Ilhan Omar and AIPAC overreach
While the GOP is still under the control of the pro-Israeli lobby, it appears that the Democratic Party is slipping out of their grasp. It started with the anti-BDS bill.
Some six of the seven leading candidates for the Democratic nomination for president voted against a bill that will tackle the anti-BDS movement in America last week. The bill, which passed in the Senate by 77 to 23, was opposed almost solely by Democrats.
However, that was nothing compared to the blow-up over Ilhan Omar's comments.
— (((Mike Pushkin))) (@pushkinforhouse) March 1, 2019
House Democrats on Wednesday postponed indefinitely a vote on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism after a contentious meeting in which some new members confronted leaders over their push to rebuke Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
In the party’s weekly closed meeting, Democrats protested the way Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders tried to rush out a resolution this week responding to Omar’s latest remark about Israel. Omar last week suggested the Jewish state’s supporters are pushing lawmakers to pledge “allegiance” to a foreign country.
That forced Democratic leaders to respond, but their draft of the resolution condemning anti-Semitism angered Omar’s fellow freshmen and their liberal supporters. Pelosi had already said the measure would be broadened to decry anti-Muslim bias. But that didn’t quiet the ranks, and the party’s first major dissension broke out in an uncomfortable confrontation, according to three officials familiar with the episode, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private matters.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have all come out in support of Omar, and now the Big Gun, Bernie Sanders, has come to her defense.
"Anti-Semitism is a hateful and dangerous ideology which must be vigorously opposed in the United States and around the world. We must not, however, equate anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the right-wing, Netanyahu government in Israel."
Sanders, besides being immensely popular, is also Jewish, who lost family in the Holocaust.
I‘m curious if Rep. Vargas will further explain his stance here that it’s unacceptable to even *question* US foreign policy.
Plenty of Dem members have asserted that discussion + debate on this issue is fair and merited. Is this stance a departure from that? https://t.co/2tcelsxFCU
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 5, 2019
AIPAC has a dilemma. Their normal SOP is to target politicians who don't obey for political defeat. They are very good at it.
But in a recent article in The Nation, M.J. Rosenberg, who worked for Aipac in the 1980s and is now a critic of the organization, described how “Aipac’s political operation is used precisely as Representative Omar suggested,” including during policy conferences, when members gather “in side rooms, nominally independent of the main event,” to raise money and “decide which candidate will get what.”
...In 1982, Aipac activists organized to oust Paul Findley, an Illinois House member who had embraced the Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat. The To Protect Our Heritage PAC, run by Aipac activists in Skokie, Ill., backed Richard J. Durbin, according to Marc Sommer, a PAC official.
Two years later, Aipac activists mobilized to replace Senator Charles Percy, then the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a backer of a deal allowing the sale of sophisticated military planes called Awacs to Saudi Arabia, with the Democrat Paul Simon.
AIPAC even has the power to intimidate presidents.
But targeting all of the most popular Democratic politicians at a time when progressives and young people are questioning our alliance with Israel? Even if AIPAC was successful in defeating all of them, how do you think young Democrats would take that?
Democratic support siding from 49% to 43% approaches the lowest level of Democratic partiality toward Israel since 2005, added Gallup. Republican support for Israel in the conflict hit an all-time high of 87% in 2018 and dropped to 76% today.