Sunday, March 11, 2007

AIPAC Time (again)

Rob Reynolds has filed a report with Al Jazeera about the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which started today. He described it as "one of the most powerful pressure groups in Washington and one of the main reasons for America's support of Israel," which is certainly consistent with the report by Mearsheimer and Walt, a report that, as I previously mentioned, had to turn to the London Review of Books to find a forum for publication. Reynolds mentioned this report in his final paragraph:

When a pair of university professors, John Walt and Stephen Mearsheimer, published a paper last year suggesting the pro-Israel lobby’s power distorted American foreign policy, they were attacked and labelled anti-Semites.

With that as context, it almost seems like a waste of time to ask whether the Mearsheimer-Walt paper has had any impact on participation in this year's conference. Reynolds' report would indicate that business is going on as usual:

Among the speakers at the conference which opens on Sunday will be Dick Cheney, the US vice president, Nancy Pelosi, the house speaker and Tzipi Livni, Israel's foreign minister.

At this point it is probably worth noting as an aside another news report, which can be found at BBC NEWS, that Halliburton is planning to move its headquarters from Texas to Dubai; one assumes that the Vice President was aware of this!

As I have previously reported, all is not well in the Israeli garden; and it has reached a point where prominent and respected Israelis, such as Yosef Lapid, are willing to speak out about it. Once again, however, the Godzilla rule applies: size matters! Put in language made famous by Lyndon Johnson, AIPAC has too many peckers in their pocket (even from some who do not have said peckers, if I may be forgiven a minor lapse of taste) for the "voices of the righteous" to be heard in the wilderness they have made of the global political landscape. In such a context one can appreciate those who are so fiercely intransigent about even recognizing Israel, even when history teaches us how counterproductive such intransigence can be. After all, David was intransigent about facing Goliath; so why should we be surprised by the same behavior when the Goliath is now on the other side?

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