Wednesday, July 03, 2013

AIPAC Shuns Settlement Org

JTA has an interesting article up on Jewish organizations which responded to Secretary of State John Kerry's call to support a two-state solution. These groups -- mainstreamers such as the AJC, ADL, and JCPA -- all have quite vocally denounced certain segments in the current Israeli government (primarily Naftali Bennett and his buddies) who oppose the creation of a Palestinian state.

But the more interesting tidbit, from my vantage point, was a bit buried. Often times, AIPAC is cast in these dramas as a pure malevolent force that completely kowtows to Israel's far-right. If you thought, the following might be a bit of a shocker:
Each of the groups that repudiated Bennett framed their statements in the context of Kerry’s bid to restart the peace process and come as Israeli settler leaders opposed to a two-state solution are making their case in Washington. Dani Dayan, a leader of the Yesha Council, the West Bank settlement umbrella body, met last week with top Republican lawmakers in Congress.


AIPAC, notably, declined an invitation to attend the meeting June 27 between Dayan and top Republicans, including Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the committee’s Middle East subcommittee; and Rep. Pete Roskam (R-Ill.), the party’s chief deputy whip.

Instead, the Zionist Organization of America and the Republican Jewish Coalition led the Jewish contingent at the meeting. The ZOA has counter-rebuked the Jewish groups that criticized Bennett and Danon. Foxman, the ZOA said in a June 24 release, was “suppressing opposition to a Palestinian state.”
Not only is it important that the pro-settlement wing of "pro-Israel" be marginalized to crank groups like ZOA and the RJC, this also fits within my broader strategic vision of driving a wedge between AIPAC and its right-ward critics. The more centrist Jewish organizations, including AIPAC, view ZOA and its ilk as foes rather than friends, the more willing they'll be to work with center-left groups in order to protect Israel's longetivity as a Jewish, democratic state.

No comments: