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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/2/14

Is AIPAC Doomed?

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It has only one compelling vital interest in the region and that is to keep energy resources flowing and a war with Iran would instead deliver a shock to a world economy that is still in recovery. Against that is the illusion that Israel is some kind of strategic asset or global partner for the US.

Apart from the pressure being exerted by groups like AIPAC, Americans are becoming increasingly aware that Washington has no compelling reason to sacrifice its own interests to sustain the freedom for Israel to behave as it wishes.

Nor does it have any justification to protect it from its neighbors, any more than it has a responsibility to do so for any other country in the Middle East. And there is a growing understanding that the lopsided relationship, not only hugely expensive in dollar terms, motivates terrorist groups like al-Qaeda to attack Americans.

This is not to say that the US cannot play a positive role and act in support of the best interests of all its friends in the Middle East, which it would accomplish by becoming genuinely an honest broker with a demonstrated interest in regional stability rather than in regime change.

AIPAC's tunnel vision only permits it to see one "closest ally" and that must be Israel. Every other country is therefore reduced to a second-rate player whose interests must coincide with those of Tel Aviv or be disregarded.

Wrong Side of History

The persistence of the AIPAC argument, which also idealizes Israel's rather flawed and corrupt democracy to help make its case for a "special relationship," has done grave damage to US interests throughout the Muslim world. As has sometimes been noted, Washington had no enemies in the post-colonial Middle East before Israel was founded in 1948. Now it has few friends.

Washington's close embrace with Tel Aviv has been fostered by a mainstream media unwilling to be too critical of Israel's actions. But this long established unanimity of viewpoint involving both media and its symbiotic punditry is beginning to erode as alternative sources of information continue to proliferate, which is why the leadership of AIPAC must seriously be concerned.

The shift in opinion is both permanent and growing in magnitude, including numerous younger Jews and Jewish liberals who have been speaking out to tell AIPAC that it does not speak for them, particularly given its record of uncritical support for increasingly hard-line Israeli governments.

A better informed American public increasingly averse to foreign military adventures is becoming aware that issues formerly seen in Manichean terms are actually a good deal more complicated and then there is the experience factor. Recent US engagement in Iraq, Libya, and Egypt, all supported by Israel and its supporters for various reasons, are increasingly being regarded as in no way beneficial to the US, quite the contrary.

This explains the lack of fervour for a repeat performance in Syria or against Iran. It also means that AIPAC has found itself on the wrong side of history in terms of the desires of the American people, surely not a good place to be for a Washington lobby.

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Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues. He is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served eighteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. Mr. Giraldi was awarded an MA and PhD from the University of London in European History and holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Chicago. He speaks Spanish, Italian, German, and Turkish. His columns on terrorism, intelligence, and security issues regularly appear in The American Conservative magazine, Huffington Post, and antiwar.com. He has written op-ed pieces for the Hearst Newspaper chain, has appeared on "Good Morning America," MSNBC, National Public Radio, and local affiliates of ABC television. He has been a keynote speaker at the Petroleum Industry Security Council annual meeting, has spoken twice at the American Conservative Union's annual CPAC convention in Washington, and has addressed several World Affairs Council affiliates. He has been interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Britain's Independent Television Network, FOX News, Polish National Television, Croatian National Television, al-Jazeera, al-Arabiya, 60 Minutes, and other international and domestic broadcasters.


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