And the lobby is getting scared. Its cutouts (like the one quoted in the Times piece) are starting to use its favorite weapon, crying anti-semitism. Obama may only be talking about the lobby but in his words constitute a “dog whistle” that only the anti-semites will hear. And that is dangerous.
What garbage! The people in this country who will pick up on some anti-semitic dog whistle are almost all fanatic Israel supporters. One of the reasons anti-semitism is a non-factor in this country is that the Christian Right loves Israel to death (literally, what with the Rapture and all). Its Obama, African Americans, immigrants, gays and liberals that they hate, not the Israel lobby. In fact, they are part of it. (See Christians United For Israel, a hate group that is working with AIPAC to stop the Iran agreement).
No, Obama is fighting a lobby that has been the bane of every president since Eisenhower (although Ike ignored them and ordered Israel out of the Sinai in 1956).
Will Obama succeed in getting the lobby to back off? Will he do it serious damage?
One can only hope so. The lobby is a malignant force in this country.
But it is only a powerful force because politicians allow it to be. As former executive director Thomas Dine told me: if a president pushes back hard and makes it clear that we are opposing the national interest, we will fold. That is what I’m afraid of.
The lobby is really the Wizard Of Oz. It is back there madly manipulating and issuing pronouncements in a loud voice. But, like the Wizard, it is just a front. And, as Dine (who himself is now anti-AIPAC) said, all it will take is a president willing to take them on.
And then beating them badly as must happen with the Iran agreement.
President Obama is doing a great thing, not only for himself and the country, but for everyone of his successors. Believe me, not even a (God forbid) Huckabee or a Cruz would want to answer to a foreign lobby.
As for 90% of American Jews, if not more, we want and need to be rid of this curse. It doesn’t speak for us and never has. It speaks for the Israeli Right. And it jeopardizes our standing as Americans by making us all look like expatriate Israelis when all we are is Americans. And good ones.
AIPAC is not us. Not even close. Obama, who received 70-80% of our votes in two elections, is. Beat them, Mr. President.