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Aipac Call for Bipartisanship: Too Little, Too Late?

Leaders of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobbying powerhouse known as Aipac, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon affirming their confidence in lawmakers in both parties. The statement comes on the heels of a new ad from the Republican Jewish Coalition that prominently features criticism of Democrats by Morrie Amitay, the former executive director of Aipac.

“If Democrats take over the House, unfortunately, it is safe to assume that the House’s posture towards Israel will worsen,” Amitay is quoted as saying.

Aipac’s statement comes after a months-long advertising campaign campaign by Jewish Republicans aimed at convincing voters that the Democratic Party was increasingly not pro-Israel.

Democratic operatives have quietly alleged that GOP-aligned Aipac activists have aided the effort to boost the Republicans.

So you’d think Democrats would be happy with an Aipac statement declaring that congressional leaders from both parties are rock solid on Israel. But the timing of the statement — it was sent out at about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, after most Jewish newspapers, including the Forward, had sent their final preelection issue to the presses.

“This goes into my better-late-than-never file,” said Matt Dorf, a Democratic consultant who also works with Jewish organizations. “But the timing of putting this out after all the Jewish newspapers have gone to bed with their last issue before the elections is curious at best.”

Of Aipac’s leaders, Dorf said, “They’re sophisticated players in politics and timing is often as important as content.”

Aipac could not immediately be reached for comment.

Here’s the text of the statement, released by Aipac President Howard Friedman and Executive Director Howard Kohr…

“In recent weeks, some have suggested that it is better for Israel if one party or another is in control of the House or Senate.

“AIPAC believes that strong bipartisan support for Israel exists in both parties and, regardless of who is in control, that support will remain steadfast.

“AIPAC works closely with leaders on both sides of the aisle, each deeply committed to strengthening the bonds between the United States and Israel. No matter who wins the upcoming elections, AIPAC is confident that Congress will continue to support a strong Israel and a strong relationship between the United States and its most reliable ally in the Middle East.”

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