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Israel Lobby Controversy: 10 Outspoken Critics of Israel's Power in Washington

By    |   Thursday, 20 November 2014 07:49 PM EST

Outspoken critics of Israel’s influence in Washington have been around for decades, but many of them now believe they are making gains in dismantling the Israel lobby.

Here are 10 critics of Israel’s powerful lobby in the nation’s capital:

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1. The Nation has long been publishing articles critical of the Israel lobby, often stating that billions of dollars are being wasted through political funding for military support of Israel. An article by Phyllis Bennis argues that Israel’s power in Washington is beginning to weaken, but claims that pro-Israel lobby groups on the right still have more money than opponents to influence Congressional members.

2. John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, authors of the controversial “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy” also argued that the pro-Israel side in Washington was losing steam when the book was published in 2007. The authors claimed it was difficult for politicians to disagree with the Israeli policy when dealing with pro-Israel lobbyists for fear of being branded anti-Semitic, a charge made by other critics.

3. Occupy AIPAC takes a stand against the powerful Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Like other “occupy” movements that protest in front of institutions, Occupy AIPAC also takes its cause to college campuses for it messages of peace and a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

4. Although three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul describes himself as a non-interventionist, his past remarks make critics say he believes the Israel lobby controls Washington and gets the U.S. involved in unnecessary wars. Paul once said, the “Israel lobby plays Congress like a cheap harmonica,” according to JTA, a Jewish news service.

5. CODEPINK, the antiwar women’s group, has stated AIPAC calls for military intervention in Syria and Iran, options rejected by the American people. The group held a “Boycott AIPAC” demonstration during the Israel lobby’s annual policy conference in Washington to end policies of promoting war and human rights violations.

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6. Jesse Jackson, a presidential candidate in 1984, has long been a critic of Israeli policies and was even photographed hugging PLO leader Yasser Arafat in 1979. When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, Jackson was quoted by the New York Post as saying the new administration would end “decades of putting Israel’s interests first.” The Obama campaign denied the charges.

7. The Institute for Historical Review, attacked for its views that deny the Holocaust, claims the influence of American Jews in Washington far outweighs the numbers of people in the Jewish community. The institute, which publishes books and other materials, frequently criticizes the number of affluent Jewish contributors who affect political campaigns.

8. George Soros, a  well-known political donor on the left, says the Israel lobby involves the U.S. in military actions. He wrote that AIPAC played a part in convincing the Bush administration to invade Iraq without approval from Congress. He also complained that disagreement with Israel’s aggressive policies in the West Bank and Gaza leads to cries of anti-Semitism.

9. Jewish Voice for Peace is another left-wing organization that plays a role in leading American Jews to reject connections with Israel’s military conflicts. The organization advocates peace and human rights issues while rejecting unconditional military aid for Israel as proposed by many pro-Israel lobbyists.

10. J Street is a political action committee that sets itself apart from traditional Israel lobby groups. CNN headlined a story, stating the group “challenges the Israel lobby from within.” J Street takes its argument from the left, calling for an end to Israeli settlements and favoring a two-state solution as the only way to reach peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

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Outspoken critics of Israel's influence in Washington have been around for decades, but many of them now believe they are making gains in dismantling the Israel lobby.
israel, lobby
Thursday, 20 November 2014 07:49 PM
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