The following letter was printed in this week’s edition of the Seattle Jewish Transcript:
The Transcript recently published a story about the annual AIPAC lobbying “pilgrimage” to Capitol Hill which focused this year on undermining the Road Map for peace proposed by the Quartet (U.S., Russia, European Union & China). Yes, “undermining” is a strong word; but what do you call it when AIPAC raises scores of objections to the Road Map and insists that they be resolved before negotiations can take place? Isn’t it interesting that Newt Gingrich’s recent savage attack on Colin Powell incorporated an attack on the Road Map using almost the same terms of opprobrium used by AIPAC? I wonder how AIPAC feels jumping into bed with a right wing political barracuda like Gingrich?
AIPAC’s opposition is doubly unfortunate because the Road Map is the only international peace plan that both Palestinians and Israelis have endorsed. In addition, moderate, respected American Jewish and Israeli commentators like M.J. Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum; Yossi Alpher, editor of bitterlemons.org and former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies; and David Landau of Ha’aretz (The Battle for Washington, http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=277913&contrassID=2&subContrassID=4&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y),) have noted that the Road Map slants heavily toward Israel by making demands upon the Palestinians that are much more onerous than those upon the Israelis.
AIPAC’s lobbying efforts sabotaged the only current positive development toward peace on the international scene. AIPAC’s opposition to the Road Map was even more disconcerting because the Israeli government has lent its endorsement to the plan. In truth, the Sharon government doesn’t really support the plan, but in order to curry favor with the Bush Administration (which does) Sharon SAYS he supports it, but doesn’t. You follow?
Everyone knows that AIPAC is Israel’s domestic lobbying arm (though it denies this) and would not take a position in opposition to the Israeli government. So Sharon says he favors the Road Map but doesn’t; and AIPAC is free to work behind the scenes to make sure that the Road Map is eviscerated until it either doesn’t work or no longer means anything.
Members of Congress believe that AIPAC IS the Jewish community’s single unified voice when it comes to U.S.-Israel relations. I suggest that you tell your Congressional representatives otherwise.