For AIPAC, trying to function in a world with entirely different rules

Gandhi is revered because his policy of peaceful resistance brought down the British Empire’s century’s old rule over India.  It’s true.  It did.  But what few are willing to acknowledge is that this tactic worked only because he was using it against a moral nation, one that had been financially and emotionally depleted by two world wars in quick succession and that was increasingly removed ideologically from the concept of Empire.  Had he been dealing with an aggressive, hungry imperial nation — England in the 18th century, Stalin, Hitler, etc. — the outcome would have been very different.

My point is that we achieve our victories, not just because of our own efforts, but because of our opponents’ make-up.  And this is where AIPAC comes it, for it has suddenly discovered that it has no say in Washington.  As Lee Smith pointed out, AIPAC hasn’t gotten much done lately:

This weekend, more than 10,000 pro-Israel activists, Jews and non-Jews alike, will gather at the Washington convention center for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference. These friends and supporters of the U.S.-Israel bilateral relationship will hear from members of Congress and the executive branch who will all testify to the singular influence that AIPAC, as the pillar of the pro-Israel community, wields in the capital of the free world.

But just how powerful is AIPAC if a man who refers to it as the “Jewish lobby” and has defiantly claimed that he is not an “Israeli senator” is slated to be our next secretary of Defense? And, most significantly, how much influence does the lobbying organization actually exercise if it can’t carry the day on the single issue that’s been at the very top of its agenda for over a decade: stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Despite an operating budget of more than $60 million, on the most crucial issue facing Israel’s security, AIPAC has lost the policy debate. The winners include those who believe you can’t stop a nation from getting the bomb if it’s determined to do so, those who think the Iranians have a right to nuclear weapons, and those who argue the Iranians can be contained—among them, our new Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

(Read the rest here.)

Smith blames AIPAC’s deafening silence regarding both the Hagel and the Brennan nominations.  He considers this a tactical failure.  I believe, though, that AIPAC’s inability to have a say in the debate about Hagel goes beyond tactics and represents a much deeper problem for Israel and her friends in America.

Up until 2008, AIPAC was accustomed to dealing with a very specific government model:  bipartisan support for Israel.  AIPAC never took sides in a debate because its sole role was to be a non-partisan voice for Israel.  Whether it was dealing with Democrats or Republicans, it simply had to offer these politicians information about Israel.

AIPAC assiduously avoided partisan or controversial stands because its moral weight rested upon the fact that it was not a party organ but, instead, was always a conduit for information and good-will to flow between Israel and Congress as a whole.  In other words, AIPAC could be Gandhi, because it was dealing with an “opponent” (if you consider the government as a whole as being in a slightly adversarial stance to lobbyists) that wasn’t actively hostile.  Indeed, it was often quite friendly to and supportive of AIPAC’s goals.

Things are very different in Washington now, and AIPAC hasn’t caught up to that fact.  The party that holds power in Washington is openly anti-Israel and increasingly antisemitic.  This puts AIPAC in a bind. It’s one thing, after all, to advocate for Israel. It’s another thing to take a stand against the Democrat President’s cabinet choices — something that smacks of the partisanship AIPAC has always avoided.

Until AIPAC acknowledges that the old world is gone and that it’s dealing with a very different one (Dems will continue to be anti-Israel long after Obama has left the building), her voice will remain muted and ineffectual.  What Hagel mistook for a nefarious “Jewish lobby” was, in fact, an organization that worked with politicians who already supported Israel, either for moral reasons or for Cold War reasons.

AIPAC didn’t control those politicians.  It was their servant, not their master, since it enabled the politicians to carry out their own goals.  With the Cold War over and the morality leeched out of public life, Washington, D.C., no longer has any use for AIPAC and the so-called “Israel lobby” is being kicked to the curb.

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  • Danny Lemieux

    “Until AIPAC acknowledges that the old world is gone and that it’s dealing with a very different one (Dems will continue to be anti-Israel long after Obama has left the building)”
    And, sadly, Jewish voters will continue to vote Democrat long after Obama has left the building, too.

  • Mike Devx

    Danny L,
    Remember the old saw, “A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.”  Many of us here in Book’s domain were liberal once – or had liberal leanings in various areas.  It took a shock to our system to shatter the old worldviews.  For many of us, 9-11 was that shock.
    We all know that these Jewish voters are deeply liberal voters *first*.  It will likely take a big shock to shatter them out of it.  Israel is an obvious target.  But anti-Semitism is rising in a flood across all of Europe, and the Democrats here in the USA are doing their best to encourage it here, too.  
    There are so many potential flash points where something horrifying may happen, it may be just a matter of time until an anti-Semitic atrocity occurs.  Or a series of atrocities burns out of control into a crisis.  I’m mostly avoiding phrases surrounding fundamentalist Islamic jihadists, but you get the point.
    The the government of the country where an anti-Semitic atrocity occurs will make the proper noises, but do little else.  People who care – including Jews – will take notice.  The shocking thing, given anti-Semitic rhetoric and protests at Obama’s Democrat convention in 2012, is that it could happen here in the USA rather than in Israel or Europe.

  • Charles Martel

    I wish I could say that the Jews I know will wake up as the hatred mounts, but I just don’t see it happening.
    There simply is too much deracination and self-hatred among American Jews. The desire to be courted, and finally  accepted, even if by such debased sirens as Marxism and the academy, has removed the instinct for self-preservation from most of them. After all, if you hold you own religion in snarky contempt, and see your traditions as colorful cultural holdovers on a par with serapes and wooden shoes, what are you really losing when somebody assaults them?
    When Judaism is a mere ornament, a neat conversation piece and not a serious way of life or a crucial piece of one’s identity, why not nod in praise Muslim savages, or smugly piss on conventional morality, or ignore your fleeting doubts when the most anti-Semitic president in our country’s history pretends that he feels otherwise?
    As with my religion, Roman Catholicism, Judaism will soon be reduced to a remnant. Though its numbers will be small (when was the category “Jew” ever not exceptionally small?), I pray and expect that it will still be a light unto the nations.

  • lee

    Not entirely off-topic: Lincoln Square Synagogue, and Orthodox synagogue in Manhattan, has invited Peter Beinart to speak there. The rabbi, Rabbi Shaul Robinson said he did it because he did want his congretaion to be “insular.”

  • Danny Lemieux

    Charles, I agree but only with regard to a hardcore segment of secular Jews that (for want of a better way to put it) seems hardwired with a suicide gene. 
    Once, when doing research on WWII, I  asked myself (with respect to current anti-Israel sentiments by the Jewish Left)…did any Jews in Germany support the rise of the Nazis? To my shock, I came across estimates that about 100,000 Jews in German did om fact contribute to or otherwise support the Nazis – at least, in the early years. What makes this number astounding is that there were only about 500,000 Jews in Germany at that time.
    But then, we have to recognize that the Nazi party promoted itself as the champion of “social justice” and we can assume that many Jews were bamboozled by their claims and promises (“tikkun olam”) and didn’t bother to dig any deeper to discern the true nature of these “social justice” champions. Many Jews knew to leave German, but many stayed on. We also have to remember that this occurred against a backdrop of povery, misery, violence and injustice that defined the Weimar Republic. David Foster should have great insights to share regarding this period.
    Although most (but not all…there are always self-haters), I am sure, came to regret their support for the Nazis greatly, it was of course too late. Their utopian dreams ended with the death camps, which seems to be the logical endgame of  all humanistic Utopian visions. 
    So, to your point, whereas massive shocks to the belief systems of most people (whether Jew, Catholic, Anglican or whatever) may serve to jolt them out of their own preconceived world views, there will always exist a hard core segment of true believers and dreamers within any group that will follow their secular gods right into their dream world and straight into perdition.

  • Ymarsakar

    The Left’s march through our institutions did not leave the Catholics and Jews alone. This was the intended result all along. It was not a result of mistakes made. It was not the result of incompetence. It was not the foolish of foolish. They intended it to happen, as it did happen.

  • Ymarsakar

    Danny, ever hear about the Jew called George Soros? He wasn’t the only guy that got rich when the Nazis seized Jewish assets.

  • Ron19

    Danny, Mike, Charles, Lee, and Ymarsakar:
    Drilling down from a LifeSite newsletter: 
    This is a description of what Catholics are fighting in the same way that Conservatives are fighting Liberalism.  Or, rather, the way that the Lavender Mafia is attacking Catholicism in the same way that Socialism with its MSM is attacking Conservatism.  One group with one issue can fan out through many others to contaminate and corrupt even more.
    The battle is being fought (or not fought) on many levels on many fronts.  That most people, of whatever persuasions, are trying to do the right thing is a tribute to the inherent decency of most people.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Ymarsaker, you are right about George Soros. He and his father made their wealth by posing as Hungarian gentiles and looting Jewish properties in collaboration with the Nazis. He has never denied or apologized for that. That the Jewish Left applies god-like qualities to a man like that is beyond my comprehension. 
    That being said, I do not put the majority of Jews who slavishly vote Democrat in the same boat as George Soros. I prefer to think that they are just very fixated upon and deluded by their Utopian dreams and a religious or cultural tradition that instructs them to “fix the world”.
    Ron19 – I agree. This isn’t just about Jews – however, Jews as a people are a small minority that has over and over again faced the brink of extermination. That is what makes the delusional self-hatred and Utopian disconnect of the Jewish Left so hard to understand. Yes…these same human fallibilities apply to Catholics and Protestants – but we aren’t about to run out of Catholics or Protestants. I also don’t worry about the Catholic Church rotting from within  -there have been far worse moments of corruption and dissolution in Catholic Church history (the 15th and 16th Century corruption that engendered Martin Luther’s 95 theses, for example) and the Church has always managed to fix itself. Ditto for my own “Episcopalian” church – we, too, suffer from the same destructive rot of secular leftwing influences and Episcopalians are but a tiny minority in the U.S. christian community (less-than 2 million). However, the strength of the church lies in the much larger world Anglican communion within which the Episcopal church resides. In our case, it is the Africans and Asian Anglicans who keep us reality-focused.

  • Ymarsakar

    That’s an interesting report, Ron.
    It seems too many people were self righteously addicted to conspiracies that they didn’t understand how totalitarian domination really worked on this planet.
    Those that wish to know about the ‘underground’ merely has to contact some of the sources that had reported such existences decades ago. It wasn’t hard for me to find it. It won’t be hard for those that wish to know the truth. So long as they have their souls at least.
    “The most open revolt against the Pope and the Church is headed by some Jesuits in the United States, who openly oppose them and announce that despite the above decisions, they will keep admitting homosexually-oriented seminarians, who are, indeed, especially welcome. They have a long tradition in that vein, for years being the mainstay of homoideology and homoheresy. They take many views of the heretical moral theologian, ex-priest Charles Curran, for their own. They are also under the overwhelming influence of their former fellow friar, F. John McNeill SJ, who founded the pro-homosexual movement called Dignity, and published a book entitled The Church and the Homosexual, where he explicitly rejects the teaching of the Church and adopts homoideology. The book was given an imprimatur by his provincial from New York, and has been republished several times despite being banned by the Vatican. This way, it has become a homosexual bible for many American Jesuits. – See more at:
    I wonder what a research into their political pasts would show. How many of these had… ties to the socialists, the totalitarians, the fascists, and the communists.

  • Mike Devx

    Ron19 #8
    The LifeSite link you provide is extremely troubling.  I’ve thought for decades that a “Gay Mafia” exists within the Catholic Church hierarchy, even before most of the molestation crimes surfaced.  The article provides enough substance (where there’s smoke there’s fire) to make it “certain beyond a reasonable doubt” that the Church houses such a conspiracy of secret gay men within the Church.  For me (and I am speaking as a gay guy) I see three descending levels of problems they have to deal with:
    1. You cannot be a leader within the Church while living a secret life.  Especially you cannot be a shepherd to a flock.  The most innocuous case would be the seminarian or priest struggling with – and denying – his homosexuality, while remaining secret to everyone else.  Even that more-innocuous case creates a distorted personality incapable of shepherding his human flock.
    More seriously, whether you agree with it or not, the Church views its priestly hierarchy as being Married to the Church, and requires celibacy in all cases.  To engage in any sexual relationship is a complete violation.  All such sexual relationships, of any sort, form a secret life, and constitute a violation of holding that office.
    So this first problem is the problem of the secret life, lived in secret isolation.  And it is disqualifying.  By the way, the same is true for similar problems being confronted by such secular organizations as the Boy Scouts: Anyone leading any such sort of a secret life ought to be automatically disqualified from any leadership position for – or even any contact with – the young.
    2. The second problem is even deeper than the first.  It is the conspiracy formed when multiple such persons become aware of and protect each other from consequences of their sexual violations.  Here the isolation of the secret life is broken – they KNOW of each other, and they form a secret community.  It is a deliberate conspiracy.  It is at this level that you begin to see cover-ups.  You also see the thwarting of investigations within the Church community.  Along with that, you see the deliberate punishment of the innocent: Those who raise the need for investigation are not only deliberately thwarted by the powerful within the conspiracy, but they are also punished – mostly as a means of preserving those within the conspiracy.  It is here that the word “evil” can begin to be applied, especially as it relates to the punishment of the innocent.
    3. And now we descend to the worst level. The level of depravity, pure evil, and crime: The sexual molestation of the young, and its coverup.  To err is human, yes, but some errors require punishment, and some punishments are required to be severe.
    There should never have been a question surrounding *any* case of sexual molestation of the young.  The exposure, conviction and punishment of any priest for sexual molestation of the young would not have caused a crisis within the Church.  Priests are human beings too, and there will always exist rape, and murder, and sexual molestation of the young.  It is to be discovered and punished, period.  But the crisis for the Church is in the coverup.  To hide the crime, to transfer the priest – and my God, in some cases, simply to another parish to REPEAT the crime, and them to transfer them again, to yet again REPEAT the crime! – exposes a level of evil that is breathtaking.  All involved require secular punishment and imprisonment, not merely the perpetrators of sexual molestation.
    So the Church has problems at all three levels to deal with.  It’s a serious problem.  I do think they’re dealing with it, but in some ways they’re still in denial.  And so much damage has already been done.  I don’t envy their difficulties.
    There were a few sentences in the article I disliked and disagreed with, both surrounding the difference between simply being gay and the problems of living a secret life.  But having said THAT – concerning just a few disagreements – I agreed with nearly every word of the entire article.  Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

  • Danny Lemieux

    Ron#19 – I concur with MikeD….thank you for the link. It made me want to puke, but it was a must read. I sent it on to my very Roman Catholic brother.

  • Ron19

    Mike Devx, #11:
    Your reply spells out better than I could why I wanted to bring people’s attention to the type of problems that Book starts off with for this post.
    While reading your point #2 I was reminded of the movie : “Eyes Wide Shut,” starring Tom Cruise and his wife of the moment, Nichole Kidman, who was raised as a Catholic.  I don’t recommend this movie for general viewing, but only for research.  It is the story of how a young Dr. and his wife are sucked into devil worship by some local movers and shakers. 
    I saw it on a date (I was temorarily between wives; I am now validly married in the Church with my current wife, who refers to me as her trophy husband) with a middle-aged Protestant woman, and I was strongly tempted to leave the movie about halfway through; however, I didn’t know how she felt about the movie, and didn’t wan’t to “cause a scene.”  Taking her back home, we discussed the movie a bit, and agreed that if one of us didn’t like a movie then we both didn’t like it, and could walk out on it.  We also saw a musical play-in-the-park of the Picture of Dorian Gray, and neither one of us had a problem with it.
    The first paragraph of your point #3 describes my feelings for the movie:  “3. And now we descend to the worst level. The level of depravity, pure evil, and crime: The sexual molestation of the young, and its coverup.  To err is human, yes, but some errors require punishment, and some punishments are required to be severe.”
    Conservatives and the Catholic Church are not the only people who have this kind of a problem with a few evil people trying to take over behind a shield of decent people.  I see it in many groups and organizations.  The details are myriad, but the attacks seem almost boringly similar, and one explanation of that is Saul Alynsky’s dedication, “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgement to the very first radical . . . Lucifer.”
    A series of novels also describe this: Michael O’Brien’s Strangers and Sojourners (Children of the Last Days), Plague Journal (Children of the Last Days), and Eclipse of the Sun.  I was struck by how similar some of the books’ events were to what was happening in Canada at the time.
    Whether we work individualy or in groups, in lone groups or combinations of groups, we have a lot to do.  It’s not happening quickly, and sometimes seems to go backwards, but with the grace of God, we can make progress.  Pray as if it all depends on God, and work as if it all depends on you.