @BECAUSE they asked nicely and said please. why else?

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