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News ::
"WE CONTROL THE U.S. GOVERNMENT" (english)
23 Oct 2002
Modified: 26 Oct 2002
Do you wonder why the U.S. Keeps giving Israel $3 Billion a year? Were you surprised
that congress voted for WAR with Iraq? Remember when Sharon was quoted: "We
(Israel) controls the U.S."? Well, here's an article in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency which
might help you understand.
Pro-Israel lobby flexes muscles,
making some legislators uneasy
By Matthew E. Berger
WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 (JTA) — Pro-Israel lawmakers, including some Jewish
members of the U.S. House of Representatives, are complaining about the influence of
Jewish lobbying groups on Middle East issues.
According to congressional staffers and lobbyists, several pro-Israel congressmen are
agitated by the type of influence that Jewish organizations are exerting, specifically their
calls to support the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Following the defeat this year of several incumbents deemed anti-Israel — defeats
attributed in part to the influence of Jewish money — congressmen who normally would
speak out on the Middle East are finding it better to stay quiet.

Most of the focus is on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential
pro-Israel lobbying organization. The organization stresses that its mandate is to support
the policies of the current Israeli government, but lawmakers say AIPAC has little
tolerance for more dovish stances, such as calls for restraint during Israeli military
incursions into the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“There is a growing sense on the Hill that” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “is not so cut
and dried,” one congressional staffer said. “Many members feel uncomfortable buying into
AIPAC’s line.”

Supporters of AIPAC and other Jewish groups make no apologies about their tactics,
saying they’re simply playing by the rules of politics.

They compare the Jewish lobby to other organizations like the National Rifle Association
— and note that AIPAC essentially is being criticized for doing its job effectively.

“I’m sure there are people out there who are for gun control, but because of the NRA
don’t say anything,” said Morris Amitay, who served as AIPAC’s executive director from
1974 to 1980 and now is treasurer of the pro-Israel Washington PAC.

“If you’re a weak candidate to begin with,” your record is “anti-Israel and you have a
credible opponent, your opponent will be helped,” he said.

In two highly publicized congressional primaries this year, incumbents who were
considered anti-Israel lost to challengers who received large amounts of Jewish money.

Both Reps. Earl Hilliard (D-Ala.) and Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) were targeted by Jewish
groups because of their perceived anti-Israel stances.

“It was designed to send the message, ‘Shut up,’ and that message was heard,” one
longtime Jewish community activist said. “It will have a chilling effect on the Middle East
debate.”

Leaders of other Jewish organizations also say the Hilliard and McKinney races affected
the way they work. While some say the outcome strengthened the groups’ ties with
lawmakers, others — including groups that do not support all of Sharon’s policies — say
they are having trouble getting lawmakers to buck the AIPAC line, even if legislators
privately indicate that they favor more dovish views.

Critics point to the May 2 debate in the House on a resolution in support of Israel.

“Many of the members thought that the resolution was inflammatory, unbalanced and gave
a green light to Sharon’s military response to terrorism,” a congressional aide said.

Several lawmakers who eventually voted for the bill first voted against suspending House
rules to bring the bill quickly to the floor, hoping that additional debate might lead to a
more balanced resolution.

They said the bill should recognize the suffering of the Palestinian people and call for
increased U.S. engagement to resolve the conflict.

The vote to suspend the rules passed with 82 votes against it, including three from Jewish
legislators and several others with strongly pro-Israel voting records. In the vote on the
actual bill — which was more closely watched by Jewish organizations — only 21
representatives voted no.

“It’s difficult for members of Congress to stand up against a resolution that might appear
to be pro-Israel but under the surface is not pro-Israel” — because it is too hawkish —
“or in the best interest of the United States,” the congressional aide said.

AIPAC stresses that the organization does not promote candidates or fundraise for them.
But many AIPAC leaders do contribute to campaigns and other PACs based on
lawmakers’ views on Israel.

Both sides of the debate acknowledge that Hilliard and McKinney were rare cases: Both
had long records of anti-Israel bias and were weak within their own districts for other
reasons.

Some of the more staunchly anti-Israel congressmen have been immune to AIPAC
pressure because of their popularity in their home districts.

But some representatives, none of whom were willing to speak on the record, describe a
growing fear factor: People on the Hill acknowledge that the chances of Jewish money
being used to defeat a safe incumbent are slim, but many in Congress are unwilling to take
the risk that they will be the first.

Some lawmakers say they fear to express views — such as opposition to Israeli military
operations — that they say are more in line with their local Jewish communities.

While there have been cases in the past of Jewish money helping to defeat powerful
legislators, the McKinney and Hilliard races showed that Jewish activists will target even
lawmakers without a great deal of influence. That has forced some lawmakers to cast
votes against their better judgment, sources said.

“For the first time they are going after people who are obscure and insignificant,” the
community activist said. “It sends a message that you can be from Podunk, Miss. and we’ll
go after you.”

Officials at other Jewish organizations say they are being told by lawmakers and staffers
that they feel more pressure than usual, and are fearful that any vote could come back to
haunt them.

“Since Sharon became prime minister they hold their nose and do what they’re told by
AIPAC,” the community activist said. “What members say privately is totally at a variance
with what they say publicly.”


JTA Jewish Telegraphic Agency


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Comments

On No You Uncovered it (english)
26 Oct 2002
OK if the Boston IMC doesnt have the wits to drop an ed's note I will.

Anti semitism is devisive to the movement and counter revolutionary. It will not be tollorated on any level. Protesting the policies of Israel is not anti-semetic. Equating Israel to Apartheid, Facism etc., is blatent hatred, nothing more nothing less. Recycling old sterio types such as the above posting seeks to do is not only suspect it is mean spirited and extremely right wing.

The IMC movement rejects this form of hatred.