If I was Howard Kohr, AIPAC’s national director, I’d be feeling a little like Sonny Liston after he got his first real taste of a Muhammed Ali left jab. After feeling that first blow, Sonny must’ve known he’d be in for a very rough night. And that’s a little like what AIPAC must be feeling right now. The blows are landing in flurries in the form of multiple scandals and critical articles in the national press. While none are lethal, the cumulative effect has to take a toll.
I won’t go over the more obvious examples farther in the past. But just in the past few days, acidic critiques of last week’s national policy conference have appeared in Salon (twice) and the American Prospect. Yesterday, Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who has never written about the Israeli-Arab conflict before, wrote a strong plea for tempering the ill effects of AIPAC lobbying on American Mideast policy. George Soros wrote a compelling overview and analysis in the NY Review of Books of the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which took in the current sorry Israel-U.S. policy of boycotting the Palestinian government. Soros reserved special disdain in his discussion of the pernicious impact AIPAC is having on the Israel debate in the Congress.
I’m proud to say that Gary Kamiya’s Salon piece about the AIPAC conference (one of two Salon pieces on the subject–the other excellent one written by Greg Levey), linked to my profile of John Hagee’s keynote address to the conference. It took me a while to discover why today I’ve had twice as many visitors to this blog as normally. Then I realized that Kamiya’s essay linked to my blog. A Salon link sure can generate some good site traffic.
AIPAC is wounded. But it is still a very powerful lobby capable of doing much damage to Israel’s real long-term interests. That is why we must redouble our efforts to build a coherent alternative, a lobby for Israeli-Arab peace.