Recent US primary elections prompted several Guardian articles peddling the media outlets narrative on the putatively injurious impact of the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). These have included two pieces by their former Jerusalem correspondent Chris McGreal, who had years to hone his unique skill of speaking truth to Jewish power.
Here’s a retweet by McGreal in 2012 while covering the AIPAC convention in Washington, DC, to give you a sense of why he has no claim to objectivity when reporting on the pro-Israel organisation:
Here he is responding to criticism of his coverage of the AIPAC convention by noting the intrinsic ((bias)) of certain newspapers:
The latest piece, again written by McGreal, goes after pro-Israel “hardliners”, by which he means US citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish, who, like most Americans, support a strong US-Israel relationship. The article, “Pro-Israel hardliners spend millions to transform Democratic primaries“, July 19, focuses on the Democratic primary in Maryland’s 4th Congressional District between former Congresswoman Donna Edwards and Glenn Ivey, a former federal and state prosecutor. (Following the publication of McGreal’s piece, it was reported that Ivey was victorious in the election.)
McGreal makes sure to stress that the candidate opposed by AIPAC – via their super Pac, United for Democracy (UDP) – Donna Edwards, is African-American, while failing to note that her AIPAC supported opponent, Glenn Ivey, is as well, a racial disappearing act on display previously in the Guardian’s coverage of AIPAC supported candidates.
Also, like his opponent, Ivey is generally progressive. And, though McGreal reports that Edwards has been endorsed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, readers aren’t informed that Ivey was endorsed by US Congresswoman Maxine Waters, considered to be among the most progressive members of Congress.
McGreal writes that Edwards “angered some pro-Israel groups during her stint as a representative by failing to back resolutions in support of Israel over its 2011 [sic] war in Gaza and other positions”. However, in addition to not backing a 2009 resolution recognizing Israel’s right to self-defence against attacks by Hamas, Edwards also opposed a 2009 resolution condemning a UN report which accused Israel of war crimes, and was one of only a handfull of Congress members who refused to support bi-partisan legislation in 2012 enhancing strategic cooperation between the U.S. and Israel. The bill passed overwhelmingly in the House and Senate, and was supported by President Obama.
McGreal cited a quote by the lobby group which supported Edwards, J Street, who he erroneously describes as “pro-Israel”, accusing AIPAC of undermining democracy and intimidating candidates into “feeling that they cannot offer good faith criticism of Israeli policy, that they cannot vocally support Palestinian rights”. He then quoted a spokesman for the AIPAC super Pac responding to J Street’s charge, by noting that they are merely “exercising [their] First Amendment rights in participating in these elections”.
Further, to put the millions spent by AIPAC’s super Pac during this election cylce in some perspective: there are 2,163 super PACs tracked by the OpenSecrets (a organisation that tracks data on campaign finance and lobbying), and those super PACs have raised a total of over $1.1 billion and spent $232 million so far during the 2022 midterm elections.
Though McGreal noted big billionaire pro-Israel, Jewish donors to AIPAC such as Paul Singer, Bernie Marcus and Haim Saban, who gave $1 million each to the group, the largest single donor to super Pacs by far during the current election cycle, per Open Secrets, is Democratic mega-donor George Soros. Soros – in addition to his funding of NGOs hostile to Israel’s existence via his Open Society Foundations – has contributed $126 million in support of progressive and often anti-Israel candidates in 2022. (In fact, neither Singer, Marcus or Saban rank in the top 10 of large Super pac donors.) Yet, there doesn’t appear to be anything on the Guardian’s website about Soros’s impact on US elections.
As we’ve often demonsrated, it seems that, for journalists at the outlet, it isn’t the vast sums of money spent on US elections that disturbs them per se, but merely the money spent by pro-Israel Americans – Jews (and non-Jews) exercising the Constituational right that they and all citizens of the Republic possess to fully participate in the country’s democracy.
As we’ve argued previously, AIPAC is successful in large measure because it promotes a cause that’s popular with a large majority of Americans, grassroots support that has generally been lacking with the Palestinian cause. However, if pro-Palestinian groups want to create a similar PAC or super PAC, they’re of course free to do so with the help of wealthy foundations sympathetic to their cause. There’s no nafarious plot to stifle such an effort, nor are there any systemic barriers to entry.
(See a good backgrounder on George Soros here.)