The Guardian’s Chris McGreal published an article attacking one of his favourite targets: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The piece (“‘Morally bankrupt’: outrage after pro-Israel group backs insurrectionist Republicans”, March 23) explains why the American pro-Israel organisation is “morally bankrupt” in the opening paragraph:
The US’s most powerful pro-Israel lobby group has been accused of putting support for Israel before American democracy after it declared its backing for the election campaigns of three dozen Republican members of Congress who tried to block President Biden’s presidential victory.
In December, Aipac launched a political action committee that enables it for the first time to spend money directly supporting congressional candidates in this year’s midterm elections. Earlier this month the committee released a list of 120 political endorsements that includes 37 Republicans who voted against certifying Biden’s victory following the January 6 2021 storming of the Capitol.
Despite how extraordinarily polarising the issue of certification is, the fact is that, like most lobbying groups operating in the US capital, AIPAC is a single issue organisation. As such, an AIPAC official was quoted as stressing that the only litmus test for their endorsement list (which is nearly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans) is “whether a political candidate supports the US-Israel relationship.”
It would be odd to say the least to expect AIPAC, or any other DC lobbying group for that matter, to weed out from their endorsement list members of Congress based on their position on other non-related domestic issues. (As we show below, this would exclude over one-quarter of the entire Congress.)
In fact, 147 of the 535 members of the House and Senate (27%) voted against certifying the election. AIPAC’s endorsement list included 120 candidates, 37 of whom (31%) voted against certifying the election. So, the percentage of candidates endorsed by AIPAC who voted against certification is not much higher the total percentage – within both legislative branches – who objected to certification.
Moreover, AIPAC’s single-minded commitment to fostering a strong American-Israel alliance means that they sometimes endorse candidates who’ve previously taken stances at odds with its own on important issues – as long as their seen as, overall, pro-Israel. For instance, AIPAC is currently backing 27 Democrats who supported the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, despite the fact that, in an attempt to kill that deal, the group embarked on what was described as one of the most intense lobbying efforts in its history.
If AIPAC were to decide not to endorse candidates who voted for the Iran Deal, it would likely alienate Democratic Party leaders, thus compromising its bipartisan reputation, as someone close to the lobbying group stressed to JTA.
Excluding, from its list of endorsements, Republicans who voted against election certification – an issue that, unlike the Iran Deal, is not even tangentially related to AIPAC’s mission – would do the same to its relationship with the GOP.
Finally, as most of our followers know, the Guardian’s Chris McGreal is viscerally hostile to Israel and its supporters, would love to see an erosion of Americans’ consistently strong support for the Jewish state, and therefore holds groups like AIPAC in contempt. To say that he’s the last journalist who should be covering the AIPAC ‘scandal’ in an understatement. It’s akin to someone like Tommy Robinson covering the British Muslim community.
As the American-Israeli relationship goes from strength to strength, McGreal continues to be the curmudgeonly, bigoted ideologue who refuses to admit that he’s fighting a lost cause.