I feel compelled to comment on the frenzied political dance that has engulfed the 2016 AIPAC Policy Conference. The Presidential wanna bees are buzzing the hive (without Bernie, the only Jewish candidate FYI) and the media is all TRUMP. But the messaging strikes me as slightly schizophrenic. On the one hand, rabbis are threatening to walk out on the Donald (who has a Jewish son-in-law) harangue on the grounds that he is too racist, Islamophobic, and hateful for AIPAC standards and at the same time he is not loyal enough to the AIPAC Stand-with-Israel line which is grounded in…. racism, Islamophobia and hatred towards Palestinians and just about everyone else in the region. According to the just posted article in The New York Times, even Hillary was not reliably fawning enough for the Lobby which is a dizzying thought this early in the morning.
And in fact while the Trump has been espousing the muzzling of the press and the appropriateness of roughing up and sucker punching those who raise questions, AIPAC has been involved in national and local legislation to criminalize the (nonviolent) call for boycott, divestment, and sanction of Israeli companies and institutions until things like the occupation and the second class status of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship ends and Palestinian refugees have a resolution to their 68-year-old history of neglect and injustice. Last I checked, we still had freedom of speech in America, but that is clearly under attack from a number of very public and more stealth-like efforts. FYI it is already a civil offense to espouse boycott in Israel, our very trendy little sister.
And another weirdness, as T (I hate to keep using his name) calls for egregious policies towards Muslims, immigrants, and the building of walls to keep out all those rapists and criminals, the Netanyahu et al gang already privileges one religious group (Jews) over everyone else in housing, schools, work opportunities, etc, in the great democratic State of Israel. They have demonized and imprisoned asylum seekers from Africa as well Palestinian refugees and for that matter the spouses of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship who just want to live with their honeys in a decent apartment in Haifa. And let’s not forget the infamous separation/apartheid wall which is actually a massive land grab (85% of it is in the West Bank) sweeping Jewish settlements into the Israeli fold and dividing Palestinian villages and families from each other and their agricultural lands, universities, businesses….FYI this is not about security but it is about walls as foreign policy.
Given the media focus and the quirkiness of this presidential campaign, you would never know that 47% of Democrats say they think Israel is a racist state, and 49% support imposing economic sanctions or other punitive measures against Israel’s continued settlement building. Other polls show that less than one-third of American Jews believe Israel is a democracy.
So just for the record:
Trump and AIPAC deserve each other and I feel a certain amount of glee watching the Israel Lobby squirm around another bully.
The press refers to AIPAC as if it is an organization that speaks for the Jews of America and ALERT ALERT, AIPAC does not speak for most of us slogging in the trenches, trying to apply what we learned in high school civics class about democracy, tolerance, free speech, and fairness to the increasingly disturbing trends in Israeli society.