Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before the U.S. Congress. Despite once again rebuking the long-standing U.S. policy that Israel should withdraw to the 1967 borders with mutally agreed land swaps, Netanyahu was repeatedly applauded by Members of Congress (even moreso than Obama).
One reason the Israeli government has been able to secure such steady support for its policies, even when they conflict with U.S. policies, is due to the efforts of American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC’s lobbying network is considered one of the nation’s finest, and every year it holds an annual convention in Washington, D.C. that is heavily attended by members of Congress, usually drawing at least half of the members of the Senate, for example.
Over the past few days, ThinkProgress attended the AIPAC conference here in Washington, D.C. We interviewed a number of attendees and asked them what they thought about Netanyahu so publicly rebuking the United States and what they think about progressive Jewish advocates who are more critical of the Israeli government.
Attendees told us that they think it’s best for all Jews to simply back Netanyahu no matter what his policies do to Palestinians or to the state of Israel, that if Israel gave up land it would face genocide like the Native Americans, and some even compared progressive, anti-occupation, pro-Israel Jewish activists to traitors. Watch a video compilation of these remarks:
Thankfully, Americans who want to resolve the Middle East conflict and help establish a just resolution that includes two safe, secure, prosperous, and free Palestinian and Israeli states do not have to support a hardline organization like AIPAC. Groups like J Street, Americans for Peace Now, and Jewish Voice for Peace offer alternatives.
– Zaid Jilani and Ali Gharib