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AIPAC and Obama Headed for a Showdown?

‘Mother Jones’ thinks so

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The current issue of Mother Jones, which hit stands a few weeks ago, has a story asking whether AIPAC is heading for a showdown with the Obama administration over Israel policy. The piece, by Robert Dreyfuss, makes a nice bookend to James Traub’s story in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine about J Street, the new progressive challenger to AIPAC’s long-held dominance on Israel-policy issues. Taken together, they offer a portrait of how the arrival of the MoveOn generation—which includes not just Obama but his right-hand guys, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, who aren’t mentioned in either piece, but should have been—is changing Washington’s Jewish power structure.

But where Traub seemed to be looking for what J Street says about American Jewry, politically speaking, Dreyfuss appears to be setting up a political version of fantasy football, handicapping how many (and which) members of Congress would side with the White House over AIPAC should they wind up in a showdown over, say, settlements. In that universe, J Street (and groups like the Israel Policy Forum) only matter insofar as they provide political cover for members of Congress—including, in this world, staunch pro-Israel Democrats like Carl Levin, Howard Berman, and Henry Waxman—who might support Obama at the expense of Benjamin Netanyahu’s political agenda.

Two things to note, though. One, while Dreyfuss raises the infamous Mearsheimer/Walt argument that AIPAC and other groups in the “Israel lobby” promote their objectives at the expense of American interests, it’s worth remembering that AIPAC hasn’t always been a home for neoconservatives—once, it was a place for people who opposed Reagan, including on the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. Indeed, like other Jewish groups that took a rightward drift during the Bush years, AIPAC seems to have gone out of its way to appoint a new president who is on good terms with Obama, Lee Rosenberg, so it could just as well be argued that J Street is a kind of stalking horse presaging AIPAC’s return to the center. (Stephen Walt, incidentally, undoes the entire conceit of the piece by speculating to Dreyfus that Obama isn’t really “ready” to take on AIPAC, anyway.)

Two, there’s a blind quote near the bottom from a PR specialist with “close ties to the Israeli Embassy” that essentially blames naive Reform Jews for abetting this new era of dovish realpolitik. “All the cultural Jews, the Reform Jews, go, ‘Oh my God, he’s our guy! Seder in the White House, Bagel Month, Passover at the White House,’” this person said. Which is nice, because it’s reassuring to know that some things never change.

Is AIPAC Still the Chosen One? [Mother Jones]
Earlier: J Street Debuts in ‘Times Magazine’

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Marty Janner says:

AIPAC is an entity that is oblivious to actions taken by the State of Israel. It only stands on the side of encouragement, relative to the actions of the government! It is unfortunate that they don’t understand that Israel is now governed by a group of gentlemen who are intractible as far as the peace process evolves.

The question that arrises, will reality set in? I don’t feel that will happen,however the Obama Group is trying to do something that may bring all factions to the table in a realistic way.Perhaps it’s time for them to remember, that perhaps a little bit of tough love is what is needed.

As a life long lover Israel, this controversy must not continue! For the benefit of all concerned it must be done NOW.

Disproportionate focus on the Israeli Lobby machine in America,
when other domestic matters are calling?

Obama-boy used as ploy henchman in a global terrorist regime aiming
to reposition Jews as the new powerhouse of American diplomacy, by
negotiation or by force?

Number of Jews on capitol hill, in congress, and in state government
may need counting for all us dumb Americans who are non-racial, and
non-ethnic in origin, or imagined that we were. Who wants another
global religious war like WWII?

I enjoy, cause I found just what I used to be looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

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AIPAC and Obama Headed for a Showdown?

‘Mother Jones’ thinks so

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