February 22, 2019

What Ilhan Omar Doesn't Understand About Aipac

“Rep. Ilhan Omar picked a funny week to tweet about the power of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Last week, the Senate passed a bill that targets the boycott Israel movement. The 77-23 vote was a nice win for AIPAC, which backed it, but also held some worrying news for the pro-Israel lobby. While Republicans were nearly unanimous in their support, Democrats were mostly split: 25 for and 22 against.

More significant, six of the seven Senate Democrats running for president or expected to voted no.

While the vast majority of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle can be called or call themselves pro-Israel — including the six Democratic hopefuls — the vote undermines the notion that Congress is “Israel-occupied territory.” On the boycott bill, like any piece of legislation, politicians weigh the costs and benefits of supporting legislation — sometimes with their eyes on the short-term and sometimes the long-term.

Even if you were able to erase AIPAC from the picture, it’s not clear how much the landscape would change. Israel is a pretty easy sell in the United States. Jews vote and donate to political campaigns out of proportion to their numbers. Evangelical Christians are more uncritical than Jews in their support for Israel (and there are more of them). Americans as a whole are more likely to see their values reflected in Israel’s robust if flawed democracy than among the dictatorships, monarchies and theocracies that surround it.”

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