Wednesday, August 24, 2022

AIPAC's Gutlessness

A few weeks ago, following the victory of Rep. Haley Stevens in her D-on-D matchup against Andy Levin, I wrote a sum-up post regarding what we can derive from AIPAC's relatively successful set of Democratic primary interventions. One point I made there is that, because AIPAC's interventions (in the forms of ads, mailers, and the like) have not typically concentrated on Israel-related issues, its hard for AIPAC to claim vindication that the victories for its candidates represent endorsement of its particular vision of pro-Israel. AIPAC, it seems, lacks confidence that its actual message will resonate with voters. It's pouring money into races, but it's doing so in a way that betrays its own skittishness.

Consider now AIPAC's belated brag that it was behind late money spent to tank the candidacy of Yuh-Line Niou, who narrowly trails Dan Goldman in the wide open NY-10 race. AIPAC hid its involvement in the race altogether until after Goldman prevailed, at which point it loudly sought to claim credit for the victory. My guess is that AIPAC was not confident Goldman would win (he only ended up claiming victory by a 2 point margin) and didn't want the embarrassment of a potential high profile loss. Once victory was assured, though, well, victory has a thousand fathers. As I said: gutless.

Meanwhile, AIPAC's increasingly bitter set of attacks on J Street (which had a decent night itself what with Jerry Nadler and Jamaal Bowman prevailing) have now taken to including hitting the latter for accepting money from George Soros -- a rather alarming development given the degree to which anti-Soros rabble rousing has come to occupy a central place in contemporary antisemitic conspiracy theorizing.

It's hard not to see this as AIPAC full-heartedly embracing a new, right-wing identity. There is no constituency even amongst moderate Dems for anti-Soros attacks. The only people who "enjoy" this sort of line are right-wingers who've already imbibed a deep draught of conspiracy about Soros as the evil puppet master pulling the strings. And, of course, right-wingers will most certainly use AIPAC's indulgence in this line to justify their own, even more grotesque, Soros smears.

Leveraging the far-right's favorite antisemitic conspiracy for transient political gain? Again: gutless.

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