Can AIPAC Get Its Groove Back?

Israel Lobby Struggles To Bounce Back From Iran Debacle

All Smiles: Vice President Joe Biden and then-Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak at last years’ AIPAC annual conference.
getty images
All Smiles: Vice President Joe Biden and then-Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak at last years’ AIPAC annual conference.

By Reuters

Published February 28, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

“I’ve spoken quite directly to AIPAC. I’ve met with AIPAC,” Sherman told a roundtable of Israeli journalists in Jerusalem last weekend when asked about the group’s role.

“We need to create the space for this diplomacy. And I would urge AIPAC to create this space.”

Despite such appeals, AIPAC appears intent on keeping the heat on the administration over Iran.

AIPAC leaders, in a New York Times op-ed last weekend, denied suggestions that those pushing for further sanctions were “warmongers” and urged Congress to take back the initiative on Iran.

The group believes that while now is not the time for a Senate vote, Iranian intransigence will soften Obama’s resistance and generate broader bipartisan support for legislation that could be introduced before the end-of-July deadline for the talks, the AIPAC source said.

Sanctions could then be triggered if diplomacy fails, the source said.

The White House has made clear that it would oppose any vote on new sanctions during the negotiating process but would be open to such measures if diplomacy breaks down.

COMPLICATIONS

While Netanyahu will certainly try to rally the AIPAC faithful when he addresses the group on Tuesday, heated rhetoric on Iran could add to tensions with the administration.

In talks with Obama on Monday, an Israeli official said, Netanyahu intends to stand firm on his demand that any final nuclear deal must eliminate Iran’s ability to enrich uranium, in contrast to the president’s view that Tehran could be allowed to do so on a small scale for civilian purposes.

Though billing itself as strictly bipartisan, AIPAC faces complaints on the left that it has not worked harder to accommodate a Democratic administration. J Street, a smaller, liberal alternative to AIPAC in the American Jewish community, has made modest inroads in its six years of existence.

Still, in a U.S. mid-term election year, there is little interest in picking a fight with AIPAC. Opinion polls show Americans’ overwhelmingly supportive of the Jewish state.

AIPAC officials also readily acknowledge a deepening of U.S.-Israeli security ties during Obama’s tenure, including funding for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket shield.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.