Probably the most storied lobbies in Washington, the America Israel Public Affairs Committee has, for a lot more than six decades, built its brand as a cheerleader for a solid U.S.-Israel relationship rooted in values and interests both countries share. Values like democracy.
Actually, among AIPACs most typical go-to lines is that america needs Israel since it is the only real democracy in the centre East.
In 2022, AIPAC has entered straight into American electoral politics for the very first time, within an election cycle where U.S. democracy itself is at risk. The group launched both a normal federal political action committee, AIPAC PAC, and a brilliant PAC and contains so far poured nearly $30 million into primary campaigns.
Yet up to now, AIPAC has spent not just a cent to defeat members of the home or Senate who’ve threatened American democracy, voted against certifying the 2022 elections, and endorsed Donald Trumps Big Lie. Instead, it has actually endorsed in excess of three-quarters of the insurrectionist enablers109 of these in total. Instead of devoting its resources to defending the democratic values which the U.S. and Israel stand, its super PAC is putting 100 percent of its funds into crushing progressive Democrats it has labeledwithout worthwhile reasonanti-Israel.
In the united states, this spending has turned into a dominant storyline in this years Democratic primaries and is making Israel more of a political football than it has ever experienced American elections.
The other day, in Marylands 4th congressional district, AIPACs United Democracy Project super PAC, or UDP, spent over $6 million to avoid former four-term Congresswoman Donna Edwards from time for her old seathelping ensure Edwards was outspent by way of a staggering 7 to at least one 1. In Texas, the group spent nearly $2 million to greatly help conservative, anti-abortion incumbent Henry Cuellar cling to his seat against challenger Jessica Cisneros. In Pittsburgh, AIPAC and its own allies spent over $3 million in a failed attempt to defeat another talented young progressive, Summer Lee.
In a few days, these forces desire to secure another victory in Michigans 11th district, where redistricting has pitted Jewish-American progressive leader Andy Levin against fellow incumbent Haley Stevens. Here too, AIPAC has spent over $3 million up to now to greatly help Stevens defeat Levinwhom AIPACs former president has labeled probably the most corrosive person in Congress to the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Levin might seem such as a strange target for AIPAC. A staunch supporter of the two-state solution, he speaks passionately about his personal ties to Israel and his commitment to securing its long-term future as a democracy and national home for the Jewish people. The son of former Representative Sander Levin and the nephew of former Senator Carl Levin, he could be a proud product of a respected Jewish and Zionist familya former synagogue president who repeatedly stresses the significance of his Jewish values.
All this appears, actually, to participate AIPACs problem with Levin. Like me therefore quite a few fellow American Jews, Levin is compelled by his genuine commitment to Israels future also to Jewish social justice values and to support the human rights of Palestinians also to speak out against Israeli government policies that deepen occupation and promote the creeping annexation of the West Bank.
In today’s Congress, Levin introduced the Two-State Solution Act, a bill that proposes meaningful U.S. action to market Israeli-Palestinian peace, to rebel against settlement expansion, also to end the 55-year occupation. Among other measures, the bill would set up clear guardrails to make sure that U.S. assist with Israel can be used limited to its legitimate security needs rather than to deepen occupation in violation of international lawa commonsense provision that has been ever more popular with pro-Israel, pro-peace Democrats.
Yet for AIPAC, no meaningful pushback against Israeli policy is ever acceptable. Although it publicly smears Levin as anti-Israel, the simple truth is that exactly what it finds threatening is his willingness, as a Jewish-American who cares deeply about Israel, to oppose the occupation and right-wing Israeli policiesbecause it sets a negative example for other Democrats. David Victor, the former AIPAC president leading the anti-Levin crusade, wrote to prospective donors, To create matters worse, Andy sincerely claims to be always a lifelong Zionist, proud Jew and defender of Israel. When Andy Levin insists hes pro-Israel, less engaged Democratic colleagues might take him at his word.
In reality, almost all of the Democratic candidates attacked by AIPAC as anti-Israel are nothing of the type. Levin and Edwards voted for security assist with Israel throughout their amount of time in Congress, and several of younger congressional candidates attacked by AIPACs millions barely have made any public statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or foreign policy at all.
The easy proven fact that these candidates have the support of progressive groups and leadersor of a liberal pro-Israel group like J Street, which I’m presidentis often enough to damn them in AIPACs eyes.
By spending millions to attack these candidates, AIPAC hopes to send an intimidating message to others: Cross our red lines, and you also could possibly be next. Political space for open and honest debate over U.S. foreign policy has exposed considerably recently, and AIPAC is set to close it down. It longs to come back to the times when one-sided congressional resolutions about Israel routinely passed without objection.
Most voters seeing ads from the United Democracy Project super PAC do not know they are paid for by way of a group that endorses and funds 109 Republican lawmakers who voted to overturn the election on January 6, 2021lawmakers who oppose just about any Democratic priority.
They dont understand that this groups sole real agenda would be to elect politicians who wont oppose Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. Plus they dont understand that a lot of the funding for the ads originates from Republican megadonors like Bernie Marcus and Paul Singerall of whom has given $1 million up to now this cycle to UDPor other billionaires like WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, a significant funder of right-wing Israeli settler groups, who has thrown $2 million in to the effort.
While AIPACs stated mission would be to secure the continuing future of the U.S.-Israel relationship, its actions are doing the contrary. Diving so deeply into intra-Democratic Party fights using right-wing Republican money will undo all its work to create broad bipartisan support for Israel.
Rather than keeping Israel out of partisan politics, because the group for a long time claimed was its aim, it has turned Israel into among the sharpest wedge issues in American politics.
And by wanting to defeat anyone who dares to stray from uncritical support of everything Israel does, it really is preventing Democrats and Republicans from coalescing behind the pro-Israel, pro-peace, anti-occupation policies that leaders like Levin and Edwards support, that majorities of Jewish Americans and Democrats support, and which come in the very best long-term interests of both Israel and the U.S.
To react to this new challenge, Democratic Party leaders should make absolutely clear precisely how harmful and unwelcome AIPACs interventions in its primary contests are. Candidates in competitive primaries should disavow and decline the support of AIPAC and its own super PACwhich attended as a surprise to at the very least a number of them.
An organization that attacks Donna Edwards and Andy Levin as extremists who should be defeated, while endorsing Jim Jordan, Elise Stefanik, and 100-plus adherents of the Big Lie for reelection, isn’t a group that needs to be determining the results of Democratic primaries. For the sake of the Democratic Party and with regard to democracy itself, this must stop.