Tuesday, May 31, 2011

David Schraub, Lobby Enforcer

Earlier today Jon Chait wrote up a post about M.J. Rosenberg's attempt to distill the power and terror of the Israel Lobby which more or less mimicked my reaction to the piece, namely -- did anything actually happen? The story timeline basically runs as follows (1) Sen. Carl Levin wrote up a letter critical of a statement by the Israeli Prime Minister, (2) he shows it to AIPAC's President, who approved of the letter, (3) the Israeli government, and with it some American Jews, flip out, (4) William Safire calls up and tells Levin's office that he has sources which say Levin's letter was ghost-written by an Israeli opposition official, which the office denies, and Safire ultimately decides he believes Levin's staff, (5) an Israeli official came to Levin's office to complain, and, after insulting the Senator, was thrown out, and (6) President Reagan comes out to back up Levin and the position of the letter.

In other words, the upshot of this terrifying display of Israel Lobby power was that (a) a few American Jews and the Israeli government got upset and (b) no other consequences whatsoever. In fact, the Republican President (Saint Ronald himself) backed up a Democratic Senator on the question. Yeah, that's a mighty chilly climate.

Contrast that to what went down in this Ron Kampeas posting about Jewish Republican State Sen. Adam Hasner's (R-FL) potential challenge against Sen. Bill Nelson (D). Kampeas originally cast the issue with regard to the votes of Florida's substantial contingent of older Jewish voters as a case of Hasner's support of the Ryan budget (bad) against his "impeccable pro-Israel record" (good).

I immediately tweeted that Hasner's "pro-Israel" record is only "pro-Israel" to the extent that one doesn't think the occupation is threatening to Israel -- in other words, perhaps the key point of dispute between various camps calling themselves "pro-Israel". To someone like me, someone like Hasner isn't pro-Israel in any meaningful sense of the term. And wouldn't you know if it Kampeas immediately recognized his error and updated the post to note Hasner has an "impeccable right-wing pro-Israel record" -- far more accurate (though oddly, the old version still persists on the permalink -- but if you read the piece on the front page of the Capital J blog, it's been updated accordingly).

Behold, the power of the left-wing pro-Israel lobby -- able to cause journalists to tremble and self-correct with naught but a tweet! Truly, my power and influence knows no bounds.

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