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AIPAC’s fallen crown: The arrogance and absurdity of America’s ‘pro-Israel’ lobby

TJI Pick
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Published: 18 November 2022

Last updated: 5 March 2024

Reckless enabling of the most abhorrent currents in Israeli politics and the smearing of critics of good faith isn’t doing Israel any favours, writes DANIEL BRAL.

For decades, the “pro-Israel” label (and its “anti-Israel” inverse) has been so casually tossed around, to the point of  bastardisation, that hardly anyone can provide a clear understanding of its meaning anymore – or of its consequences.

What is clear, however, is that over time, organisations like The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and right-wing Americans have effectively commandeered the term, commanding deference and thus crowning themselves the sole arbiters of what it means to be “pro-Israel,” while weaponising that label to make an example out of anyone who fails to meet their exacting standard.

Putting aside the arrogance and absurdity of AIPAC-olytes fashioning themselves the gatekeepers and claiming a monopoly over being “pro-Israel,” it’s clear that their definition demands an entirely uncritical stance on Israel: to be a blind supporter, to give Israel carte blanche to do as it pleases, without questioning the wisdom of its actions and whether it serves its best interests, not least its long-term interests.

Thanks in no small part to the environment of zero-tolerance that AIPAC and others have cultivated, we’re now witnessing the consequences of this absurdity taken to its logical extreme. The fascist fringe of Itamar Ben-Gvir and his ilk is now in fashion, and will likely be participants in a Netanyahu government.

This nightmare reality should force a reckoning over the political orthodoxy of “pro-Israel” politics. Is it really “pro-Israel” to insist on silence when a fascist, homophobic, terrorist-glorifier is amassing power and making a mockery of Israel’s foundational democratic principles, all because of the irrational mindset that any criticism is tantamount to betrayal? Is it “pro-Israel” to smear those sounding the alarm and doing the thankless work of trying to save Israel from its worst impulses?

AIPAC’s fallen crown: the arrogance and absurdity of America’s ‘pro-Israel’ lobby (Haaretz)

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Photo: Benjamin Netanyahu addresses an AIPAC conference (Kevin Lamarque/ Reuters/Haaretz)

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