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American Israel Public Affairs Committee: Is AIPAC Good For American Jews?

Image: American Israel Public Affairs Committee: Is AIPAC Good For American Jews?
Senator John McCain delivers remarks during the session of the American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) Conference in Washington, DC, March 3, 2014. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 25 Nov 2014 07:42 PM

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a strong lobby group dedicated to supporting Israel through financial and military assistance with funding from Congress. A difference in political views sometimes causes a rift among American Jews in certain policy matters regarding Israel.

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While some American Jews applaud AIPAC’s accomplishments at helping America’s closest ally in the Middle East, others complain that the organization represents Israel and not American Jewry. American Jews who describe themselves as liberal Democrats often find themselves opposed to military operations conducted by Israel. Therefore, they criticize AIPAC for lobbying Congress on military funding for Israel, such as the $225 million supplement for the Iron Dome missile system during the Gaza war.

Liberal Jews were generally opposed to AIPAC’s unsuccessful attempt to lobby for support for a U.S. military strike on Syria and prevent nuclear negotiations with Iran. Critics claimed the lobby organization was attempting to thwart negotiations and start a war. AIPAC doesn’t represent the majority of American Jews who are Democrat or liberal, according to critics. Many younger Jews don’t have the connection to Israel that previous generations had, they say.

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Stronger critics, such as the Jewish Voice for Peace, claim AIPAC not only doesn’t represent millions of Jews, but also supports war with other Middle Eastern nations. On the other hand, Eric Yoffie, a lecturer and writer on Israel and the Middle East, calls the American Israel Political Affairs Committee “one of American Jewry’s proudest accomplishments, and is invaluable for the survival of Israel — America’s most devoted Middle Eastern ally.” With strong concerns for American Jewish and religious life, Yoffie represents the Jewish American population that links Israel with American and religious values.

The rift that separates American Jews on AIPAC involves political differences. Those on the left favor a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and negotiations with surrounding states rather than stronger security or military action when it is believed necessary. Since AIPAC represents American Jews with hawkish views, opponents are quick to criticize the organization’s actions. These differences might add to the critics’ arguments that AIPAC is not good for American Jews.

While a younger generation of American Jews might not have the same ties to Israel that conservative or Orthodox Jews have, AIPAC has been reaching out to African-Americans, Hispanics and Christian evangelicals as non-Jewish supporters of Israel. Although opponents of AIPAC don’t believe the organization represents American Jews, the American Israel Political Affairs Committee believes it might influence various communities with Israel’s history for democracy and equality.

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The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a strong lobby group dedicated to supporting Israel through financial and military assistance with funding from Congress. A difference in political views sometimes causes a rift among American Jews in certain policy matters.
american israel public affairs committee, american, jews
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2014-42-25
Tuesday, 25 Nov 2014 07:42 PM
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