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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/4/10

Time to Look at AIPAC Contributions and Take American Foreign Policy Back

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In the wake of Israel's bloody attack on American and other international peace activists of the Freedom Flotilla, now is a good time to examine what makes American policy toward Israel tick, which is embodied in one word: AIPAC. AIPAC is the right-wing lobby which directs millions of dollars toward congressional candidates in order to keep Israel's billions in American tax dollar assistance coming, and to keep the blank check on human rights violations from being questioned.

If we are to believe the Israeli government's spin, IDF Special Forces commandos were just minding their own business rappelling armed-to-the teeth onto the ships, when they were forced to defend themselves. Let there be no mistake: Had North Korea committed a similar act in international waters against a humanitarian mission, resulting in a slaughter of activists, this morning in Congress there would be calls for war.

That what we would expect from Congress, just moral condemnation of an atrocity against unarmed people by a crack unit wielding the latest automatic weapons, is not forthcoming, is a tribute to the power of AIPAC money and an excellent illustration of what is expected in return for it. Break the vow of "omerta," "thou shalt speak no ill of Israel," and the congressman is likely to find that money going to a fresh challenger, together with scurrilous allegations suddenly coming from nowhere suggesting he's somewhere in between a wife-beater and a child molester.

From Washington Report on Middle East Affairs:

AIPAC channels millions of dollars in campaign contributions to candidates for federal office through a network of political action committees established throughout the United States by members of AIPAC's national board of directors.These directors boast that for every dollar that enters congressional campaigns through the PACs, they can steer at least one additional dollar to friendly congressional incumbents, or to opponents of unfriendly incumbents, through contributions by individual supporters which they collect and present as a "bundle" to candidates they favor. In closed meetings for AIPAC members only, AIPAC directors have taken full or partial credit for the defeats of two former chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Republican Charles Percy of Illinois and Democrat J. William Fulbright of Arkansas....[The Lobby] is exactly how AIPAC is referred to by members of Congress, one of whom recently remarked to a foreign visitor that AIPAC visits to his office are "the most unpleasant moments" of his congressional schedule.

For Americans to see any real change in the blank check, both moral and financial, toward the Israeli government, congressmen must be challenged on their AIPAC campaign contributions. Look up your congressmember's contribution, note his or her silence on the Freedom Flotilla, and ask him who he represents. Is it Americans of all parties and faiths, including Jewish, who are outraged at this barbaric behavior? Or is it Benjamin Netanyahu, who recently said "There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza."


AIPAC campaign contributions to congressmen, highest first, full list at link...

Top Senate Recipients Funded

Joseph Lieberman $1,226,956
John McCain $750,368
Benjamin Cardin $487,572
Mitch McConnell $415,710
Richard Durbin $376,387
Carl Levin $366,378
Arlen Specter $338,080
Debbie Ann Stabenow $329,053
Bill Nelson $324,691
Jon Kyl $312,358
Mary Landrieu $291,609
Frank Lautenberg $260,333
Robert Menà ndez $219,135
Daniel Inouye $197,750
Harry Reid $179,640
Sheldon Whitehouse $170,421
Ron Wyden $163,771
Maria Cantwell $162,598
Mark Udall $161,173
Christopher Dodd $158,132
Barbara Mikulski $152,050
Kent Conrad $150,410
Susan Collins $139,518
Mark Pryor $138,250
Jeff Merkley $136,130

Top House Recipients Funded

Mark Kirk $458,979
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen $141,507
Howard Berman $122,600
Eric Cantor $119,350
Ted Deutch $104,031
Steny Hoyer $100,050
Shelley Berkley $98,501
Gary Peters $94,522
Ron Klein $88,550
Nancy Pelosi $83,400
Steve Israel $77,000
Nita Lowey $68,600
Paul Hodes $65,950
Ike Skelton $64,049
Kendrick Meek $57,601
Deborah Halvorson $56,622
Gabrielle Giffords $56,000
Eliot Engel $54,600
Brad Sherman $53,500
Janice Schakowsky $53,195
Roy Blunt $47,550
Dan Burton $47,350
Alcee Hastings $46,150
Mary Jo Kilroy $46,135
Bill Foster $45,550
Debbie Wasserman Schultz $45,060
Robert Andrews $43,825
Patrick Murphy $41,000
Gary Ackerman $39,950
Brad Ellsworth $38,850
Silvestre Reyes $38,750
Lincoln Diaz-Balart $35,775
Steven LaTourette $35,325
Allyson Schwartz $33,625
Jerry Moran $33,300
Melissa Bean $33,150
Mike Pence $31,700



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Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale University. He writes for Truth Out, Alternet, Consortium News, Op-Ed News, and other Internet media. He reported from Afghanistan in 2009 and produced a short documentary film on (more...)

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